Welcome to Hope Street Church, where friendships are formed, fresh starts are encouraged, and mysteries are solved.
Cooper Lee and her friends in the Hope Street Bible Study Group are enjoying a glorious summer day in the park, complete with picnic, hiking, swimming, and a local bluegrass band. But Cooper knows that no good day goes unpunished, and when a man turns up dead in the nearby woods—and the sister of Cooper’s fiancé is named as the prime suspect—the group may have to trade in their prayers of thanks for pleas of divine intervention.
Cooper knows her future sister-in-law is innocent, so when the police arrest her for the murder, the Bible study group must step in to catch the real killer and prevent a grave injustice. Following a twisted trail of clues that leads to a hit-and-run driver, a homeless veteran, and a park full of suspects who may hold more secrets than solutions, Cooper must hold firm to her spiritual convictions before an innocent woman faces a conviction of a more earthly nature.
My Thoughts :
The Hope Street Church Mysteries have been a pleasure to read and the first four books were well written with great plots. However this fifth book in the series, while enjoyable enough to read, lacked some serious skills which left me wondering if Ellery Adams really had any input in this book because I know from experience that she can write much better mystery plots.
So the story wasn't that bad and the plot wasn't too much of a stretch. A day in the park, running into the sister of Cooper's fiance, having fun and then finding a body. It all went like you expected with the main suspect being connected to the Bible Study group and them having to get involved to find the real murderer. However there were huge clues, clues that were mentioned with great emphasis and they still weren't followed by the group.
It was frustrating that a huge song and dance was constantly made about a certain tracking item but nobody, none of the clever mystery solvers, even thought about check it out in more detail. There were other things that stood out in this fifth installment and it had me mentally screaming at the characters to finally figure things out. Especially with the authors plainly pointing out the obvious for the reader to see. It went on for practically the whole book.
Other than this difference to the mystery dynamic, I did enjoy the book. It is full of nice, interesting and unusual characters who constantly keep you entertained as a reader. Despite the Church angle there is hardly any religious references in this cozy mystery with the aspect centered around a Bible Study group and their involvement in the mysteries. So anyone who feels put off by the Religious series twist shouldn't be. It is hardly there.
Well worth reading if you are a fan of Ellery Adams. I am not sure how much she really offers to the series now that she has taken up a partner to write with but she invented the series and founded the basis so there is a lot of her work still in there.
I hope there will be at least one more book in the series and look forward to seeing how things pan out for Cooper. I hope she gets a nice happy ending even if there is a murder mystery to solve while getting it.