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Murdering Ministers

Alan Beechey

65 ratings by Goodreads
ISBN 10: 0312209029 / ISBN 13: 9780312209025
From Dan Pope Books (West Hartford, CT, U.S.A.)

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About this Item

St. Martins (New York), 1999. First edition. SIGNED BY AUTHOR on title page. Hardbound. New in dust jacket. A perfect unread copy. Mystery. 0.0. Bookseller Inventory # 4985

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Bibliographic Details

Title: Murdering Ministers

Binding: Hardcover

Dust Jacket Condition: Dust Jacket Included

Signed: Signed by Author(s)

Edition: F....

About this title


Oliver Swithin, creator of the notorious "Finsbury the Ferret" series of children's books, has been commissioned to write a satirical article on modern religious practices from the point of view of his atheist ferret character. With Christmas approaching, Oliver and his friend, photographer Ben Motley, attend an evening service at a dowdy United Diaconalist church in a north London suburb, chosen by the publisher to represent the English "low church" tradition.

Oliver is surprised to discover that the minister of the church is an old school friend, the Reverend Paul Piltdown. Piltdown soon confides to them that the recent arrival in the congregation of lay preacher Nigel Tapster, whose influence over the young people threatens to create a separate cult, has the church members up in arms.

Wondering if Tapster is a better subject for his article, Oliver visits the lay preacher later that week, only to discover that Tapster was surprisingly voted onto the diaconate of the church, replacing long-serving deacon Cedric Potiphar at the day's previous meeting.

But the following Sunday, as communion wine is passed out, Tapster takes a drink, falls convulsing to the floor, and dies. Having passed the glass to Tapster, Piltdown becomes the main suspect in his poisoning. Both Oliver and his new girlfriend, Detective Sergeant Effie Strongitharm, strongly feel that Piltdown has been wrongly accused, and that they must find out who in the congregation had the best motive for revenge.

From Kirkus Reviews:

Second in a series featuring Oliver Swithin, a writer whose children's stories relate the adventures of nasty Finsbury the Ferret. Oliver's uncle is Supt. Tim Mallard of Scotland Yard, a part-time Shakespearean actor whose enforced retirement from the CID seems imminent. But Olivers own thoughts are far from his uncle. Hes preoccupied with his article on Plumleys United Diaconalist Church, where Rev. Paul Piltdown is an old school friend. In the course of his research, Oliver (An Embarrassment of Corpses, 1997) meets some of the parishioners, among them the Quarterboys and their teenage daughter Tina; Deacon Cedric Potiphar; and Nigel and Heather Tapster. Nigel, a constant source of anxiety for Rev. Piltdown, has gathered around him a group of teenagers who seem fanatic in their near-worship of their charismatic leader. It's at a service a few days before Christmas that Nigel, taking his Deacon's chair for the first time, dies of strychnine poisoning. Young Tina had disappeared some time before and Sgt. Effie Strongitham, on loan to Plumley's police department, is at the service pursuing her search. She and Oliver work together as Oliver probes the intricate relationships among the parishioners, eventually coming up with the twisted motives that propelled the killing. Burdensome, often incomprehensible plotting casts a pall on the author's playful way with words and characters. P.G. Wodehouse fans may stick to the end; others are allowed an early exit. -- Copyright ©1999, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.

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