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A departure for me: a modern Mormon murder mystery.
I usually use the Middle East to deal with issues from my Mormon upbringing: deserts, patriarchs, prophets and polygamy. Maybe I just feel old enough to come home with more sympathy and nostalgia. At least my mom, who was afraid she'd have to hide her face at the ward house on Sunday, reviewed the story as "sweet". God bless my mom.
Born and raised in Salt Lake City of Mormon polygamist pioneer stock, I have ancestors who preceded Brigham Young into the Valley to dig the irrigation ditches. Her mother still lives in the house her great-grandmother first bought as two rooms of adobe when she was widowed with thirteen children. On the other hand, Ann’s grandfather was forced out of Brigham Young University in 1911 for teaching evolution. There is some tension here.

Eighteen-year-old Brittany Bingham is working as a housekeeper for posh condominiums in Park City when she discovers a body in a hot tub. Dead. Brittany’s parents are serving an LDS mission in Southern California. Whom should she call?
Why, her aunt Helen Snow, of course.
But Helen has her own problems. She’s still mourning the loss of a daughter with Down syndrome who died fifteen years
ago at age three. Though Wizzy’s sweet, angelic spirit visits her every day, no one understands that she’s the source of Helen's inspiration, just as no one can know Helen’s celestial marriage is on the rocks. Should Helen accept her bishop’s call to be Relief Society president and tune out everything else, even Wizzy? Or should she respond to Brittany and learn how handsome Dave Jaramillo died?
Are yams appropriate in a compassionate-service casserole?
Who will kidnap the dog Horehound?
And forget about the sins of tea and coffee. Who drank the kombucha?




                                               Credit: Pat Bagley

The Merlin of St. Gilles' Well is wonderful!...It's the best book I've read in months and months; a terrific premise, and so beautifully imagined and described, I can only gnash my teeth in envy...Every word is-literally-magic, evoking another world, an older time-and the echoes of the Old Ways that live on in us, unseen.

-Diana Gabaldon, author of the Outlander series



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