Friday, February 6, 2015


By Catherine Macdonald

Turn-of-the-century Winnipeg seems the perfect backdrop for this first mystery from a Manitoban with a background in history. Then toss in an unusual sleuth in the form of the Reverend Charles Lauchlan, some very unsavory behavior from the town’s leading citizens, a touch of romance, and of course, murder.

For the Reverend, the challenges in his life are provided by tending to his Presbyterian flock and trying to juggles repairs to the church along with limited funds. But all that changes when his former university roommate, Peter McEvoy is arrested for murder. McEvoy’s once-promising future has disintegrated to alcoholism, gambling and sleazy bars. Then he’s arrested for the murder of one of the city’s most prominent citizens. Only McEvoy can’t remember what happened.

Lauchlan agrees to be responsible once bail is granted. He doesn’t believe his friend, even in a booze-induced state, could do such a thing and that draws him into a quest for the real murderer. Fortunately, Sergeant Andrew Setter of the Winnipeg Police agrees and they form an unusual alliance in searching for the truth. As Lauchlan gets more emotionally attached to the daughter of his former teacher and mentor, her relationship with the son of the dead man’s business partner draws them both into that family’s darkest secrets. And, as time runs out for McEvoy, Lauchlan ends up at the wrong end of a gun.

Catherine Macdonald spins a tale of power, greed and intrigue that is certain to keep the reader engaged until the final pages. Put On The Armour of Light has all the right ingredients: a crime hidden under layers of assumptions; a time period that sets its own restrictions on investigations; and aroster of engaging characters, from the Reverend to the police office, to a female photographer used at crime scenes. That’s a terrific addition and she could probably spin out in her own series.

If you’re watching Granchester on PBS, you’ll want to read this book!

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