Take one normal Mormon housewife, busy keeping up with the laundry and the Relief Society president’s meal requests.
Throw in a husband who’s a bishop, which means she’s now got people showing up on her doorstep with tear-stained faces, people calling at all hours.
That should be enough to kickstart Mette Ivie Harrison’s novel, The Bishop’s Wife.
Then people go missing. Or dead people turn up.
Yep, it’s just a normal ward, with a little Agatha Christie thrown in.
Our housewife, Linda, volunteers enough to fill a 36-hour day. She steps up when one family needs child care and when another needs their shed cleaned out. She makes numerous “quick” batches of cinnamon rolls. It could be the goodness of her heart, or it could be that she’s almost an empty-nester and not even the laundry or the problems of her grown-up children can burn off all that energy.
By inserting herself into ward members’ lives, she runs into clues far ahead of the police. And she’s not above snatching up some untended cell phone and checking the messages therein.
Some of those people on her doorstep would rather tell their problems to her instead of the bishop. Well, come on in. Sit here beside me, and here’s a tissue.
You have probably met a Linda in church. She’s the kind of gal who quickly reveals herself as “real,” who admits to chocolate cake and Diet Coke for breakfast.
Harrison tries to make a case that Linda’s meddling is all to cover up a deep, unresolved sorrow in her past (and autobiographical at that), but that storyline never really grabbed me.
Harrison also explains the world of Mormons, everything from sealing policies to church courts, clearly enough carry along the average airport-book-buying reader. This can try the Mormon reader’s patience. Stick with it though. You may run across information that may make you say, “What? We have that policy?
That’s just as much fun as the misogynistic grandpas in Harrison’s tale.
Photo credit: More Good Foundation via Visual hunt / CC BY-NC