Donn Taylor's Novel: Rhapsody in Red


Title:  Rhapsody in Red (A Preston Barclay Mystery #1)
Author:  Donn Taylor
Pages:  364
Year:  2008
Publisher:  Moody Publishers
Professor Preston Barclay teaches history at a small Midwestern university.  His friends call him Press, but he has few of those.  Most faculty shun him as he is not afraid to say what he thinks and stand up for what he feels is right.  He is a widower in his mid-fifties with a college age daughter.  His wife died about three years ago and he has stopped going to church due to his overwhelming grief, which he still experiences sometimes more deeply than others.  He hasn’t lost his faith, but he isn’t practicing it either.  He becomes involved in a murder investigation when a fellow colleague, Mara Thorn, asks for his help confronting another teacher.  They go to confront this teacher and find her murdered.
Press and Mara soon find themselves among the suspects and begin their own investigation to find the murderer.  The captain in charge of the investigation is someone from Preston’s past and has a personal score to settle with Press, so he finds any and every excuse to keep Press as the prime suspect.  As Press and Mara continue to ask questions, more and more threats are made against them.  Then, they are on the run for their very lives.  Mara is in her mid-thirties with an aversion to being touched and is very much in control of herself.  She was raised in a very strict religious environment that claimed to be Christian, but in truth didn’t practice what the Bible says, which in turn has soured her on Christianity.  She says she is now a Wiccan, but will these beliefs sustain her when she is on the run? 
This is an excellent mystery filled with witty dialogue, sarcastic wit; some laugh out loud moments for readers as well as some really awful puns!  I loved it and hope there are many more Professor Barclay novels that come from the mind and pen of Donn Taylor.  I liked seeing the coming out of the fog of grief to return to an active faith-based life, his fight against political correctness when that violates his religious freedoms and the different songs that play through his mind at various times.  I am a big mystery fan and am so excited I’ve found a new author with a great talent for this genre.  This one is definitely a book readers will want to buy for their collection.  Great job Donn!!
My rating is 5 stars out of 5.
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