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In the tradition of M. C. Beaton, Hope Taylor, pastor of a small-town California church, tries to find out who sent a church elder to Heaven. Hope Taylor arrives in Apple Springs to start her new life as the first female pastor of Faith Chapel Episcopal Church. The northern California town's quaint cottages, bungalows, and shops promise a fresh start for the 42- In the tradition of M. C. Beaton, Hope Taylor, pastor of a small-town California church, tries to find out who sent a church elder to Heaven. Hope Taylor arrives in Apple Springs to start her new life as the first female pastor of Faith Chapel Episcopal Church. The northern California town's quaint cottages, bungalows, and shops promise a fresh start for the 42-year-old widow and Bogie, her scruffy black Labrador. But where is Father Christopher? The kindly old rector who hired Pastor Hope was supposed to meet her upon her arrival, but he's nowhere to be seen. Hope's faith springs eternal, so she explores the little white church hoping to find Father Christopher. But when she enters the columbarium, she instead finds church elder Stanley King--his skull crushed by a fallen burial urn. Hope had made Stanley's acquaintance before, and had struggled to take a charitable view of his character. Stanley was as wicked as he was wealthy, as petty as he was pious. His soul may have been holy, but his behavior was wholly rotten. The last time Hope had seen him, he had shouted drunkenly that she would preach at Faith Chapel over his dead body. Many of the townsfolk witnessed the altercation, so Hope finds herself as the prime suspect in Stanley's murder. With Bogie's four-footed assistance, Hope is determined to find the real killer and clear her name...even if it will require a bit of divine intervention.


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In the tradition of M. C. Beaton, Hope Taylor, pastor of a small-town California church, tries to find out who sent a church elder to Heaven. Hope Taylor arrives in Apple Springs to start her new life as the first female pastor of Faith Chapel Episcopal Church. The northern California town's quaint cottages, bungalows, and shops promise a fresh start for the 42- In the tradition of M. C. Beaton, Hope Taylor, pastor of a small-town California church, tries to find out who sent a church elder to Heaven. Hope Taylor arrives in Apple Springs to start her new life as the first female pastor of Faith Chapel Episcopal Church. The northern California town's quaint cottages, bungalows, and shops promise a fresh start for the 42-year-old widow and Bogie, her scruffy black Labrador. But where is Father Christopher? The kindly old rector who hired Pastor Hope was supposed to meet her upon her arrival, but he's nowhere to be seen. Hope's faith springs eternal, so she explores the little white church hoping to find Father Christopher. But when she enters the columbarium, she instead finds church elder Stanley King--his skull crushed by a fallen burial urn. Hope had made Stanley's acquaintance before, and had struggled to take a charitable view of his character. Stanley was as wicked as he was wealthy, as petty as he was pious. His soul may have been holy, but his behavior was wholly rotten. The last time Hope had seen him, he had shouted drunkenly that she would preach at Faith Chapel over his dead body. Many of the townsfolk witnessed the altercation, so Hope finds herself as the prime suspect in Stanley's murder. With Bogie's four-footed assistance, Hope is determined to find the real killer and clear her name...even if it will require a bit of divine intervention.

30 review for Hope, Faith, and a Corpse

  1. 4 out of 5

    PamG

    HOPE, FAITH, AND A CORPSE by Laura Jensen Walker brings murder to a new cozy mystery series set in Apple Springs, California. This is a story that brings warmth and humor while tackling serious situations, examining prejudicial attitudes and focusing on a unique amateur sleuth. It was one of the most enjoyable cozy mysteries that I have ever read. Our protagonist, 42 year old Hope Taylor, arrives in Apple Springs to start as the first female pastor of Faith Chapel Episcopal Church. While searchin HOPE, FAITH, AND A CORPSE by Laura Jensen Walker brings murder to a new cozy mystery series set in Apple Springs, California. This is a story that brings warmth and humor while tackling serious situations, examining prejudicial attitudes and focusing on a unique amateur sleuth. It was one of the most enjoyable cozy mysteries that I have ever read. Our protagonist, 42 year old Hope Taylor, arrives in Apple Springs to start as the first female pastor of Faith Chapel Episcopal Church. While searching for the rector and her new boss, Father Christopher, she enters the columbarium and nearly trips over church elder Stanley King. When kneeling to check on him, she happens to pick up an urn that has blood on it. When Father Christopher and two of the women of the church enter, one of them accuses Hope of murder. What a dreadful first day on the job! To clear her name, she focuses on her inner Trixie Belden while taking on her new duties at Faith Chapel. But will the community give her a chance? Many are not open to changes and focus on long-held prejudices against women in church leadership. The descriptive writing made the cottages, bungalows, shops and people of Apple Springs come to life. I felt like I was visiting the town and trying to help Hope. Her quirky sense of humor is not always obvious to others and this actually makes her more relatable. The secondary characters were a mixed bag with varying levels and depth that worked great for a first novel in a series. There were enough challenges and adventures with secondary characters to keep the situation lively while Hope moved forward with solving the murder. Sister-in-law Virginia’s visit and phone calls added snarkiness in addition to some much needed support for Hope. Bogie, Hope’s Labrador, provided moments of humor as well as adding another dimension to Hope’s life. The story had plenty of suspects and twists along with a fast-paced plot. Overall, this was a story that quickly drew me into Hope’s world. It was filled with lots of humor, but also kindness, friendship, hope and the challenges of starting over against a backdrop of murder, arrogance, lies, secrets and more. This was a fun and entertaining read that I did not want to put down. This is the first book in the Faith Chapel Mystery series, and I highly recommend it to those that enjoy the genre. Additionally, if you love share Hope’s love of classic movies, this may be the next book for you. It was a fun, relaxing, and entertaining read and I can’t wait for the next book featuring Hope, Father Christopher and the other residents of Apple Springs. I received a complimentary copy of this book from Crooked Lane Books and Laura Jensen Walker via NetGalley. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own and are not biased in any way. Publication date is currently set for January 12, 2021. This review was originally posted at Mystery and Suspense Magazine.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Phrynne

