The Reluctant Detective is the first book in a new mystery series by Martha Ockley featuring ex-cop, newly-ordained vicar, Faith Morgan.
When the priest of St. James's in Little Worthy dies during communion, Faith is called in to watch over the parish. When her former boyfriend, Ben Shorter, is the officer in charge of the investigation, things get interesting and Faith finds herself at the center of the investigation.
It's like a British version of Julia Spencer-Fleming's Clare Furgusson series – a female Episcopalian (Church of England) priest in a small town – but cozier. Things in Little Worthy aren't as idyllic as they seem at first glance. Family tensions, secret love affairs, crazy neighbors, and old scandals lay barely hidden beneath the calm surface.
Oakley is a good writer and the narrative flows well, with smooth dialog and no clunky passages. First books in a planned series can be tricky, trying to balance the current plot against the need to introduce characters for future volumes. Oakley strikes a reasonable balance, although some of the characters lack depth at this point – something that can be remedied in the books to come.
This is definitely a cozy series that could be worthy of a long run.
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I got my copy through the LibraryThing Early Reviewer program.