Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Widows & Orphans

(Rachael Flynn Mystery Series #1)

by Susan Meissner

Published by Harvest House Publishers (2006)
280 pages

“Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.” James 1:27

That is the verse Rachael Flynn’s ministry focused brother, Joshua Harper, chose to live his life by: to aid widows and orphans. Unfortunately, in doing so Joshua frequently found himself on the wrong side of the law, most of which were petty misdemeanors committed to aid someone, thus he believed, for the greater good. So when Rachael, a Manhattan attorney, receives the call that her brother has once again landed himself in jail she is not surprised…until she learns the reason behind his incarceration: a confession to murder.

Naturally, Rachael cannot believe her brother capable to be of murder so she returns home to Minneapolis and sets out to discover why he would confess to such a crime—who is he covering for? Her eyes are set on the sisters, ages 15 and 12, who had been forced into a childhood prostitution ring by the murder victim. She believes Joshua would sacrifice himself to help the sisters and tries to convince her brother that he is not helping them by letting them live a lie.

Both Rachael and the St. Paul police officer in charge of the investigation know that Joshua is not being completely forthright. There are too many unanswered questions. Still too much evidence points to Joshua’s guilt.

Rachael employs some unorthodox methods to unearth the truth, but when the truth is revealed, will she be able to accept it?

Susan Meissner has put together a compelling murder mystery. Her scene descriptions are complex but not overly stated. The characters are well developed, believable and likeable, including the eccentric friend, Figaro, who is quirky without being a caricature.

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