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A Very Private Grave

Title:  A Very Private Grave (The Monastery Murders #1)
Author:  Donna Fletcher Crow
Pages:  371
Year:  2010
Publisher:  Monarch Books
                If you are a British mystery fan or just a fan of mysteries, then you won’t want to miss this first entry of The Monastery Murders series.  The author’s love of all things British shines through, so get out your tea and scones!  The story is set in the contemporary College of the Transfiguration in Yorkshire.  The two main characters are Father Antony and one of his students, Felicity Howard.  When one of their own is murdered, these two set off on an exciting and perilous journey to find the culprit.
                Felicity Howard is one of only four females at the College of the Transfiguration, so she is aware how precious a friendship with one of her fellow monks is.  The gentle, kind, old monk, Father Dominic fills this role for Felicity.  Their mutual love of poetry enriches their friendship.  Who could have wanted to kill this 85-year-old priest and in such a brutal manner?  She finds Father Antony next to his body with blood all over his hands.  Did Father Antony kill him?  Surely not!  Does his journal where he wrote down his thoughts for future poems hold the key?  Felicity vows that she will not give up until she discovers the truth.
                Father Antony teaches medieval history at the college.  He keeps putting off taking his vows to become a monk, but he doesn’t know why.  Isn’t the routine and peace without the stress of the world what he really wants?  Father Dominic didn’t show up for his duties at their latest service so Father Antony goes to check on him.  What he discovers sends him into shock.  The police begin asking questions and Father Antony and Felicity are sent on their way before the police can take further action.  They begin their adventure by following in Father Dominic’s footsteps of his last missionary/sabbatical journey.  Then, the action takes off from there.  Near misses by an unknown assailant trying to kill the pair of sleuths lets them know they are on the right track.  The suspense and tension mount as the pages turn.  Is there a secret brotherhood that has survived from ancient church times still protecting their secret and willing to kill to keep it? 
                There are a couple of things I always enjoy when I read a book by Donna Fletcher Crow as I have read some of her other books.  The first thing is that she always weaves God and faith into several different strands of the plot so these two things make numerous appearances.  While the figuring out of “whodunit” might be the main focus, the repetition of faith, without bludgeoning the reader over the head, still draws attention to Him and how He works.  The other thing I really enjoy is Donna’s extensive research on the topic of her stories.  I always learn a lot when I read her stories.  This happens without me realizing it, so I learn and enjoy a terrific story!  I will be reviewing the next book in this series, A Darkly Hidden Truth, in the next couple of weeks, so stay tuned.
                My rating is 5 stars.
Note:  I received a complimentary copy for an honest review of this book.  The opinions shared in this review are solely my responsibility.  Other reviews can be read at .  Also follow me on Twitter @lcjohnson1988, FaceBook at
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