Blake, Michelle.

ISBN 10: 039914577X / ISBN 13: 9780399145773
Published by New York: Putnam, 1999. dj, 1999
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SIGNED hardcover first edition - First printing. Author's first book, an unusual mystery introducing Episcopalian priest Lily Connor who takes over as interim pastor of a wealthy Boston church. SIGNED on a blank prelim page. 274 pp. Fine in a fine dust jacket. Bookseller Inventory # 52473

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Bibliographic Details


Publisher: New York: Putnam, 1999. dj

Publication Date: 1999

Binding: Hardcover

Dust Jacket Condition: Dust Jacket Included

Signed: Signed by Author(s)

Edition: 1st Edition

About this title


Lily James Connor, a female Episcopalian priest, takes an interim position, called a tentmaker, in a rich Boston parish, after the death of the much-loved old priest, and begins to suspect the circumstances surrounding his sudden death. A first novel.


To that extremely short list of crime-solving clerics who manage to be convincing as both priests and detectives (such as G.K. Chesterton's Father Brown and Ellis Peters's Brother Cadfael) , we can now add Lily Connor. "In the most peaceful of settings, she still gave off an incongruous set of messages in her jeans, hand-tooled cowboy boots, army surplus slicker and clerical collar," writes Michelle Blake of Lily in her impressive debut. "In high school she had been the skinny overgrown geek, the outcast, the reader of poems and 19th Century novels. She still pictured herself that way." Her best friend Charlie, a fellow Episcopalian priest, tries to convince her that being tall and skinny now, at 36, makes her not a geek but a cultural icon. Lily is equally unsure of her role in the church: she had been running a women's center in Boston until her father's terminal illness took her home to Texas for six months. Now she's back in Boston, working as the interim priest--or tentmaker--at a rich church whose rector has just died under circumstances that turn out to be suspicious.

Blake, a poet who has a master's degree from Harvard Divinity School, writes cool and sparkling prose that gives her first mystery an unusual depth. As the church struggles with issues of sexuality, her clerics and parishioners mirror that struggle. Did the late Father Barnes kill himself with an overdose of insulin because of his feelings toward the 16-year-old son of one of the congregation's richest members? That's one possibility; even worse is the chance that Father Barnes was murdered because of someone else's sins. Equally riveting is Lily's growing dilemma: what to do with the potential scandal that she has unearthed. "Back at her desk, she thought of the ways in which her life and vocation had always been so clear to her, the terrain mapped miles into the future--mountains and plains, good guys and bad guys, right and wrong, faith, friendship. Now she groped down a dim corridor, feeling her way inch by inch, barely able to tell where she stood at that instant, much less where anyone else stood, much less where she was headed."

It's this quality of enriched uncertainty that bonds us with Lily, regardless of our own beliefs, and makes this such a promising debut. --Dick Adler

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Store Description - the name used by Volk and Iiams, Booksellers- specializes in first editions of twentieth century literature, with an emphasis on women authors, African American, Native American and Latin American authors - plus mystery & detective fiction, science fiction & fantasy, poetry and children's & illustrated books. We try to offer many uncommon books, and have a large selection of first books, and books by authors who are less frequently collected. Of the approximately 50,000 volumes in stock, the majority are hardcover first editions, although we also stock vintage science fiction paperbacks as well as sf digests and pulps. We also have a large selection of books signed by the author and uncorrected proof copies. Less than 50% of our stock is catalogued, so please inquire if you are searching for specific titles. Selling books by mail order and on the internet since 1993. We have a large booth dedicated to books (called Books Upstairs) at the Antiques Upstairs Mall, 5 Main Street, Jackson, CA. (open every day from 10-5) The emphasis there is on Western Americana, children¿s books and inexpensive reading copies. In 1998 we relocated our main business from Sacramento to the Sierra foothills of Amador County, about 35 miles east of downtown Sacramento and between Ione & Sutter Creek. There, on 10 acres of rolling oak-covered hills, we built a ¿bookhouse¿ for our books. When we are there, we welcome visitors by appointment (call 209-274-6960 or, in the US only, toll free at 1-877-bookfev or contact us by email Our web page is Traditional bookseller grading used - fine is our highest grade (an "A"), very good is above average (a "B), good is average (a "C"). All significant flaws are described; dust jackets are protected by archival covers, and books are packed carefully for shipping. We welcome questions by email or phone.

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Terms of Sale: is a partnership between Christine Volk and Eugene Iiams, Booksellers. Our mailing address is PO Box 696, Ione CA 95640 USA. Our store is located at 5 Main Street, Jackson, CA 95642 USA. Email: Phone: 209-274-6960. We accept Mastercard, Visa AMEX, Discover, checks or Paypal, whichever is most convenient for customers. Please contact us if you have any questions, or want to confirm availability. All dustjackets are in archival mylar covers, and books are packed ...

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