Echoes of Mercy

(No Series)

Moments after Elva Kingfield placed flowers beside her late husband's tombstone, an explosion sent associate pastor Willa Hinshaw dodging chunks of hurling granite. Later, when Elva, who believes her dead husband's ghost is roaming the halls of her estate, falls mysteriously ill and her housekeeper is stabbed to death, Willa can't accept that the violence is simply random.

Upon discovering that someone is looting Elva's valuables, plus the strange behavior of the widow's feuding family members, Willa is convinced that somebody wants Elva dead. Determined to do whatever she can to keep the kind woman out of harm's way, she ignores ominous threats telling her to mind her own business…or else. Willa's got all the help she needs from Above—it's the danger below that's got her worried.

Here it is, the first book I finished for the new year. Was an easy, simple, mystery - ideal for reading through the Christmas holidays where I don't have much time to read.

This is the second mystery book I've read from a series that involves a woman associated with church ministry. The other series (name escapes me now) was where the woman was the pastor's wife. For this one, she is a minister of the local methodist church. Not much is discussed theology wise but there are several times in the book where - of course- it's mentioned she is doing a quick prayer. She also spends time with people at the hospital, and that helps feed the mystery.

Willa was an amiable enough heroine. Trent made a bland love interest, although it was amusing he was baptist and she UM. The elderly Elva was probably the bright spot in the book. 'Echoes of Mercy' suffers mainly through unrealistic characterization. They're not real enough, more of a cardboard stereotype than a character.

And the dialogue! So phony. Thankfully the author calmed down the overuse of repetitive names in dialogue after awhile, but it's just not standard conversation. When between friends it could be too goody-goody, but when the villain spoke at the end, it was just weak. I wasn't surprised at the villain, kind of had him pegged from early on since there weren't many likely culprits. The reasoning was rather weak, too.

Overall a decent mystery and I think others may be better - either this is where the author was new or else tired of the series.

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