Monday, November 24, 2008

Everybody Called Her a Saint, by Cecil Murphey (Heartsong)

(Click cover for more information)

Of course, when I reviewed Everybody Loved Roger Harden and Everybody Wanted Room 623, you knew it was inevitable that the final book of Cecil Murphey’s ‘cozy mysteries’ would also find its way into these spaces. But even if I hadn’t read the first two, I believe this one would’ve shown up anyway. ‘Cuz, as the A1 Steak Sauce people say, “Yeah…it’s that good.”*

In this final installment, our heroic duo, Julie West and James Burton, embark on an Antarctic voyage at the request of their mutual friend, psychiatrist Twila Belk. Startling to discover, Julie and Burton aren’t on speaking terms. Mm hmm, something has happened since Room 623 that has sent Julie through the ceiling and she has broken their engagement. More on this later.

Early in the voyage, Twila is murdered. This presented me with a problem. In real life, Twila Belk—yes, Cec did it again; he killed off a friend—is Mr. Murphey’s esteemed assistant. The delightful Ms. Belk is actually the person who sent me the book. Which, in and of itself is fine; however, when I read of her demise on the first page…and then looked down at the return address on the envelope in which the book arrived…well, it was a little eerie. You get it, right? Enough on that.

As I said prior to digressing, early in the voyage, Twila is murdered. Clearly, the only possible suspect is among the other 45 passengers on the ship, all of whom are friends and/or patients—former and current—of Twila’s. No coincidence; Twila had chartered the boat and paid everyone’s passage, for one reason or another. So, as we’d expect, with the unofficial blessing of the ship’s captain, Julie and Burton set about investigating the murder. This, of course, is complicated by their strained relationship, which they have to shelve to do honor to Twila’s memory.

Mr. Murphey succeeds in pulling off another intricate whodunit, again in the first-person through Julie’s eyes. The gripper of this tale, though, has nothing to do with the investigation, or even with Twila’s murder. It has to do with Julie and Burton. If you read my review of Roger Harden, you’ll recall each person on the island had a secret known only to Roger and the respective individual. During that investigation, everyone’s secret came to light. Everyone’s except Burton’s. It’s this secret that, when he tells it to Julie, unravels their relationship. Want to know what it is? Hah!

You. Will. Never. Guess. This. One.

If you read either of the first two cozy mysteries, you’ll leave this earth at the end of your life incomplete unless you’ve read Everybody Called Her a Saint. If you haven’t read either of the first two, you can still enjoy this final mystery—but you’ll be oh-so-much-happier to have read Roger Harden and Room 623, first.

Yeah…they’re all that good.

* Yes, yes, I know the A1 slogan is actually, “Yeah, it’s that important.” Allow me a little artistic license, would you, please?


Twila Belk said...

Cecil Murphey is an evil man. Why did he kill me? Was I too grumpy? He is caustic and curmudgeonly and hard to get along with, but I tried. I really did. He didn't even give me any warning signals. If he had, I would have been able to eat one more bon bon and paint my toenails one last time. But no, he didn't allow me that pleasure. How typical of him. He's going to miss me, I can assure you of that. He can't live without me. Oh well, it's too late now. He'll soon realize that he'll never find anyone who will put up with him the way I did. I'm sure he'll try hard to find somebody to work two to three hours a week for him, but when they find out what he did to me ....

Bruce Judisch said...

Oh, my. Righteous indignation from the grave. I do believe this has to be a blogging first! :-)

We'll miss you, Twila!

Cheers! Bruce

Anonymous said...

Welcome home! Happy to see you made it back safely.

Can't wait to read this one!! Oh so intriguing!

I have finally finished reading Leonardo's Chair and I must say I didn't like it at first. It wasn't until the end when DeSimone ties it all together, I truly enjoyed the book. I don't like it when someone messes with God's Word and tries to twist it to justify their actions and thought process, but, unfortunately, that's how the real world works. That's how Satan works!! I'm wondering, with the way DeSimone ended the book if a sequel may come later. Either way, I'm glad I read the book. It was a good one.

Bruce Judisch said...

Hey, Jennifer!

Thanks, it's good to be back. Germany was cold; 'nuff said.

Glad you liked Leonardo's Chair. You recall in my review there was a time or two I almost put it down, too, not being sure of where the author was coming from in his argument. I didn't think it would get past his editor/publisher, though, unless something was up. I agree on the tie-in, too.

God bless! Bruce

Miralee Ferrell said...

I'm on a writer's group with Cec, but have never had the pleasure of meeting him, or reading his work to date. But your review will change that. I plan on searching out and buying all three of these and reading them in order. Thank you for your indepth review. Miralee Ferrell

PS...I saw your blog mentioned on's my first time here but I'll be back

Bruce Judisch said...

Hey, Miralee -

Thanks so much for dropping by and commenting. You've probably already noticed that the cover link on this post goest to all three of the mysteries in a single volumen, so that would be a great way to get them.

I'm interested in your writing and, as I mentioned on Twitter, appreciate why you write.

God bless and have a great Christmas Season!

Cheers! Bruce