Category Archives: Schweizer, Mark

Mark Schweizer. The Treble Wore Trouble. Tryon, NC: SJMP Books, 2012.

There is never a dull moment in the (fictitious) little town of St. Germaine, North Carolina.  In this latest installment in the Liturgical Mysteries series, a body is found in the alley behind the town beauty parlor, and a young child is kidnapped.  Are these two events related?  Police Chief Hayden Koning thinks so, but before he gets far in his investigations, a singer is electrocuted during a service at St. Barnabas Church.  (It isn’t a Liturgical Mysteries book unless a death occurs in or near St. Barnabas.)  This, the tenth book in the series, contains the same cast of characters and many of the usual elements (another new rector, conflicts over the church’s liturgy, interesting minor characters) along with a few zany new additions–a truffle hunting pig and a Christian astrologer.

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

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Filed under 2010-2019, 2012, Humor, Mountains, Mystery, Novels in Series, Novels Set in Fictional Places, Schweizer, Mark, Watauga

Mark Schweizer. The Organist Wore Pumps. Tryon, NC: SJMP Books, 2010.

It’s been two years since St. Barnabas Episcopal Church in St. Germaine, North Carolina burned to the ground, and the holidays are just around the corner. Police Chief  Hayden Konig, also the organist at St. Barnabas, is looking forward to a long month of Advent music and writing bad prose between Thanksgiving and New Year’s. Unfortunately, but not surprisingly for those familiar with St. Barnabas, murder and mayhem intervene. First, Old Man Hiram Frost, the town grump, dies after the bank forecloses on his property. At the resulting auction, Hayden gets sucked into a bidding war with a stranger over three cases of French wine. A week later, the mystery bidder shows up again…floating face-first in Tannenbaum Lake. Additionally, St. Barnabas has a new deacon: the aptly named Donald Mushrat (that’s Moo-shrat). Deacon Mushrat is oily, overfond of the word “awesome” and obsessed with tithing. Everyone feels blessed that the beloved Rector Gaylen Weatherall will still be giving the sermons, but thanks to a terrible car accident, Rector Weatherall is put out of action for a time, opening the way for Deacon Mushrat’s pontificating. Even worse, Konig was in the car with Gaylen during the accident…and his arm is broken. A substitute organist is found, and Konig will just have to grit his teeth and endure their “creative differences.” But when another murder occurs and it becomes clear that a killer is stalking St. Germaine, the Chief finds he has bigger fish to fry.

Filled with the hilarity and quirky characters that are distinctive of The Liturgical Mysteries, this book includes a live creche, an inflammatory (literally) Christmas parade complete with a tap dancing Virgin, a scoodle of skunks, and the “liberation” of a priceless medieval reliquary by a gang of hyperactive children trapped in the church for a lock-in. It may be many things, but at least St. Germaine is never boring.

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

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

Schweizer, Mark. The Tenor Wore Tapshoes. Tryon, NC: SJMP Books, 2005.

With writing that compares the rustling of a woman’s gown to the sounds of a cockroach rooting in a sugar-bowl, it’s safe to say that Police Chief Hayden Konig will never join the greats of American literature. Still, he insists on trying, even purchasing an old typewriter that once belonged to Raymond Chandler. Mr. Chandler, and his pipe, even show up on occasion to compliment Hayden’s efforts. Poor prose and ghostly sightings notwithstanding, Konig is an excellent police chief, and a talented organist at St. Barnabas Episcopal Church in the small, sleepy mountain town of St. Germaine, North Carolina.

Hayden has just settled in from his last crime-solving adventure, which included the theft of a valuable diamond, a dead chorister, and multiple trips to England. You’d think that life would resume its leisurely pace, but this is just when St. Germaine chooses to get…interesting. First, there’s the body that parishoners discover hidden in the altar at St. Barnabas. Next, the local bakery produces a miraculous cinnamon bun in the shape of the Blessed Virgin Mary, which is soon stolen. Poor Hayden loses a bet with his beautiful girlfriend Meg, and is made to enroll in a program designed to help him discover his religious masculinity, known simply as the Iron Mike Men’s Retreat. As if this weren’t enough, an itinerant preacher blows into town with his large revival tent and a feathered assistant known as Binny Hen the Scripture Chicken, who helps him select passages from the Bible.

Reeling from the amount of insanity a small town can apparently inflict in such a short time, Chief Konig somehow also finds time to be troubled by the arrival of a charming attorney called Robert Brannon, who immediately worms his way into everyone’s heart, and the very center of church politics. Hayden is also perplexed by the crimes that have sprung up throughout the community–very specific crimes that seem to follow a popular hymn depicting the trials of the saints. Will Konig solve all, or any of these mysteries? More importantly, will he have time to pay attention to what, or who, really matters? And will she say yes?

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

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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

Mark Schweizer. The Mezzo Wore Mink. Hopkinsville, KY: St. James Music Press, 2008.

The Mezzo Wore Mink has some familiar elements–Hayden’s lovely girlfriend Meg, the quirky residents of St. Germaine, church politics, the discovery of a body in St. Barnabas’ Episcopal Church, and another unsuccessful interim rector.  But there are new elements too and they take the Liturgical Mysteries series to a new level of zaniness.

It’s fall in St. Germaine, and mayor Peter Moss is worried about his re-election chances. The big issue is economic development, and although Mayor Moss has recruited new businesses, not everyone appreciates what they add to the local scene. The naysayers seem to be correct when a body is found in the garden behind the new spa and animals from the new fur farm get loose in the town. Mix in the theft of a head from the local cremation center and a Thanksgiving pageant called The Living Gobbler, and you know that this will be a fun read.

