The Reluctant Detective by Martha Ockley

Word Lily review

The Reluctant Detective: A Novel by Martha Ockley, a Faith Morgan mystery (book 1) (Monarch Books, 2010; distributed in the United States by Kregel, March 1, 2011), 224 pages

Faith Morgan left a career as a police detective for the ministry. The recently ordained Anglican priest Morgan is visiting a small parish when the incumbent priest drops dead in the middle of communion. The detective in charge of the investigation is Morgan’s former longtime boyfriend.

Several times a phrase or sentence leapt off the page, singing. One I noted: “whorls and loops on the fingerprint of her life” (page 68). But at other times, I found the writing annoying, in the form of repeated telling of characters’ thoughts and motivations. This is one of those instances where I wished the author had given me, the reader, the benefit of the doubt. Assume that I’m at least reasonably intelligent, please! That I can discern thoughts and feelings — at least sometimes — from the resulting actions.

I loved the nuanced approach to faith in The Reluctant Detective. Faith struggles at times, and it made her real, an approachable character. And this is what stuck with me. Awhile after finishing this book, I’d forgotten my annoyances with (and thrills from) the writing. What remained: An abiding respect for how elements of faith, doubt, struggle, questions were carefully, honestly, skillfully presented. (I also enjoyed the aspects of liturgy I found in the pages.)

Faith Morgan is ordained, yes. But that doesn’t mean her life is all sunshine and roses. I was able to see myself in Faith, at least a little.

Read the first chapter.

Rating: 4 stars

About the author
Martha Ockley is the pen name for Rebecca Jenkins, creator of the Regency detective series featuring Raif Jarrett. She lives in northeast England and grew up as a minister’s daughter.

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I received this book from the publisher as part of the Christian Fiction Blog Alliance. I am an Amazon Associate and receive a small commission on sales through my affiliate links.


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