    A new author to me. Although she has written a number of books this is the first in a new series. Hope, Faith, and a Corpse is a great title and it gets even better when you discover that the main character is an Episcopalian Pastor. Her name is, rather appropriately, Hope, and this is her first job. Her very first act is to discover a dead body in the church. Not the best beginning for someone who is already going to find her work difficult in the face of sexism. I pictured Hope as a version of A new author to me. Although she has written a number of books this is the first in a new series. Hope, Faith, and a Corpse is a great title and it gets even better when you discover that the main character is an Episcopalian Pastor. Her name is, rather appropriately, Hope, and this is her first job. Her very first act is to discover a dead body in the church. Not the best beginning for someone who is already going to find her work difficult in the face of sexism. I pictured Hope as a version of the Vicar of Dibley with the same sense of humour and a touch of political incorrectness although still very caring. Hope though fancies herself as bit of a sleuth and since her role means people tell her their secrets she has a good chance of working out who has done what. I enjoyed the whole book. The characters were well drawn, the mystery was good with lots of red herrings, and the solution was appropriate. I also enjoyed the fun everyone had in organising the English high tea. It made me think about cucumber sandwiches and scones with jam and clotted cream. I will be looking out for book two. My thanks to Netgalley for the opportunity to read and review this book.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Tahera

    The first book in a new cozy mystery series by the author Laura Jensen Walker and the first book I have read by her. I loved this one!! I am still new to the cozy mystery genre and am slowly feeling my way through the different books and series I am getting my hands on and I think I will enjoy this particular series. Hope Taylor, who comes to Apple Springs, California to take up the position of the first female pastor of Faith Chapel Episcopal Church is, to me, a combination of Geraldine Granger The first book in a new cozy mystery series by the author Laura Jensen Walker and the first book I have read by her. I loved this one!! I am still new to the cozy mystery genre and am slowly feeling my way through the different books and series I am getting my hands on and I think I will enjoy this particular series. Hope Taylor, who comes to Apple Springs, California to take up the position of the first female pastor of Faith Chapel Episcopal Church is, to me, a combination of Geraldine Granger and Father Brown. I loved the setting, all the eccentric, quirky and cute characters most of whom are above the 50 years bracket, the witty banter and humour. Even the mystery of who killed the hateful Stanley King has its fair share of twists and turns since almost the entire town is quite glad to be rid of him. Entertaining and a lot of fun to read, I look forward to reading more of the series. My thanks to NetGalley, the publisher Crooked Lane Books and the author for the e-Arc of the book. This book was published on 12th January 2021. Rating: 🌟🌟🌟🌟💫

  4. 5 out of 5

    JoAn

    Hope, Faith and a Corpse by Laura Jensen Walker was a lovely and engaging cozy mystery that kept me turning the pages all afternoon. Ms. Walker's descriptive writing clearly sets up the community of Apple Springs in northern California and I felt like I was walking along the streets with Hope and Bogie. Many of the residents came to life while reading this book and I could easily see myself moving there. Hope Taylor is a strong and capable pastor if the community will just give her a chance. I li Hope, Faith and a Corpse by Laura Jensen Walker was a lovely and engaging cozy mystery that kept me turning the pages all afternoon. Ms. Walker's descriptive writing clearly sets up the community of Apple Springs in northern California and I felt like I was walking along the streets with Hope and Bogie. Many of the residents came to life while reading this book and I could easily see myself moving there. Hope Taylor is a strong and capable pastor if the community will just give her a chance. I liked her immediately and found her to be easily relatable. I confess that I adored her sister-in-law, Vickie who is vivacious, honest and often snarky. Together Hope and Vickie make quite a team. A quickly paced plot with numerous suspects, twists that kept me guessing and a surprising reveal made this book a winner for me. I voluntarily reviewed an Advance Reader Copy of this book from Crooked Lane Books via NetGalley. All of the above opinions are my own.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Toni

    4.5 stars This is the first book in the Faith Chapel mystery series by Laura Jensen Walker. This book had a unique protagonist I had not come across before. Not only was she a sleuth in the making, she was a pastor! What a great idea for a story concept. Just totally loving it! There is a lot going on in this sleepy little town, so you better pay attention. The first thing Pastor Hope does is find a dead body and immediately become suspect number one. What a way to start off a new job in the minist 4.5 stars This is the first book in the Faith Chapel mystery series by Laura Jensen Walker. This book had a unique protagonist I had not come across before. Not only was she a sleuth in the making, she was a pastor! What a great idea for a story concept. Just totally loving it! There is a lot going on in this sleepy little town, so you better pay attention. The first thing Pastor Hope does is find a dead body and immediately become suspect number one. What a way to start off a new job in the ministry. The minor characters are out of this world awesome. Just loving the heck out of this new series by Walker. Can’t wait for more tales and adventures. If you like cozy mysteries, definitely check this one out. You won’t be disappointed. I received this as an ARC (Advanced Reader Copy) in return for an honest review. I thank NetGalley, the publisher and the author for allowing me to read this title.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Lisa Morin

