Unholy city A Claire Codella mystery

Carrie Smith

Book - 2017

When a senior churchwarden is found murdered in the herb garden of his Manhattan church, detectives Claire Codella and Brian Haggerty set aside their differences to identify a killer among several possible suspects.

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Mystery fiction
Detective and mystery fiction
New York : Crooked Lane 2017.
First edition
Physical Description
310 pages ; 25 cm
Main Author
Carrie Smith (author)
Review by Booklist Review

St. Paul's Episcopal Church on Manhattan's Upper West Side seems an unlikely spot for homicide. But then two of the eight participants who attend the church's vestry meeting senior warden Philip Graves, struck on the head, and secretary Emily Flounders, an apparent heart-attack victim are found dead following the gathering. NYPD Detective Brian Haggerty reaches out to his former partner and current lover, Detective Claire Codella of the homicide squad, to work the case with him. When the murder weapon is found hidden in the church, Graves' murder seems an inside job, especially after St. Paul's part-time choir director is discovered near death in her apartment. Codella considers the vestry meeting crucial to solving the crimes, but the only participant who's candid about it missed the contentious area of discussion, and the secretary's minutes are missing. A flareup with her boss makes Codella especially determined to solve the case, which is straining her relationship with Haggerty. Addiction, adultery, blackmail, embezzlement, and lust are uncovered among the vestry members in this sharp, fast-moving entry, the third in the Claire Codella series. A sure bet for fans of police procedurals.--Leber, Michele Copyright 2017 Booklist

From Booklist, Copyright (c) American Library Association. Used with permission. Review by Publisher's Weekly Review

The bludgeoning murder of senior church warden Philip Grave, found in the garden of St. Paul's Episcopal Church on Manhattan's Upper West Side, propels Smith's carefully plotted third Claire Codella mystery (after 2016's Forgotten City). When NYPD detectives Codella and Brian Haggerty arrive at the scene, just about everyone they talk to appears to be hiding something. The stakes rise with the subsequent discovery of the body of vestry secretary Emily Flounders in her car on the church grounds. The case soon spirals into a whirlwind of salacious secrets, and Codella and Haggerty are in the eye of the hurricane. Smith bolsters her seemingly straightforward procedural with well-developed characters: Codella is still recovering from a bout with cancer, and the case threatens her delicate relationship with Haggerty, with whom she's romantically involved. In addition, Smith sensitively portrays the plight of an intersex doctor, who was born "biologically male but with anatomy that would never look male." Readers will want to see more of the capable Codella. Agent: Kathy Green, Kathryn Green Literary Agency. (Nov.) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved Review by Library Journal Review

Homicide detective Claire Codella takes over a complex case at St. Paul's Episcopal Church, where the senior warden has been found murdered in the church garden after a contentious vestry meeting. This sequel to Forgotten City is a compelling police procedural with a diverse cast. Fans of Julia -Spencer-Fleming or David Carlson will appreciate the inside peek at church politics.-LH © Copyright 2017. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

(c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. Review by Kirkus Book Review

The members charged with governing a church community are hiding secrets that could help solve several murders.Claire Codella (Forgotten City, 2016, etc.) has overcome her bout with cancer to return to the job she loves as an NYPD detective. She's patched her rocky professional relationship with her lover, Brian Haggerty, and when Brian's precinct catches a homicide, he asks for Claire's help. Vestry member Rose Bartruff has found Churchwarden Philip Graves barely alive in the garden of St. Paul's Episcopal Church after a vestry meeting. Fellow member Dr. Susan Bentley tries CPR, but Graves does not survive, and soon thereafter Codella discovers the body of the vestry secretary dead in her minivan outside the church. The five remaining vestry members and rector Anna Brookes each have a different take on the evening, but Codella wonders if any of them is telling the whole truth. They all agree that the meeting was routine, but the minutes are missing and there is a 15-minute period when Rose was out of the room that Codella suspects was a lot more contentious that anyone will admit. Two of the vestry members finally admit that Graves was blackmailing them for their vote. Graves and lawyer Peter Linton, it seems, had very different ideas how to solve the church's financial problems. Also on the scene were the new organist and the rector's snarky husband. Examining fingerprints, trace evidence, phone and computer records, Codella uses her skills at eliciting information and her nose for the truth to crack the case. Smith's first-rate police procedural provides plenty of likely suspects and a clever detective who manages to solve the crime in just five days. Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

Copyright (c) Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.