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17 of 17 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Blessed is the Reader for this is a Great Debut, 31 Mar. 2006
Mark Baker - Carstairs Considers (Santa Clarita, CA United States) - See all my reviews
(TOP 1000 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Blessed Is the Busybody (Ministry Is Murder) (Mass Market Paperback)
Aggie Sloane-Wilcox is trying to adjust to life in Emerald Springs, Ohio. Not only is this a tight knit small town, but being the wife of the new minister of Consolidate Community Church means she and her family are constantly under scrutiny. Especially since they live in the parsonage right next to the church. For example, the Women's Society Board thinks they need to come over and decide what length the bushes in the backyard should be.
But when this group of ladies shows up at the parsonage, they find a woman's body on Aggie's front porch. Worse yet, she's completely naked. The ladies are scandalized and blame Aggie for the problem. Worse yet, the police think that Aggie's husband, Ed, is the most likely killer.
Despite warnings to stay out of it, Aggie can't. The stakes are raised when some of the members of the church decide this makes a good excuse to fire Ed. So who was this woman? Why was she in town? And can Aggie stay alive long enough to find the answer?
This debut sparkles. Aggie is a fun character. She has lots of spunk, and reading about her is sure to bring a smile to anyone's face. Her first person narration adds to the fun with her commentary on the events going on around her.
The other characters are just as wonderful. Ed makes a good balance to Aggie while best friend Lucy helps stir up trouble. Ed and Aggie's two daughters are well crafted and realistic for their ages. The assorted suspects and church members are all well developed as well. Characters are obviously one of the Emilie Richards' strengths because all of these characters are great.
The only flaw in the book is an uneven plot. Around the middle, the story lags a little, and I found myself waiting for events to get moving again. This didn't last very long. Over all, the story is great with several nice twists and an exciting climax.
And I must comment on the theology. Being a series set in a church, I wasn't sure how I would like it. While this is not a church I would regularly attend in real life, it was presented as a part of these character's lives. It never once became preachy or over powered the story but added a richness and texture to the story.
It's always a pleasure to find a new series that shows promise. I hope the author delivers on that promise when the second book is released.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Great mystery read!, 13 Jan. 2014
S. Shamma "Suad" (Abu Dhabi, UAE) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Blessed Is the Busybody (Ministry Is Murder) (Mass Market Paperback)
It has been ages since I've read a mystery novel - and a good one at that. I was thrilled to have purchased Emilie Richards' Ministry is Murder series as she has yet to disappoint.

Blessed is the Busybody is the first book in the series, and I admit it started out a bit slow for my liking. That only seems fair now, as Richards needed to present us with the whole picture, giving us a thorough background on Aggie Sloan-Wilcox and her minister husband Ed, as well as her children, her mother in law, her own mother, moving to this small town in Ohio that goes by the name of Emerald Springs and living in the parsonage with very little privacy, her neighbors, the townspeople and so on.

After that introduction, we finally get to the exciting part, when an unidentified body is dumped and later found on Aggie's front porch, fully naked. The ladies on the Women's Society Board are aghast and their leader Gelsie makes it her mission to get Ed fired, by pointing all fingers at him as the prime suspect for the murder - especially after it is revealed that Ed knows the woman's identity and has been counseling her before her untimely death/murder.

Aggie is such a fierce woman, mother of two daughters, and wife of a minister, she is anything BUT boring. She is interesting, exciting, crazy smart, and very witty. I loved getting to know her, and I loved the fact that she took it upon her to find out what really happened, partly because she was curious and intrigued, but mostly because she was trying to protect her family and mainly her husband.

I love her relationship with Ed, and I love her relationship with her daughters. I think it is all very realistically conveyed, so kudos to Richards for that. The mystery itself is so much fun to unravel right along Aggie's side. Every time you think you're close enough to figure it all out, Richards throws another curve ball at you.

It's a classic mystery tale, the likes of Agatha Christie, and I enjoyed reading it immensely. In fact, I finished the book in a matter of hours. I could barely put it down to get some work done, and when I did, my mind was constantly with Aggie trying to put the clues together to figure out who the killer is.

Very good read, and very solid plot line, executed seamlessly. Look forward to reading the next in the series!
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Blessed Is the Busybody (Ministry Is Murder)
Blessed Is the Busybody (Ministry Is Murder) by Emilie Richards (Mass Market Paperback - Dec. 2005)
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