Aggie Sloane-Wilcox likes to practice what her minister husband preaches – to a point. But babysitting a narcissistic “star” demands the patience of a saint, and Aggie isn’t bucking for a halo.
Actor and singer Grady Barber has returned to his hometown to judge the Emerald Springs Idyll, a talent show to help raise funds for the local hospital. As the newest volunteer on the fund-raising committee, Aggie is assigned the unenviable task of ensuring that Grady’s needs are met. Unfortunately, Grady’s needs are legion, as are the enemies he makes.
So when Aggie stumbles upon his dead body, she isn’t terribly surprised. But when “Sister” Nora, of a controversial circus that preaches the dangers of global warming, turns out to be Grady’s ex-wife, she is surprised. And when Nora is arrested for his murder, more than Aggie’s patience is tried. She must use every skill to clear the name of the unlikely prophet, before Nora spends her final days preaching on death row.
Whilst I enjoyed reading ‘A Lie for A Lie’ this installment isn’t as well-balanced as its predecessors. Richards decided to illustrate just how human her protagonist is with lots about ‘family issues’ and parenting. The problem is that there just isn’t enough room in a cosy to do anything more than a superficial job. In addition, these over-long sections at the parsonage detract from the mystery element resulting in an installment where neither element is wholly satisfactory. I think the balance is further thrown off-kilter by Richards decision to introduce a large number of new characters, a circus rumbles into town bringing a huge cast, as does a talent show, a consequence of which is old favourites fail to put in an appearance.
Richards earlier books were so much better than this one, I’m wondering if deadlines had anything to do with the slight drop in standard. That said, I liked how self-aware Aggie was at the denouement. It was great that she worked it out properly and engineered a confrontation. A pleasant change. Now Richards has had the courage to grab the bull by the horns lets hope she shows such courage in the next episode due out in February 2011.