Murder in the bucolic town of Independence, Missouri, is not everyday news. Especially when it occurs in the temple owned by the Reorganized Mormons. Once again, philosophy instructor and amateur sleuth Toom Taggart becomes embroiled in a homicide investigation. In this second novel, Edwards re-acquaints readers with the likeable, curmudgeonly professor who shocks fellow Latter Day Saints by drinking coffee. By coincidence, Taggart is called to oversee the Church’s education department, just as the author himself was some years ago. This gives Taggart even more reason to explore the inner offices at Church headquarters—places and hushed conversations are not meant for outsiders—all of which the author describes with a wink and a nod.
Taggart is annoyed at having to navigate the political structure of the bureaucracy, but he cannot bring himself to leave. He is able to teach, and he likes his proximity to Church archives, local bookstores, and the woman who, according to fate, is still seeing the policeman from The Angel Acronym. All the major characters are back, and Taggart’s romantic rival is given the new murder case, meaning that he has to rely once again on Taggart for his knowledge of the Church’s secrets. This gives both men a reason to keep an eye on the other, making for entertaining situations in a funny, insider send-up of the RLDS community.
Paul M. Edwards is author of The Angel Acronym, to which the current volume serves as a sequel. In his mystery novels, he draws on his experience as past director of the RLDS (Community of Christ) Temple School in Independence, Missouri. He holds a doctorate from St. Andrews University in Scotland and has been a Professor of Philosophy at Park University in Kansas City. He has also served as vice president of Graceland University in Lamoni, Iowa. He is a past president of the John Whitmer Historical Association and past president of the Mormon History Association. In nonfiction, he has authored thirty books, monographs, and Church manuals.