    When I saw this book was available, I will admit I hesitated to read it, but I am so glad that I did. Pastor Hope is a great new character, I love her down to earth personality and her quirky sense of humor. It’s not easy becoming the first female Episcopalian priest, however, Pastor Hope is determined to make a good first impression with her new church family. We all know that’s not going to happen, so I will suggest you grab a copy of this book, make a pot of tea, and eat a few shortbread cookie When I saw this book was available, I will admit I hesitated to read it, but I am so glad that I did. Pastor Hope is a great new character, I love her down to earth personality and her quirky sense of humor. It’s not easy becoming the first female Episcopalian priest, however, Pastor Hope is determined to make a good first impression with her new church family. We all know that’s not going to happen, so I will suggest you grab a copy of this book, make a pot of tea, and eat a few shortbread cookies while you meet Pastor Hope and all the rest of the colorful characters in this perfect cozy mystery.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Cozy Cat Reviews

    This is the first book in the new "Faith Chapel Mystery" series by author Laura Jensen Walker. I highly recommend this debut series. The charcters were well developed, the sleuth was well crafted and it was a enjoyable fun read. Thank you to Net Galley and to the publisher for the opportunity. My review opinion is my own. We are introduced to our protagnist Hope Taylor who is the Pastor of a small town church in California. Right away I love the descriptions of the small fictional town. The town This is the first book in the new "Faith Chapel Mystery" series by author Laura Jensen Walker. I highly recommend this debut series. The charcters were well developed, the sleuth was well crafted and it was a enjoyable fun read. Thank you to Net Galley and to the publisher for the opportunity. My review opinion is my own. We are introduced to our protagnist Hope Taylor who is the Pastor of a small town church in California. Right away I love the descriptions of the small fictional town. The town of Apple Springs is welcoming her and her lab Bogie who is her constant companion. When Hope arrives she searches for the churches elderly Pastor and instead she stumbles upon a Elder who has been murdered. Unfortunately for Hope she was seen arguing with him and although he is disliked in town she is prime suspect number one in his murder. Hope must investigate the murder and save her reputation and her new job. I like Hope as a Christian woman of good values who is independent and on her own. I loved the sleuth that was well crafted and kept me guessing to conclusion. All of the charcter development was pleasing and likable. I look forward to the next in series.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Nancy Baker

    It all started with Hope Taylor's first day of work when she ran into Elvis the King but that bump on her head was nothing compared to what happened later. Hope Taylor, Episcopal priest, was starting over in a new town and church and was excited but nervous. She entered the church looking for Father Christopher but instead discovered a body. Now as a self proclaimed accidental sleuth she finds herself involved in one or maybe even two murder investigations. I enjoyed the uniqueness of a female p It all started with Hope Taylor's first day of work when she ran into Elvis the King but that bump on her head was nothing compared to what happened later. Hope Taylor, Episcopal priest, was starting over in a new town and church and was excited but nervous. She entered the church looking for Father Christopher but instead discovered a body. Now as a self proclaimed accidental sleuth she finds herself involved in one or maybe even two murder investigations. I enjoyed the uniqueness of a female priest as a protagonist and the author did a good job of also humanizing the character. The diversity of the secondary characters added a lot to the story too. Thanks to Crook Lane and NetGalley for an ARC. The opinions expressed are my own.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Elizabeth

    Great start to this new series! I really like the characters and the plot! Hope is a 42 year old pastor who has just arrived at her new church and the action starts then! I love books that move quickly! This one held my attention throughout, plus Bogie was amazing! Thank you to NetGalley and Crooked Lane Books for the opportunity to read and provide an honest review of this book.

