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Deep Waters (Callie Anson Mysteries, No. 3) Hardcover – March 10, 2009
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From Publishers Weekly
Callie Anson, curate of All Saints' Church in London, and her beau, Mark Lombardi, a family liaison officer, get caught up in a high-profile investigation in Charles's engrossing third ecclesiastical mystery (after 2007's Secret Sins). When the baby daughter of a celebrity couple from a reality TV show, Jodee and Chazz, dies in her cot, the subsequent autopsy raises enough questions to bring Det. Insp. Neville Stewart back from his honeymoon, much to his bride's fury. Since Jodee and Chazz live in Callie's parish, Callie becomes involved in arranging the funeral. Mark does his bit to help the bereaved family, but finds himself distracted by his own troubles after his brother-in-law dies of an apparent heart attack. A realistic conflict arises between Mark's devotion to his family and his love for Callie. A tabloid journalist's drive for status heightens the drama. Charles combines credible characters and a puzzling mystery with a tantalizing look at the world of reality TV. (Mar.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Angering his bride, Detective Inspector Neville Stewart cuts his honeymoon short after celebrity television reality couple Jodee and Chazz Betts’ infant daughter is found dead in her crib. Is it crib death, neglect, or murder? Meanwhile, Anglican curate Callie Anson must move in with the vicar and his wife (who is not very fond of her) when her home is damaged in a storm, and the two are annoyed when Jodee and Chazz request Callie to officiate at their daughter’s funeral. Callie’s boyfriend, Mark Lombardi, is the police liaison for the case, but then a family tragedy disrupts his life and begins to cause a rift between him and Callie. The well-drawn main characters, professional and amateur detectives, work through their relationship issues while solving two crimes. Details of celebrity life, police work, and the Anglican Church add to this third in the series, which will appeal to those who enjoy Julia Spencer-Fleming’s Clare Fergusson and Russ Van Alstyne mysteries. --Sue O'Brien
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I find the portrayal of Jane as a lay person especially moving. She is not a nice character, but Charles makes her emininently understandable. A woman who married a priest as a partner in his labors, going without many things to save money, make his life easier -- is suddenly displaced by an ordained curate who assumes that partnership and to whom Jane's husband blithely offers perks that were formerly hers.
The characters are memorable and strongly drawn.
In this novel, she certainly tries hard. Both Callie and Mark are caught up in the mysterious death of Muffin, the baby daughter of a celebrity TV couple. (Think Big Brother reality show celebs...) That's a big enough story in its own right, but the 'subplot' revolves around the mysterious death of Mark's own brother-in-law and the tensions that creates for both he and Callie and their relationship. Either of these mysteries is a meaty one; both of them -- especially when combined by the even more melodramatic relationship of Mark's fellow police officer, Neville, and his new wife, Triona -- are too much to do justice to in a book this length. Both are well resolved -- the plot twists are good, and the two deaths are neatly if somewhat tenuously linked in the theme of popular culture. Still, the result isn't quite as gripping as I've come to expect from this capable writer. If you haven't read her other books, I'd start with anything from her first series (A Drink of Deadly Wine or the first in this series Evil Intent, which has a very gripping and tightly-focused plot.
Rated 3.5 stars; rounded up rather than down because of the author's previous work.
Meanwhile the autopsy of the crib death victim raises some anomies that have the police wondering if this was a tragic sudden infant death case or something more sinister. There are enough questions to have the brass bring back Detective Inspector Neville Stewart on his honeymoon with his pregnant bride Triona. At the same time that a frustrated Neville and an angry Triona return to London, Callie's boyfriend family liaison officer Mark Lombardi is helping his extended family cope with the heart attack death of his brother-in-law so he is unable to provide much help to Jodee and Chazz or be there for Callie.
The key to this terrific combination police procedural and faith-based amateur sleuth inquiry is the strong cast; few novels will match how deep the secondary and tertiary characters are developed within an exciting story line. Fans will appreciate the depth to the Lombardi brood, Lilith, Jodee, Chazz and Triona while Mark and Callie have issues as does Neville. All this with a strong whodunit and an insightful look at behind the scenes of reality TV make the third Anson mystery (see SECRET SINS and EVIL INTENT) a winner.