Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Review: Murder by Mushroom

Ever been to a church potluck? If you have, you know they are a delight. I love sampling all kinds of fun dishes and treats. And all those desserts. Yum! After reading Murder by Mushroom, you might look at those potlucks a little differently.

Jackie Hoffner comes to her church’s latest potluck with a casserole, determined to avoid the harassment she usually gets when bringing a bag of chips. Two days later, one of the older women in the church who took some home dies from mushroom poisoning. In an effort to get herself off the suspect list, Jackie takes a week off work to investigate who would want to kill this woman.

In the process everyone becomes a suspect. She’s so desperate to clear herself, that she’s willing to consider that anybody could have killed the woman. And that leads to all kinds of chaos as she cuts a swath through town with her questions.

The setting is small town Kentucky, and the story is populated with a host of quirky characters. As a newcomer to town, Jackie steps on all kinds of toes as she searches between the lines of gossip to find a suspect. In the process she learns a few hard lessons about the reputation Christians have and the problem of gossip.

One thing I enjoyed about this book was the way that the characters in it were real – there were no perfect Christians. You know the saying, the church may have been perfect, then I joined. It’s easy to put on a perfect persona around friends at church and hide the real challenges and issues. It’s equally easy to become judgmental of others. This book provides an example of what can happen in both situations.

It was a fun, quick read… perfect for the end of summer.

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