Cover Image: Hope, Faith, and a Corpse

Hope, Faith, and a Corpse

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Member Reviews

What an enjoyable read! 4.5 stars! Pastor Hope is witty and modern and smart, and when she arrives at her new church, one of her first acts is to stumble over a dead body. I love the uniqueness of her job (in the world of cozy mysteries, anyway), and her relationships with the various church-goers. Good plot, excellent dialogue, and a fully-formed world make this a series I'll look forward to new books in. 

Review copy provided by the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.
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Hope, Faith and a Corpse is the first in a new cozy mystery series by Laura Jensen Walker. 
Pastor Hope has just arrived in Apple Springs, California for her new job and beginning a new life after being widowed. Her first day in town, she gets hit by a gnome named Elvis and finds the dead body of a member of the congregation. What follows is a great mystery with some wonderful characters. Not everyone is happy to have a woman serving the congregation, while others are very happy to be progressing with the times. As Hope begins to meet everyone and explore the town she works on finding a killer. This is a great start for a new series and I can't wait to see what happens next.
Thanks to NetGalley and Crooked Lane Books for the advanced copy in exchange for a fair and honest review.
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Although the book had a slow start, it was a interesting mystery with a cast of characters.  It will be interesting to see how the characters grow as the series progresses.
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Hope, Faith, and a Corpse was a fun start of a new series. There's plenty of quirky and relatable characters that's fleshed out. The mystery was well crafted with a few red herrings thrown into the mix, which made me guess until the end who the culprit was.

Overall, it was an enjoyable read and I would love to read more of this series.
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A fun mystery.  The main character, a vicar, is very down to earth and relatable.  She is by no means a saint and religion is not forced down your throat, though, of course, there is some mention of it.  There are some very quirky characters and funny moments.  As appropriate for the first in a series, Walker spends time developing the town and the relationship between the characters.  Although this is enjoyable, it does make the mystery drag in places.

It was a decent mystery.  One red herring, I thought, took up too much of the book and some other suspects and motives could have been developed a bit more.  The murder victim is described as being a horrible person over and over again.  It didn't need to be repeated so often.

Overall, a good book and great characters.  I would enjoy reading more of this series.
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Pastor Hope is a young widow and the first female clergy member in the small town where she's moved for a fresh start. Unfortunately, not all members of the congregation are happy she's joined and she finds the body of one of her biggest critics in the church. Hope becomes a suspect, not the best way to start a new job!

The characters are fun and it's an enjoyable cosy mystery. I look forward to the next book in the series.
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This book gave me a "mental tickle", which in my world means it made me smile. Probably because it was so refreshing to me. I enjoyed the characters, the mystery and the ending. I'm hopeful that the follow-up books will be released quickly. 

Thank you NetGalley for the eARC.
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Hope, Faith and a Corpse by Laura Jensen Walker was a lovely and engaging cozy mystery that kept me turning the pages all afternoon.

Ms. Walker's descriptive writing clearly sets up the community of Apple Springs in northern California and I felt like I was walking along the streets with Hope and Bogie.  Many of the residents came to life while reading this book and I could easily see myself moving there. Hope Taylor is a strong and capable pastor if the community will just give her a chance. I liked her immediately and found her to be easily relatable. I confess that I adored her sister-in-law, Vickie who is vivacious, honest and often snarky. Together Hope and Vickie make quite a team. A quickly paced plot with numerous suspects, twists that kept me guessing and a surprising reveal made this book a winner for me.
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Hope, Faith and a Corpse is a charming cozy mystery.  The main character, Hope Taylor, is an Episcopalian minister, newly assigned to a small town in California.

Suspicions of a female vicar are only heightened when Hope discovers the body of the town sleazy VIP in the church. Many had reasons to resent him, but who actually did it?

Hope is refreshing as a 42 year old widow, who takes her spiritual duties seriously. She is just starting a new phase of her life  and beginning to make friends in the close knit small town. Yes, there are gossips, but also kindred spirits.

