Poisoned Pen, Oct 2003, 24.95, 234 pp.
Several months ago the popular and famous televangelist Buddy Wing, based Ohio, died on national TV. It was discovered that the seventy-seven year old Pentecostal preacher didn't die from natural causes but was murdered. The killer put Lily of the Valley in his drinking water and repainted the cold cross on his bible that he kissed midway during each vision show with a highly toxic heart drug. Sissy James, a former member of the congregation, confessed to the murder after evidence was found linking her to the homicide.
New crime reporter Aubrey McGinty for the Herald-Union doesn't believe that Sissy killed the preacher. She goes to Dolly Madison Sprawls, affectionately known as Morgue Mama, for background information on the case. Maddy gets so caught up in Aubrey's quest to free Sissy that she becomes the reporter's willing helper, going with her to interview witnesses and looking through the morgue for possible suspects. When both women discover that Sissy had an alibi for the night Billy wing was killed, they have the makings of a Pulitzer Prize winning story on their hands.
This is C.R. Corwin's debut novel and this crime thriller reads like Sara Paretsky or Barbara Parker wrote it because of its brilliantly executed plot. The author has a gift for storytelling and she sets the reader up so that the climax as a complete shock. Told in the first person narrative of the Morgue Mama, readers will find themselves entranced with character and hope she is the star in future books in this series.
This report prepared by Harriet Klausner