  10. 4 out of 5

    LORI (Dollycas) CASWELL

    Dollycas’s Thoughts Oh my, Hope Taylor is a woman I would surely be friends with. We share our Wisconsin roots, we hear our mother’s voice in our heads – “a place for everything and everything in its place” all the time, our inner thoughts sometimes roll off our tongues and escape out our mouths, we both love old black and white movies and can quote lines perfectly if necessary. She even has a labrador named Bogie. Hope in the new associate pastor at Faith Chapel Episcopal Church and her first day Dollycas’s Thoughts Oh my, Hope Taylor is a woman I would surely be friends with. We share our Wisconsin roots, we hear our mother’s voice in our heads – “a place for everything and everything in its place” all the time, our inner thoughts sometimes roll off our tongues and escape out our mouths, we both love old black and white movies and can quote lines perfectly if necessary. She even has a labrador named Bogie. Hope in the new associate pastor at Faith Chapel Episcopal Church and her first day doesn’t get off to a good start. While trying to locate the lead pastor, Father Christopher, she finds church elder Stanley Kind instead. He just happens to be dead in the columbarium with a crushed skull and a bloody urn by his side. She had only met the man once and he was drunk and not very supportive. When two parishioners find her and the deceased that quickly jump to the conclusion that she killed the man. Being a murder suspect was not the fresh start she was hoping to have. Now she is going to have to prove herself to her new congregation and clear her name. Laura Jensen Walker introduces some fantastic characters in this first Faith Chapel Mysteries. Not only do I love Hope but her sister-in-law Virginia too. She drops everything to come to Hope’s aid and she is a whole lot of fun. I also liked the technology-challenged Father Christopher. He reminded me of one of my former pastors. There are several other characters that remind me of people in my life. Bogie also stole my heart immediately. All the characters are believable and some are very quirky. They were all very fleshed out for the first book in the series. The life of a small-town church is accurately portrayed. While not a pastor, I worked for our small town church for several years in different capacities and everything from the fundraisers to the services rang true, as did the dealing with the variety of members’ attitudes and feelings. The victim was truly a despicable man so there was no shortage of suspects. The more I learned about him I was surprised he lived as long as he did. Another mystery involves a skeleton found buried in Hope’s backyard. Both mysteries are well-plotted and interesting. I really enjoyed doing some armchair sleuthing of my own as Hope was trying to uncover all the facts she could. Several twists and a little legwork brought the real culprit to light. The author’s descriptive writing style made everything clear in my mind’s eye each and every step of the way. The final twist was quite a surprise. Hope, Faith, and a Corpse was a heavenly read. I loved the way humor was woven liberally throughout the entire story. I truly didn’t want to reach the end. I am very excited about this series. I can’t wait for book two! I have hope and faith that this series is going to be a must-read for cozy lovers everywhere. A Perfect Escape!!

  11. 5 out of 5

    Crystal

    On her first day of work in a new town, Pastor Hope runs into quite a few mysteries. First, how did Elvis manage to give her a black eye; next, where exactly is her boss; and finally, why is there a dead man laying on the floor of the church? From there, it gets much worse. As she's discovering the body, life-long churchgoers come across her and think she's the one who killed him! I wasn't sure how I was going to feel about a murder mystery set in a church, but I LOVED IT! The book is really foc On her first day of work in a new town, Pastor Hope runs into quite a few mysteries. First, how did Elvis manage to give her a black eye; next, where exactly is her boss; and finally, why is there a dead man laying on the floor of the church? From there, it gets much worse. As she's discovering the body, life-long churchgoers come across her and think she's the one who killed him! I wasn't sure how I was going to feel about a murder mystery set in a church, but I LOVED IT! The book is really focused more on the community and people with the church being a gathering point for many of them. The story is really well told and absolutely adorable. I am looking forward to reading so much more from this series, and I hope that means I get to see more of Pastor Hope. The only reason this isn't a perfect 5/5 is that the ending felt a bit rushed for me and not fully explained in a way that further developed the story. Otherwise, it was absolutely perfect! 4/5 Stars Thank you to Netgalley and Crooked Lane Books for providing me with an e-arc in exchange for an honest review.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Carol Deegan

    I enjoyed this cozy mystery by an author new to me. The story was very good, and the characters who were supposed to be likable were likable, and the characters who were supposed to unlikable were unlikable. I had no idea until the end of the book who the actual murderer was. That person was never on my radar! I like a book where the guilty party is not known until the end. I marked the book down by 1 ⭐️ because of all the references and quotes from movies. They left me in the dark and not knowi I enjoyed this cozy mystery by an author new to me. The story was very good, and the characters who were supposed to be likable were likable, and the characters who were supposed to unlikable were unlikable. I had no idea until the end of the book who the actual murderer was. That person was never on my radar! I like a book where the guilty party is not known until the end. I marked the book down by 1 ⭐️ because of all the references and quotes from movies. They left me in the dark and not knowing why they were referenced. I received an ARC of this book from NetGalley and the publisher. All opinions expressed are my own.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Laura Salas

    What an enjoyable read! 4.5 stars! Pastor Hope is witty and modern and smart, and when she arrives at her new church, one of her first acts is to stumble over a dead body. I love the uniqueness of her job (in the world of cozy mysteries, anyway), and her relationships with the various church-goers. Good plot, excellent dialogue, and a fully-formed world make this a series I'll look forward to new books in. Review copy provided by the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. What an enjoyable read! 4.5 stars! Pastor Hope is witty and modern and smart, and when she arrives at her new church, one of her first acts is to stumble over a dead body. I love the uniqueness of her job (in the world of cozy mysteries, anyway), and her relationships with the various church-goers. Good plot, excellent dialogue, and a fully-formed world make this a series I'll look forward to new books in. Review copy provided by the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Bridget

