Saturday 4 November 2023

A Grave Disturbance

Finished October 31
A Grave Disturbance by D.M. Greenwood

This is the 8th book in the series featuring Theodora Braithwaite, an Anglican deacon. A school friend, Susan Tye, who is the wife of the Provost of Giltchrist Cathedral, calls her for assistance. Susan has noticed her husband behaving suspiciously and want Theodora's assistance in the issue. The same day that she is due to arrive, a workman on the roof of the cathedral falls to his death. 
Lionel Comfret, the Assistant (Lay) Diocesan Secretary, who works for the Archbishop, is thinking about his upcoming retirement. He quite looks forward to it. He has been with the church for ten years, and had been both a soldier and a teacher before this position. Early in the book there is a meeting that includes Lionel, Archdeacon Marcus More, Provost Reggie Tye, and Canon Kate Wale and this gives a good sense of the abilities and limitations of these senior clergy who figure in the plot. We also see the secretary for the senior clergy Mrs. Lure and see her lack of effort in her job. Overall, these early scenes give us a very good idea of why Lionel is looking forward to his retirement. It is during the meeting that the accident occurs, and Lionel is a witness to it, as he watches from the window. 
On the drive back with Theodora, Lionel talks about the accident and about the town, which has three distinct areas. Cray Martyr is the poorer part of town, the part where the victim came from. The parish priest there, Tobias Angel is a strong advocate for his parishioners and a personality in his own right, as we see later. Giltchrist is where the cathedral close is, and between them is Gainshurst a more posh part of town, where both the Archdeacon and the Canon live. 
Kate Wale is married to a developer, Leslie Wale, who has done very well for himself and both of them left behind their Cray Martyr childhoods. The were both acquainted with the Lee family, of whom Mick Lee, the victim, was the middle child. As we discover, there is history between the families, but also a history of distrust between the family and the church to some extent. 
We soon hear about the reason for Susan's request for Theodora's visit and Susan's plans for her during that time. 
I enjoyed the depth of the characters here, especially Lionel, but also Kate to an extent. We see how Lionel finds a possible new future role in an environment that he has more respect for the leadership in, and we see how he spends his leisure time. Theodora is somewhat frustrated by Susan's demands, but falls in to assist Lionel in finding answers. 
A very interesting read, which I got caught up in quite quickly. 

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