Murder, mystery and scandal are the backbone of this captivating mystery set in the middle of small-town America. The compelling characters bring to life this riveting installment that's quite possibly the best in the series.

Clare Fergusson, the Episcopal priest at St. Alban's Church in upstate Millers Kill, N.Y., enjoys her work as parish priest in the small town, though she wishes she hadn't fallen in love with married Chief of Police Russ Van Alstyne. Though they have physically kept their distance from one another, Russ' love for Clare has resulted in separation from his wife, Linda.

When Linda's best friend finds her brutally murdered in the Van Alstyne home, Russ becomes the primary suspect, and he vows to find Linda's true killer and clear his name. Clare uses her investigative skills to help Russ, who feels sorrow and guilt about his wife's death as he struggles with his feelings for Clare. (St. Martin's Minotaur, Oct., 336 pp., $22.95)
Reviewed by: 
Sheri Melnick