    Hope, Faith, and a Corpse is the first in Laura Jensen Walker's new Faith Chapel Mystery series following Hope Taylor and Bogie, her scruffy black Labrador. Hope, 42, has moved to Apple Springs to start her new role as first female pastor of Faith Chapel Episcopal Church. Looking for a fresh start in the quaint and tranquil southern Californian small-town, she is due to meet Father Christopher Weaver but he is a no-show. The rector who offered her the post is apparently late so Hope has a wander Hope, Faith, and a Corpse is the first in Laura Jensen Walker's new Faith Chapel Mystery series following Hope Taylor and Bogie, her scruffy black Labrador. Hope, 42, has moved to Apple Springs to start her new role as first female pastor of Faith Chapel Episcopal Church. Looking for a fresh start in the quaint and tranquil southern Californian small-town, she is due to meet Father Christopher Weaver but he is a no-show. The rector who offered her the post is apparently late so Hope has a wander around... and stumbles upon odious church elder Stanley King in the wall crypt - his skull crushed by a fallen burial urn. It is wonderful to start a cozy mystery series from the very beginning and I jumped into Hope, Faith, and a Corpse enthusiastically. This super new series has a fabulous, engaging main character. Laura Jensen Walker's new sleuth Hope is smart, caring and determined and her sister-in-law Virginia added brazenness and some support for Hope whilst keeping me fully entertained. Many of the characters had something to offer, be it wit, kindness or friendship and most were well fleshed-out. I was right there alongside Hope as she uncovered facts and deciphered the clues and it was interesting to learn a little about Hope's love for classic films. The murderer was a surprise to me as was the final twist and of course, I enjoyed Bogie's part in the proceedings. I'm already looking forward to the next instalment! I received a complimentary copy of this novel at my request from Crooked Lane via NetGalley and this review is my unbiased opinion.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Kristina

    Faith, Hope, and a Corpse by Laura Jensen Walker is the charming first installment in in A Faith Chapel Mystery series. We are transported to Apple Springs, California where Hope Taylor is the new associate pastor at Faith Chapel Episcopal Church. Discovering a murdered parishioner and being found holding the murder weapon while standing over the victim is not the best first impression. With parishioners looking at her askance and not wanting Hope’s services, she has no choice but to prove her i Faith, Hope, and a Corpse by Laura Jensen Walker is the charming first installment in in A Faith Chapel Mystery series. We are transported to Apple Springs, California where Hope Taylor is the new associate pastor at Faith Chapel Episcopal Church. Discovering a murdered parishioner and being found holding the murder weapon while standing over the victim is not the best first impression. With parishioners looking at her askance and not wanting Hope’s services, she has no choice but to prove her innocence. I enjoyed reading this charming new cozy mystery. Hope Taylor is an entertaining protagonist. Her movie references are delightful, and I liked her quirky sense of humor. She has an adorable dog named Bogie which adds humor to the story. I liked that Hope is a woman starting over after enduring tragedy. She has such a good outlook on life. I thought the story was well-written with steady pacing. There are a variety of secondary characters that enhance the story. We get to know some of the attendees of the church. I liked the tea the group put on that had a Downton Abbey flair. The author’s word imagery allowed me to visualize the town with its shops, homes, and townspeople. The mystery was a fun one to solve. There are several good suspects, a red herring, and well-placed clues. It was fun watching Hope play a mature Trixie Belden. The author did a great job with the mystery. Faith, Hope, and a Corpse is a sweet story that has friendship, secrets, hope, lies, humor, and murder. I am looking forward to the next A Faith Chapel Mystery. Faith, Hope, and a Corpse is a pleasing cozy mystery with big dog named Bogie, an offensive victim, shocking secrets, tea party planning, a spirited sister-in-law, and a positive pastor.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Kory Bull

    Delightful book and I enjoyed the descriptions of California that took me back to my childhood in California. The book had a great pace and interesting characters. I recommend this book

  17. 5 out of 5

    Kristin

    Hope, Faith, and a Corpse was a fun start of a new series. There's plenty of quirky and relatable characters that's fleshed out. The mystery was well crafted with a few red herrings thrown into the mix, which made me guess until the end who the culprit was. Overall, it was an enjoyable read and I would love to read more of this series. Hope, Faith, and a Corpse was a fun start of a new series. There's plenty of quirky and relatable characters that's fleshed out. The mystery was well crafted with a few red herrings thrown into the mix, which made me guess until the end who the culprit was. Overall, it was an enjoyable read and I would love to read more of this series.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Kathleen

    Hope, Faith & a Corpse earns 5/5 Sunday Sermons...Entertaining Fun! Despite an unexpected run in with an Elvis garden gnome, forty-something Paster Hope Taylor was on time and eager to start her new pastoral work with Faith Chapel Episcopal Church in Apple Springs, California. However, she’s unable to find her new boss, Father Christopher, and in her search, she enters the church’s columbarium tripping over a dead body. Not the best of introductions, especially when a lady from the altar guild ye Hope, Faith & a Corpse earns 5/5 Sunday Sermons...Entertaining Fun! Despite an unexpected run in with an Elvis garden gnome, forty-something Paster Hope Taylor was on time and eager to start her new pastoral work with Faith Chapel Episcopal Church in Apple Springs, California. However, she’s unable to find her new boss, Father Christopher, and in her search, she enters the church’s columbarium tripping over a dead body. Not the best of introductions, especially when a lady from the altar guild yells, “Stanley’s dead, and she killed him!” True, Stanley King is dead, bludgeoned with Ethel Brown’s urn with her cremains inside, but not so true the new pastor is the killer. However, the victim’s opposition to accepting a female paster—“Over my dead body.”—is being closely scrutinized by the detective in charge, it isn’t the only issue that could have resulted in murder; the victim was a despicable person, so many seem ripe with a motive. But, who took their grievances one step too far? Totally entertaining first-in-a-series! “The Vicar of Dibley” is a favorite British sitcom, so the premise of a female pastor of a small town church, somewhat opposed, was one I was eager to engage. The mystery followed the traditional cozy formula I greatly enjoy: crime occurs in the first chapter, main focus on the ins and outs of investigation, the lead character has a dubious link to the victim worthy of close scrutinization, intros to characters and connections are throughout. There are legitimate alternative scenarios worth notice with hints pointing to family, vestry members, business associates, and other parishioners, and several have questionable alibis. Hope is spurred to investigate on her own to squelch any rumors, and adding a bit of humor and insight into Hope and her past, she is joined by her sister-in-law Virginia and Hope’s Labrador, aptly named Bogie to represent her old movie passion. Beyond the murder investigation, the community begins to take shape, Hope slowly becomes accepted, there’re tea parties, and a skeleton in the backyard. Walker’s mystery is very clever, well-written, steady-paced, and her writing style is engaging, creates a lovely small town environment with descriptive language, and entertaining dialogue. I enjoyed this first book in the series, and look forward to more. FYI—Unique to the story are the movie and television references punctuating the witty banter and inner dialogue of the main character. The author adds a fun and informative section, Pastor Hope’s Movie Guide, which gives her Top 11 Desert Island Old-Movie Picks which provides insights into the movies she wouldn’t be without if on a desert island. Of course, what else? Faith Chapel Tea Recipes! Cucumber Sandwiches best with English cucumbers, Ham and Apricot Cream Cheese Sandwiches, Classic English Scones, Lemon Squares, and Triple Chocolate Brownies. Disclosure: I received an ARC from Crooked Lane Books thru NetGalley. My review is voluntary with honest insights and comments.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Jane Firebaugh

