Mark Schweizer. The Countertenor Wore Garlic. Tryon, NC: SJMP Books, 2011.

It’s almost Halloween and little St. Barnabas Episcopal Church has yet another interim vicar–Oh, the horror! Fearghus McTavish is an Episcopal priest on a mission from his diocese in Aberdeen, Scotland to establish a sister church near Grandfather Mountain.  With the Grandfather Mountain church as the focus of his attention, he’ll be at St. Barnabas just for Sunday services.  And that will be quite enough. Vicar McTavish is decidedly old school, preferring the 1928 prayer book, refusing to co-celebrate communion with his predecessor because she’s a woman, and preaching some of the most hell-fire sermons this side of Cotton Mather.

But a lot of people in the little town of St. Germaine are much more interested in the here-and-now rather than the next life.  For the first time, the town is having a Halloween Carnival at the park in the center of town. (This as a sop to the Kiwanis Club who could not dislodge the Rotary Club’s lock on the town’s Christmas festivities.)  Packs of children are at the park for the 11 a.m. opening, and they and their elders will soon be thrilled and frightened by hundreds of zombies who descend on the park.  (A Bible-inspired group of “Zombies of Easter” organized by the Baptist Church, augmented by a flashmob of college students.)  In one of the funniest scences in this series of humorous mysteries, Chief of Police Hayden Konig and his two deputies provide the thin blue line between the zombies and several hundred Goth-garbed young women lined up at the local bookstore to see the author of a blockbuster series of vampire novels.

And all that is before the murder happens.  But, as in previous books in this series, a body is found at St. Barnabas.  In this case, in the maze the church built for the Halloween Carnival.  Longtime readers of the series will be happy to see that other signature elements of the Liturgical Mysteries series are present–wordplay, light doses of musical and religious history, church politics, small town entanglements, and Hayden’s clever and attractive wife, Meg, his dog, and even his owl Archimedes.

Check this title’s availability in the UNC-Chapel Hill Library catalog.

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Filed under 2010-2019, 2011, Mountains, Mystery, Novels in Series, Novels Set in Fictional Places, Schweizer, Mark, Watauga

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