We’ve reviewed several clerical mysteries in the past. I knew Kate Charles’ Callie Anson mysteries series was quite popular in the UK and it’s more of a 21st century series than some. When I learned False Tongues, the new novel in that series, was going to be published in the U.S., I jumped on it. The whole novel takes place in one week of Callie’s life. Cyber-bullying, love and loss, peer pressure, and family expectations all play a role in this very personal mystery. It’s not quite like any mystery I’ve ever read so I’m happy to host a pay-it-forward giveaway for the copy I received that one of you will win!
A Little Background on This Series: Callie Anson is a fairly new Anglican deacon. She still has a lot to learn but her training is going well and overall she’s happy with her calling. She liked Archbishop Temple House in Cambridge, where she trained, even though she’s only recently finally put a bad breakup with fellow student Adam Masters behind her. That happened just after she graduated. Adam blindsided her when he told her that he was going to marry one of his parishioners instead of her, despite all of the plans they had made. Nothing like being left halfway to the altar. Not only was it humiliating but it broke her heart into tiny pieces. It also made her very reluctant to trust men and get involved with someone again.
Luckily Callie has since met Mark “Marco” Lombardi, the Family Liaison Officer with her local police department. He just may be the most wonderful man she’s ever met and she couldn’t be happier. They’re planning to get married. She even has a beautiful engagement ring; however, they’ve decided she won’t wear it until their families have been told. Why? There is this slight glitch that Mark’s family is Italian Catholic and Callie is English Anglican but surely they can work that out; at least Mark assures her that they can and she believes him most of the time.
When she gets an Archbishop Temple House Deacons (reunion) Week notice in the mail, she’s initially excited about seeing all of her friends and catching up on what’s been happening in their lives and careers. But then she realizes she might run into Adam, something she’s not ready to face even though she really has moved on – honest she has. Still, her friends are adamant that she has to go so she reluctantly agrees to attend. Somehow she’ll make it through and, who knows, maybe the egotistical jerk won’t even show up – yeah, right.
“’Well?’ Tamsin demanded. ‘Are you going?’
‘I…haven’t decided,’ admitted Callie. ‘Are you?’
‘Probably. Depends on who else goes, of course. I haven’t returned my reply slip. I’m waiting to see.’
‘But how will you know who’s going?’ That in a nutshell was the problem. Callie would love to see Tamsin again, and her other friends, Val and Nicky. Some of the staff, and certainly her tutor. But not Adam. Definitely not Adam.
Tamsin chuckled. ‘On Facebook, of course. I’ve posted it as an event, and invited everyone from our year. I’ve asked them to RSVP…”
Mark meanwhile has a new case that he’ll be busy working on with Inspector Neville while Callie’s in Cambridge. Fifteen-year-old Sebastian Frost has been found stabbed to death on Paddington Green, and Mark has been assigned to serve as liaison with the boy’s family. It doesn’t take long for Mark to stumble upon information that leads him to believe Sebastian was not as popular as his family claimed. He also strongly suspects the teen was the victim of a local high school cyber-bullying ring. What he doesn’t know is that he’s just touched the tip of the nasty iceberg when it comes to this murder.
DarthVader474 to RedDwarf287:
U make me sick u little wanker. U need to die.
Y don’t u just kill urself & save us the trouble?
Mark also hasn’t been totally up front with Callie about his family’s feelings about him dating someone who isn’t Catholic or Italian. Now he’s faced with telling them that’s he’s going to marry a non-Catholic and he knows it’s not going to be pretty. Can he handle the pressure of his family’s expectations when it collides head-on with his future happiness?
How will Callie and Mark handle the separation when both are under a lot of stress? How will that impact their relationship? What secrets will Mark uncover in his murder investigation and where will they lead? Will Callie have to confront Adam and, if so, how will that impact her self-image? Has she gained enough perspective since their breakup to be ready to marry Mark?
I liked Callie a lot. She’s a regular person who’s really just starting her career, a career she feels strongly about. She has the same insecurities most people have when they are still feeling their way as adults. She’s also in a fairly new, if committed, relationship while still healing from deep wounds left by the last one. And she and Mark are limited to just phone calls at a time when they have something big to get past, their difference in faith and family expectations that go hand-in-hand with that. How can he make them see that he doesn’t want them to find him a nice Italian girl? Mark’s also in a high stress professional situation, the unraveling of a complex murder investigation, while Callie is dealing with unexpected, volatile rumors and innuendo at her reunion – a subplot I didn’t go into above to avoid spoilers.
I mentioned that False Tongues is a very personal mystery and I think you can begin to see why from the synopsis above. The threads of this novel may sound quite separate and distinct, and they are – just like in real life. At the same time, they blend into several overarching mystery threads that all make perfect sense. Think of mysteries as a day-in-the-life and you’ve got a good idea of what it’s like. Having read False Tongues, I can now see why Kate Charles is so highly regarded in the UK. If you like clerical mysteries, I think you’ll find this one might just be a great vacation read!
Can’t wait to read it?
False Tongues was published in the UK on May 21, 2015 and in the U.S. on April 7, 2015, so it’s available in all formats from your favorite online bookseller below (or in the right column for iBooks). If you download it as an ebook, you can have it to read immediately!
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One lucky reader will win an ARC (advance readers copy) of False Tongues by Kate Charles!
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