The setting of a church is  unusual for a cozy, but it works well. Hope encounters many characters in the congregation that span all denominations--the Queen Bee who aims to control all the social occasions, the older gentleman who resents any females in the ministry, and a choir in need of a good soprano.

The church staff are also engaging, from the aging vicar to the teen age office worker.

The mystery and the start of Hope's new life intertwine for a intriguing read.

I look forward to visiting Hope again, where she continues to solve mysteries with compassion, insight and prayer.  A respite in these trying times.
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What a fun series. Pator Hope is very relatable. I love that she's in her 40's, loves and quotes old movies, quotes 70's song lyrics and has a super cool dog named for Humphrey Bogart. She is no Nancy Drew, because she prefers Trixie Belden, but she does love to play sleuth. If your looking for a somewhat different and surprisingly entertaining read, definitely check this one out. Here's looking at you, kid!
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A very promising cozy series debut -- plenty of humor and a unique protagonist/setting (a female Episcopalian priest, recently widowed and new to town and to her job), plus an engaging mystery.  I will definitely be looking out for the next one in the series.  I also jumped straight into Walker's other cozy series launch, Murder Most Sweet because I enjoyed this one so much.

*Thanks to Netgalley and the publisher for providing an e-galley in exchange for an honest review.
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I downloaded this book as an ARC from NetGalley. 

This was the first book I've read by this author and the first in her new series. And, frankly, it read like it was the first in a series.  Which isn't to say it wasn't enjoyable because I still finished it since I wanted to know how it worked out. However if I didn't know going in that this was a spin off from another of the author's series, I would have thought this was her first book. 

First I want to just get out how much it was hammered home that the victim was not liked. By golly did that keep getting brought up. And I'm not sure why. Maybe it was because the would be sleuth in this series is a Pastor and one of the primary settings is a church. So the author wanted a balance between the gruesome factor of the murder with that. But my goodness did it grate after a while and it seemed like his evil doings and flaws kept getting doubled down on. At one point I actually exclaimed, "We get it! He's a bad bad person. Now let's move on." 

The characters were endearing if stereotypical. There was some inconsistencies with the characteristics of them though so that was hard to adjust to. There were pacing issues, especially towards the end when the mystery was trying to be solved. And speaking of the mystery, I'm not sure how I felt about how that resolved. It And the last section was a bit hokey and seemed to serve only to set up the rest in the series. 

Now all that said I did enjoy the book. I really appreciated how attention was called to how some Christians judge on appearance only, such as an elderly church member being judgmental of a youth's sleeve tattoo and thinking that was why she wouldn't make a good secretary. I like how Pastor Hope was willing to listen to everyone in her church and outside of it, as well as not being judgmental herself. I really liked the idea behind the tea in the  book since I feel that is something that all denominations should strive to do and get along with each other. If the series continues the characters need to be stronger, the pacing better, and there need to not be as many strings for other mysteries or red herrings since that takes away from it. Also don't keep compounding all the ways the victim was a terrible person. While the victim here was, piling on him was unnecessary all things considered.
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Hope is a very likeable character and the author invests a great deal of effort in creating a relatable ensemble cast from which she will be able to draw going forward. Leveraging old movies to help the reader get a clear picture of each one, and various aspects of the story, was both helpful and most enjoyable. A had a good few chuckles. 

Hope, a woman pastor moving into a small community, experiences the opposing forces in the most credible way. There are those excited and encouraged by this change and those who are committed to the status quo and are determined to make life more difficult for her. She takes each incident in her stride while making her fair share of mistakes. (I loved this about her).

Not one but two murder mysteries kept my attention along with the many red herrings inherent in all good cozy mystery novels. For me, the resolution of the primary case felt just a little unsatisfactory and even implausible, perhaps one too many coincidences?  Hmm… 

I do look forward to seeing what Hope Taylor gets up to in Apple Springs in future.

