Silver Dagger, March 2004, 23.95, 186 pp.
Associate Minister at the First United Methodist Church in Liverpool, North Carolina Willa Hinshaw is delighted with her new posting because she thinks she will learn a lot under the tutelage of Reverend Phillip Gallaway. The church is hosting the wedding of Lee Ann Poole to Claude Renigan until the parents of the bride inform the Reverend and Willa that the nuptials are cancelled as their daughter eloped with mechanic Justin Swanson. Since Lee Ann comes from a wealthy family, her father was very much against the match.
Lee Ann calls Willa and asks her to come to the motel where they are staying but by the time the associate minister arrives, the couple has vanished. A ransom note is delivered to the Pooles supposedly from Justin but a handwriting comparison proves he didn't write the note. Willa starts asking questioning, but receives a threatening phone call to butt out and someone keeps breaking into her apartment and looking at her papers. When Lee Ann's car is found with her and Justin's blood all over it, people start to give up hope but Willa is sure that they are alive and intends to prove it by rescuing them.
JILTED BY DEATH is an exciting amateur sleuth tale with a very unusual protagonist. She is a female pastor breaking new ground in a very conservative town but she stays true to her personal values. Willa is so helpful, kind and selfless that she is winning over the townsfolk as well as the audience rather easily. Reader's who like a colorful tale without the red of gore well find Lynette Hall Hampton's who-done-it a pleasant reading experience.
This report prepared by Harriet Klausner