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Preaching to the Corpse: An Advice Column Mystery by Roberta Isleib
Cover Artist: Brandon Dorman
Review by Beth Slater
Berkley Paperback  ISBN/ITEM#: 9780425218372
Date: 04 December 2007 List Price $6.99 Amazon US / Amazon UK

Links: Author's Webpage / Show Official Info /

We welcome back Dr. Rebecca Butterman, aka Dr. Aster, columnist for Bloom! magazine and local psychologist in the small town of Guilford, CT. Rebecca gets a very strange call in the middle of the night from the local police, asking her to attend her minister at the local hospital/urgent care center. Perplexed, she starts asking questions, but winds up traveling through the frosty temperatures to find out why her minister (whom she barely knows) called 911 from the home of a parishioner late on Friday night after finding her near death!

Reverend Wesley Sandifer was not under arrest - yet. But he refuses to speak with the police until Rebecca is present - and then he coerces her into taking the chair of a search committee for the church to replace the dead woman! Wondering why it was so important to him weighs on Rebecca's mind, but she is distracted by the presence of Detective Meigs, to whom she is attracted despite his married status. Using her training as a psychologist, Rebecca is able to ease the pastor's agitation so that he is able to tell the police the sequence of events leading up to the incident. Once she knows that no one is being arrested, she returns home but now her mind is buzzing with 'what ifs' - and not all of them have to do with the murdered woman.

The Christmas season is approaching, and Rebecca is trying to find her holiday spirit but since her marriage and divorce she's never been much for celebrating it. Now on her own, she tries to forge new paths for herself but the church and murder have taken over her life despite her intentions to remain detached from the situation. While at a community supper at the church Rebecca hears an awful commotion and stumbles upon the body of the seminary intern - literally. Who would sabotage the stairway in the church? Rebecca is determined to find out what is at the root of all these very un-Christian-like actions … because now it's personal.

Another intriguing cozy mystery from Isleib – 2nd in her Advice Column series – has hit the stands. Butterman is a compassionate protagonist whose emotions allow her to become all too human in the eyes of the readers. And as many of would imagine, her psychological training does seem to color her perspective on situations – personal and professional. I would recommend this to readers who are ready to curl up on the sofa in front of a crackling fire in the fireplace and escape reality for a little while.

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