    Hope Taylor Episcopal priest is a wonderfully unique character. I was hooked on this book from page one. Moving from the Bay area to a sleepy little town to be the first female priest in town take a lot of guts and a thick skin, but Hope has learned over her 40+ years to take most things in stride and not let negativity get her down. Finding a dead body and having half the town think she is the killer was a bit more than she bargained for on her very first day at work. This book is fabulous! Funny Hope Taylor Episcopal priest is a wonderfully unique character. I was hooked on this book from page one. Moving from the Bay area to a sleepy little town to be the first female priest in town take a lot of guts and a thick skin, but Hope has learned over her 40+ years to take most things in stride and not let negativity get her down. Finding a dead body and having half the town think she is the killer was a bit more than she bargained for on her very first day at work. This book is fabulous! Funny, a tad bit snarky, wrapped up with warm, caring people and a couple not so warm ones, it is a must read for anyone who enjoys a good cozy mystery with loads of fun involved.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Laura

    Well, this is certainly one of those mysteries that will have you rooting for the protagonist pretty early on. Hope Taylor will be the first pastor of Faith Chapel Episcopalian church and is very excited to get started meeting everyone. That is until she meets the church elder Stanley King. While Stanley was a church going man, his ways were not God like at all. As Hope enters the columbarium, she finds Stanley deceased after his head had been crushed by an urn. Hope had had the unpleasant exper Well, this is certainly one of those mysteries that will have you rooting for the protagonist pretty early on. Hope Taylor will be the first pastor of Faith Chapel Episcopalian church and is very excited to get started meeting everyone. That is until she meets the church elder Stanley King. While Stanley was a church going man, his ways were not God like at all. As Hope enters the columbarium, she finds Stanley deceased after his head had been crushed by an urn. Hope had had the unpleasant experience of meeting Stanley prior to his death when he was on a drunken binge and shouted that she would preach at Faith Chapel over his dead body. So, now she has become a suspect and must find a way to prove her innocence. This was a great book that had characters that blended well together and the writing was very fluid and at a good pace. The writer has a great deal of knowledge pertaining to certain aspects of this book and I really enjoyed following along. I love books that have a great whodunnit plot and this one certainly kept me captivated and enthralled the entire time reading it. I enjoyed reading this and did not expect the ending at all. Thank you to netgalley as well as the author/publisher for allowing me to read this book in exchange for my honest review.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Jerri Cachero

    Hope Taylor's first introduction to her new parish is an interesting one - she's "beaned" by a garden gnome named Elvis and then later that day, discovers the dead body of a man who wasn't thrilled to have a female associate pastor. Hope finds out her new flock has many secrets - one of them might just make her the next victim! I loved "meeting" Hope Taylor! The mystery kept me up until the early hours of the morning and then I was sad because I had finished the book! The author has a gift of cre Hope Taylor's first introduction to her new parish is an interesting one - she's "beaned" by a garden gnome named Elvis and then later that day, discovers the dead body of a man who wasn't thrilled to have a female associate pastor. Hope finds out her new flock has many secrets - one of them might just make her the next victim! I loved "meeting" Hope Taylor! The mystery kept me up until the early hours of the morning and then I was sad because I had finished the book! The author has a gift of creating characters that feel like "old friends" and are so relatable in their personalities and life experiences that they "jump off the page"! I hadn't read any cozies where the main character was a Pastor. I loved the book and all of the parish business and amateur sleuthing Hope did - the interactions with the parish members were sometimes tense, hilarious and genuine. The mystery was fast-paced and the characters well-defined and added a wonderful ambiance to the book. The next adventure can't happen soon enough! I received an ARC from NetGalley and the opinions expressed in this review are my own.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Vintagebooklvr