With thanks to #NetGalley, Crooked Lane Books  and the author for my free advanced reader copy to review in exchange for an honest opinion.
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Hope Taylor's first introduction to her new parish is an interesting one - she's "beaned" by a garden gnome named Elvis and then later that day, discovers the dead body of a man who wasn't thrilled to have a female associate pastor.  Hope finds out her new flock has many secrets - one of them might just make her the next victim!

I loved "meeting" Hope Taylor!  The mystery kept me up until The early hours of the morning and then I was sad because I had finished The book!  The author has a gift of creating characters that feel like "old friends" and are so relatable in their personalities and life experiences that they "jump off the page"!  I hadn't read any cozies where the main character was a Pastor.  I loved the book and all of the parish business and amateur sleuthing Hope did - the interactions with the parish members were sometimes tense, hilarious and genuine.  The mystery was fast-paced and the characters well-defined and added a wonderful ambiance to the book.  

The next adventure can't happen soon enough!    I received an ARC from NetGalley and the opinions expressed in this review are my own.
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This is a gentle and entertaining mystery with genuinely likeable characters. Hope is new in town and quickly finds herself in a situation she could not possibly have anticipated. The mystery itself has enough twists and turns to keep the reader interested and the final reveal contained enough of a surprise to be satisfying. Hope herself is good company, although her inner voice is irritating at times, and I’d gladly spend more time with her and the rest of the cast. The only poorly written character is that of the rather two dimensional victim, so this doesn’t detract from the book too much. This is the first title that I have read by this author and I will look out for others.
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When Pastor Hope Taylor arrives at her new parish, she not only has a black eye from a run in with a garden gnome, she comes across a body at the church.
    She has had a previous run in with the victim and some of the older ladies believe she killed him.
    With the help of her new friends and sister-in-law, she snoops until she finds out who the killer was, but not before finding another body, this one's in her yard and has been for some time.
     Skillfully told, with humor and colorful characters you would expect to find, well at least it reminds me of the ones from my church, she leads us through the reasons why each suspect is a suspect. Then rules them out. 
  I requested and received a Net Galley Arc to peruse and offer my opinion freely.
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Charming, character-driven cozy mystery set in the idyllic rural setting of Apple Springs in Northern California. 
A lovely easy read. Reccomend it if you like Agatha Raisin series by MC Beaton.
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When I saw this book was available, I will admit I hesitated to read it, but I am so glad that I did.
Pastor Hope is a great new character, I love her down to earth personality and her quirky sense of humor.
It’s not easy becoming the first female Episcopalian priest, however,    Pastor Hope is determined to make a good first impression with her new church family. We all know that’s not going to happen, so I will suggest you grab a copy of this book, make a pot of tea, and eat a few shortbread cookies while you meet Pastor Hope and all the rest of the colorful characters in this perfect cozy mystery.
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Charming, character-driven cozy mystery set in the idyllic rural setting of Apple Springs in Northern California.
This is a very clean, but compelling story with an interesting female lead and several key female characters who make the book come alive. 
Hope Taylor wants a new life in the community but not everyone wants to share their deepest secrets from the past with a stranger. 
Yes, some of the older characters were stereotypes but the mix was vibrant and up to date.
I did find the number of characters in the book hard to keep track of but the resolution was worth it.
A very enjoyable read from an author to watch.
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clergy, small-town, amateur-sleuth, women-sleuths, cozy-mystery, family-dynamics, friendship, law-enforcement

Widowed Hope moves to a small upstate town to become assistant rector in a parish that has never had a woman priest before. Tough enough, but soon she comes upon the recently dead body of the town's most thoroughly despised resident and goes right to the top of the suspect list even before she's had a chance to make friends! But she does make friends and her sister-in-law comes up from the city to be her support and comic relief. And so the sleuthing begins! Add in lots or movie trivia, a fine English Tea a la Downton Abbey hosted by by the parish ladies then opened to the rest of the town's residents, a skeleton in the garden, and more. I absolutely loved it and hope to read more!
I requested and received a free ebook copy from Crooked Lane Books via NetGalley!!!
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