Monday 13 November 2023

Blood on a Saint

Finished November 5
Blood on a Saint by Anne Emery

This is the seventh book in the Collins-Burke series, featuring Halifax lawyer Monty Collins and local Catholic priest Brennan Burke. Here, a young woman, who was recently let go from her administrative position at the church is claiming that she sees the Virgin Mary about the statue of St. Bernadette in front of the church named for the saint. This claim draws believers, salesmen of artifacts, media attention, and some who would take advantage of those who come to the site. 
Father Brennan Burke is sure that the young woman, Befanee Tate, is making the story up, but he has to abide by the church line on the subject, which is to investigate. 
Monty represents the local church in many legal matters and the young woman has recently filed a case for damages regarding her dismissal by the church. 
One of the people who arrives in town after the sighting is television debate host Pike Podgis. Podgis is a man whose show looks for the sensational and insults the guests, making humour at their expense. He is hosting a local debate on religion and the bishop has instructed Burke to represent the church for this, while a local university professor represents science. Those who know the series, are aware that Burke is a colourful Irishman, who is well-educated, can't stand fools, and likes a drink on a regular basis. This makes his appearance on the show one that gives the host a surprise he doesn't expect. 
When later that same night a body is found at the foot of the statue, and Monty is hired to represent the accused, things get more interesting. 
Monty and Burke are good friends, who socialize regularly. Burke has played a large role in getting Monty and his wife on the road to reconciliation, and Burke also is a regular attendee of Monty's band's pub appearances. Both of these have a role here. Burke is a fan of a variety of music and this also shows up in the plot. 
I found this quite an interesting case, and I had read one other in this series and enjoyed it as well, so enjoyed seeing more of these characters. A good read. 

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