    3 1/2 stars. A fun mystery. The main character, a vicar, is very down to earth and relatable. She is by no means a saint and religion is not forced down your throat, though, of course, there is some mention of it. There are some very quirky characters and funny moments. As appropriate for the first in a series, Walker spends time developing the town and the relationship between the characters. Although this is enjoyable, it does make the mystery drag in places. It was a decent mystery. One red he 3 1/2 stars. A fun mystery. The main character, a vicar, is very down to earth and relatable. She is by no means a saint and religion is not forced down your throat, though, of course, there is some mention of it. There are some very quirky characters and funny moments. As appropriate for the first in a series, Walker spends time developing the town and the relationship between the characters. Although this is enjoyable, it does make the mystery drag in places. It was a decent mystery. One red herring, I thought, took up too much of the book and some other suspects and motives could have been developed a bit more. The murder victim is described as being a horrible person over and over again. It didn't need to be repeated so often. Overall, a good book and great characters. I would enjoy reading more of this series.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Jan

    Widowed Hope moves to a small upstate town to become assistant rector in a parish that has never had a woman priest before. Tough enough, but soon she comes upon the recently dead body of the town's most thoroughly despised resident and goes right to the top of the suspect list even before she's had a chance to make friends! But she does make friends and her sister-in-law comes up from the city to be her support and comic relief. And so the sleuthing begins! Add in lots or movie trivia, a fine E Widowed Hope moves to a small upstate town to become assistant rector in a parish that has never had a woman priest before. Tough enough, but soon she comes upon the recently dead body of the town's most thoroughly despised resident and goes right to the top of the suspect list even before she's had a chance to make friends! But she does make friends and her sister-in-law comes up from the city to be her support and comic relief. And so the sleuthing begins! Add in lots or movie trivia, a fine English Tea a la Downton Abbey hosted by by the parish ladies then opened to the rest of the town's residents, a skeleton in the garden, and more. I absolutely loved it and hope to read more! I requested and received a free ebook copy from Crooked Lane Books via NetGalley!!!

  24. 5 out of 5

    Angela Williamson

    Hope, Faith and a Corpse is the first in a new cozy mystery series by Laura Jensen Walker. Pastor Hope has just arrived in Apple Springs, California for her new job and beginning a new life after being widowed. Her first day in town, she gets hit by a gnome named Elvis and finds the dead body of a member of the congregation. What follows is a great mystery with some wonderful characters. Not everyone is happy to have a woman serving the congregation, while others are very happy to be progressing Hope, Faith and a Corpse is the first in a new cozy mystery series by Laura Jensen Walker. Pastor Hope has just arrived in Apple Springs, California for her new job and beginning a new life after being widowed. Her first day in town, she gets hit by a gnome named Elvis and finds the dead body of a member of the congregation. What follows is a great mystery with some wonderful characters. Not everyone is happy to have a woman serving the congregation, while others are very happy to be progressing with the times. As Hope begins to meet everyone and explore the town she works on finding a killer. This is a great start for a new series and I can't wait to see what happens next. Thanks to NetGalley and Crooked Lane Books for the advanced copy in exchange for a fair and honest review.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Cherry London

    Well, what do you know, this book caught me by surprise, I was expecting it to be a run of the mill afternoon tea read without much excitement, but it proved me wrong. Hope was a loving character, a Pastor who just loves solving mysteries and doing her ordained work, of course. I liked her true to form jovial vibes along with her straightforwardness, no shimmy shammy with her. In Apple Springs, everyone seems to be in love with the 70s oldies movies and songs, a bit too much for my liking. In my Well, what do you know, this book caught me by surprise, I was expecting it to be a run of the mill afternoon tea read without much excitement, but it proved me wrong. Hope was a loving character, a Pastor who just loves solving mysteries and doing her ordained work, of course. I liked her true to form jovial vibes along with her straightforwardness, no shimmy shammy with her. In Apple Springs, everyone seems to be in love with the 70s oldies movies and songs, a bit too much for my liking. In my opinion, this book had a great storyline, but sad to say, not much excitement, and it needed a teensy bit more intrigue, but nonetheless it makes an entertaining read.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Adrienne Naibauer

    Hope Taylor has a new town, a new house, and a new job. But it doesn't take long for problems to arise in Apple Springs. After being smacked on the head with an Elvis garden gnome on her way to work at Faith Chapel, she discovers a dead body. When she is discovered holding the murder weapon leaning over the body, things get worse. But when the remains of another murder victim are found buried in her back yard, Faith needs to figure out who is actually responsible. This book is has suspense, but Hope Taylor has a new town, a new house, and a new job. But it doesn't take long for problems to arise in Apple Springs. After being smacked on the head with an Elvis garden gnome on her way to work at Faith Chapel, she discovers a dead body. When she is discovered holding the murder weapon leaning over the body, things get worse. But when the remains of another murder victim are found buried in her back yard, Faith needs to figure out who is actually responsible. This book is has suspense, but it is funny. Nearly everyone in Apple Springs hated Stanley King, which makes nearly everyone in Apple Springs a suspect. I am looking forward to more stories about Hope!

