Monday, September 03, 2018

Death at Whitewater Church by Andrea Carter

While the trade paperback of Andrea Carter's Death at Whitewater Church was just released, it appears that the book has been out for several years online. However, most readers will discover it as the debut mystery in a character-driven, atmospheric series.

Benedicta "Ben" O'Keefe is a solicitor in Ireland, on the coast of Inishowen,  with "the most northerly solicitor's office in Ireland" or, as she says, providing "the last legal advice in Ireland". She's acting for clients, the sellers of Whitewater Church, a deconsecrated church, when the surveyor finds a hidden crypt on the property. He's shocked to find a skeleton in the crypt, but no one in town is surprised. They, and Conor Devitt's family, all assume it's his because he disappeared on his wedding day six years earlier.

Ben's nosy, as she admits. As the confidant of many in town, she hears all kinds of stories of the missing man, but they don't add up. When Conor's brother dies in a car accident, Ben begins to think there may be unanswered questions about that skeleton. But, Ben has her own secrets, and her relationship with Sergeant Tom Molloy is threatened when a pathologist is called in to consult. That pathologist is not only examining the skeleton and the second body, but she also knows of Ben's past.

While I loved the atmospheric setting in Ireland, I had a hard time with Ben as an amateur sleuth. She's the narrator/sleuth, but she actually has little to do with the final solution to the mystery, although she's on the scene. However, the awkward, complex characters fit perfectly with the setting. Fans of Ann Cleeves' Shetland Island mysteries may want to try this series with an isolated setting.

Andrea Carter's website is

Death at Whitewater Church by Andrea Carter. Oceanview Publishing. ISBN 9781608093021 (paperback), 352p.

FTC Full Disclosure - I received the book to review for a journal.

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