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

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Filed under 2000-2009, 2008, Humor, Mountains, Mystery, Novels in Series, Novels Set in Fictional Places, Schweizer, Mark, Watauga

Mark Schweizer. The Bass Wore Scales. Hopkinsville, KY: St. James Music Press, 2006.

The plot moves along at a leisurely pace in this, the fifth book in Schweizer’s Liturgical Mysteries series.  Hayden is experiencing writers block, so he is talked into a bit of competitive writing. Several locals want to enter a bad writing contest, and Hayden is certain that this kind of challenge will help jump-start his creative process.  St. Barnabas Episcopal Church is once again the site of mishaps and humor–the church is now sponsoring a NASCAR team and bad luck with the birds at the Pentecost service leads yet another rector to leave town under a cloud. But at least this time St. Barnabas is not the scene of a murder–that dubious honor goes to New Fellowship Baptist Church.  The pastor of the church, Brother Kilroy, is found dead in his study.  Although it appears that he was killed by Kokomo, a gorilla, Hayden knows that things are not always what they appear to be.

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

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Filed under 2000-2009, 2006, Humor, Mountains, Mystery, Novels in Series, Novels Set in Fictional Places, Schweizer, Mark, Watauga

Mark Schweizer. The Soprano Wore Falsettos. Hopkinsville, KY: St. James Music Press, 2006.

As this novel opens, Hayden Konig has resigned from his musical duties at St. Barnabas.  His feelings about this are mixed–he’s happy to be away from the pressure of the big Holy Week services, but he knows that the choir is dwindling in numbers and quality and that the replacement organist, Agnes Day, is not up to Hayden’s standards.  St. Barnabas has some interesting problems–the most exciting of which is what to do with the $16 million windfall that the church is about to receive.  Hayden’s significant other, Meg, is heading the committee that will propose how the church should use the money.  Meg asks Hayden to join the committee, seeing this as a way to lure Hayden back to fuller participation in the church.  Soon something else brings Hayden back–a body in the choir loft.  Someone bludgeoned Agnes Day to death with a hand bell after the Palm Sunday service. As Hayden investigates the murder, he finds that many people had reasons to dislike Agnes.

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

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Filed under 2000-2009, 2006, Mountains, Mystery, Novels in Series, Novels Set in Fictional Places, Schweizer, Mark, Watauga

Mark Schweizer. The Baritone Wore Chiffon. Hopkinsville, KY: St. James Music Press, 2004.

This second novel in the Liturgical Mysteries series has Hayden Konig hopping back and forth between his little mountain town of St. Germaine and the northern English city of York.  Hayden is called to England to assist the local police when a baritone from North Carolina, Kris Toth, is found murdered in the treasury vault of York Minster, the beautiful Gothic cathedral.  The local authorities are surprised to discover that Toth was a woman, not a man, and they fail to notice that one of the jewels in the treasury is missing.  Hayden is the one who notices that, and in short order he deduces that Toth and an accomplice planned to steal the diamond.  But the theft is one thing and Toth’s murder is something else.  In a surprising, but believable plot, the reader learns that the murder has its roots in a family’s history, and that the new interim rector at St. Barnabas is part of that history.

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

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Filed under 2000-2009, 2004, Mountains, Mystery, Novels in Series, Novels Set in Fictional Places, Schweizer, Mark, Watauga

Mark Schweizer. The Alto Wore Tweed. Hopkinsville, KY: St. James Music Press, 2002.

In this novel, the first book in the Liturgical Mysteries series, we are introduced to Hayden Konig, the chief detective in (fictional) St. Germaine, North Carolina.  St. Germaine is a quiet little mountain town, one that hardly needs a full-time detective.  Which is good, because Hayden’s passions are elsewhere.  Hayden likes the ladies, he has long wanted to write a detective novel, and he is a knowledgeable and talented organist.  Week in and week out, Hayden probably spends more time at his church than at his office.  When the longtime rector at St. Barnabas retires, Hayden is none too pleased with his replacement, Loraine Ryan.  Mother Ryan favors hymns and a service style that Hayden barely tolerates.  But soon it turns out that the style of the Sunday morning service is the least of Hayden’s concerns.  On the same night that someone steals the church’s communion wine, the sexton is murdered, and Detective Konig finds that few of his his fellow church members will give him a straight story.

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

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Filed under 2000-2009, 2002, Mountains, Mystery, Novels in Series, Novels Set in Fictional Places, Schweizer, Mark, Watauga

Mark Schweizer. Liturgical Mysteries.

Hayden Konig, the main character in this series, is one busy man.  He’s the police detective in the fictional little North Carolina mountain town of  St. Germaine.  He’s also the choirmaster and organist at the local Episcopal church, St. Barnabas, and an aspiring mystery writer.  Hayden pecks out his novels on Raymond Chandler’s 1939 Underwood No. 5 typewriter, something he bought at an auction at Christie’s.  It was quite a splurge.  Hayden thought it would provide inspiration, but he soon finds that his little town gives him more material than he can use. Over the course of the series, Hayden encounters civic clubs battling over who’ll have the prime time for the living creche display, nudity at a nearby church camp, a missing gorilla, diamonds in the town’s time capsule, a chicken known as Binny Hen the Scripture Chicken who selects passages from the Bible, an assortment of flaky and funny townsfolk, and dead bodies that turn up in the choir loft with unsettling frequency.

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Filed under 2000-2009, 2010-2019, Mountains, Mystery, Novels in Series, Novels Set in Fictional Places, Schweizer, Mark, Series, Watauga