  27. 4 out of 5

    Barbara Sousa

    Hope, Faith, and a Corpse, the first book in Laura Jensen Walker’s Faith Chapel Mystery series combines the best elements of a cozy mystery with a unique pastoral setting to create a fresh and fabulous novel that is a joy to read. When Hope Taylor arrives in Apple Valley, California to serve as the first female pastor of Faith Chapel Episcopal Church, she has no idea that by the end of the day she will be accused of murder. On her way to check in with Father Christopher, her new boss, she encount Hope, Faith, and a Corpse, the first book in Laura Jensen Walker’s Faith Chapel Mystery series combines the best elements of a cozy mystery with a unique pastoral setting to create a fresh and fabulous novel that is a joy to read. When Hope Taylor arrives in Apple Valley, California to serve as the first female pastor of Faith Chapel Episcopal Church, she has no idea that by the end of the day she will be accused of murder. On her way to check in with Father Christopher, her new boss, she encounters the body of one of the church elders, Stanley King, lying next to an urn spotted with blood. When she is discovered, urn in hand, with the body, she is briefly considered a suspect. It turns out, however, that Stanley King was an abhorrent person, and there are plenty of people who may have wanted him dead. The mystery is a good one, with a good variety of clues and red herrings. But what makes this book shine are the characters. Hope is a wonderful protagonist. Her faith is always at the forefront of her decisions, but, unlike in many “Christian” novels, her faith flows naturally from the storyline and is not overdone. She is fresh and quirky, with a love of old movies that is totally endearing. Her boss, Father Christopher, seems to be level-headed and willing to try new things – evidenced by the fact he hires a young assistant with – gasp – a tattoo. The ladies of the church, too, lend an air of authenticity to the story, and despite being grouped together often, have emerged with distinct personalities of their own. Finally, Hope’s sister-in-law, Virginia, has a can-do attitude that serves as the perfect counter balance to Hope’s enthusiasm. I hope we see more of her in upcoming novels. There is much to like about this book, and I’m betting, the series. That said, I do think the book tries a bit too hard to prove that Hope is young and “hip.” Some of the references seem forced and over the top. No doubt that is due to this being the first book in the series, and as we settle into later books, Hope’s actions will speak for themselves. All-in-all, Hope, Faith, and a Corpse is a fantastic start to what promises to be a delightful cozy mystery series. Note: I received an ARC of Hope, Faith, and a Corpse from NetGalley and Crooked Lane Books. The above is my honest review.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Susan

    I know I'm in for a great read when I'm laughing from page one. The first laugh comes when Hope literally runs into Elvis - complete with his famous white number cut sown to his waist. Boy, can he pack a punch. From there to the discovery of the deceased takes no time at all. Hope recovers from her encounter with The King and sets out to find her new boss, Father Christopher. Before she can find him she finds the towns' resident jerk, a wealthy man disliked by almost everyone. Not the best way t I know I'm in for a great read when I'm laughing from page one. The first laugh comes when Hope literally runs into Elvis - complete with his famous white number cut sown to his waist. Boy, can he pack a punch. From there to the discovery of the deceased takes no time at all. Hope recovers from her encounter with The King and sets out to find her new boss, Father Christopher. Before she can find him she finds the towns' resident jerk, a wealthy man disliked by almost everyone. Not the best way to start a new job. Being found holding the murder weapon, a burial urn covered in blood, gets more than a few fingers of suspicion pointed at her and even more fingers pointing her to the town's exit sign. Spending time with Hope was just what I needed. I'm old enough to remember when our church hired the first female pastor and people were very vocal in their opinions. Some left in a huff. That was many decades ago and those attitudes are still around and facing Hope as she tries to fit into her new congregation. With her quirky sense of humor, her inner Trixie Beldon urging her into investigating and the addition of her delightful sister-in-law, Vicky and a sweet dog named Bogie make for a great team. As for the mystery, it's solid, complex and had enough red herrings to keep me guessing. The setting of Apple Springs sounds to me like a place I would be happy visiting and maybe staying for a spell. My thanks to the publisher Crooked Lane and to NetGalley for giving me an advance copy in exchange for my honest review.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Christi

    This is the first book in the Faith Chapel series by Laura Walker Jensen. The main character, Hope Taylor, begins her new job as the first female pastor of the Apple Springs Episcopal Church. While she is wandering around the church looking for Father Christopher, her new boss, she finds the body of church member, Stanley King. Of course she feels compelled to investigate. I really loved this book. Hope is a great main character. She is smart, compassionate, and everything you would hope your mi This is the first book in the Faith Chapel series by Laura Walker Jensen. The main character, Hope Taylor, begins her new job as the first female pastor of the Apple Springs Episcopal Church. While she is wandering around the church looking for Father Christopher, her new boss, she finds the body of church member, Stanley King. Of course she feels compelled to investigate. I really loved this book. Hope is a great main character. She is smart, compassionate, and everything you would hope your minister would be. The supporting characters are all memorable — especially married couple Bethanne and Wendell. I can’t wait to read the next book in the series. I highly recommend this series.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Maria

    What a great story! The main character is funny and personable - it was easy to connect with her and her struggles in a new town, new job, new chapter in her life. The supporting characters were also lovable and I loved the feel of the small town she's moved to. I was sucked in right away and thoroughly enjoyed it. I also liked that there was a religious aspect without feeling like I was hit over the head with religion - this book was not preachy in a religious sense with tons of scripture being What a great story! The main character is funny and personable - it was easy to connect with her and her struggles in a new town, new job, new chapter in her life. The supporting characters were also lovable and I loved the feel of the small town she's moved to. I was sucked in right away and thoroughly enjoyed it. I also liked that there was a religious aspect without feeling like I was hit over the head with religion - this book was not preachy in a religious sense with tons of scripture being quoted; rather, it was be kind to each other and live a good life. I would definitely recommend this book and will read the next one in the series.

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