Stirring Up Strife
Review: Jennifer Stanley introduces 32-year-old Cooper Lee, a plucky lady repairman of office equipment in need of a new life, in Stirring Up Strife, the first in the Hope Street Church mystery series.
After being dumped by her boyfriend of five years, Cooper has moved back with her family in Richmond, Virginia. She's working as a repairer of office equipment — copiers, laminators, fax machines, and the like — for a local company, They Make It Work. If only she could patch up her broken heart as quickly as she can put together a broken machine. When Cooper is sent to the offices of Capital City, the nation's largest credit card company, she strikes up a conversation with Brooke Hughes, the office manager. Before she knows it, she's telling Brooke about her miserable life. Brooke invites her to come as her guest to her church where she can meet new people in a relaxed environment. They have a small study group, men and women, who enjoy learning more about the Bible and themselves. Cooper accepts, but following the services on Sunday, Brooke is not among the group, who welcome here as if she was already one of them. Just before their session concludes, they learn that Brooke has been murdered and her husband, Wesley, has been arrested. The group believes Wesley could not have possibly killed his wife, and fearful that the police might not look much further for a suspect, they pair off — including Cooper — to search for clues that Wesley is not a killer.
Stirring Up Strife is a splendid mystery with an impressive cast of characters. There are Savannah, a legally blind artist, and Nathan, a computer geek with large feet; Jake, a "recovering Catholic" and Little League coach, and real estate agent Trish, whose face is plastered on billboards through the city; and Quinton, a "banker dude" who's also a master cake maker. Each of these characters is original and real, and it's a treat getting to know them. That they're part of a solidly plotted, really quite charming, murder mystery is all the more enjoyable.
Special thanks to guest reviewer Betty of The Betz Review for contributing her review of Stirring Up Strife.
Acknowledgment: Minotaur Books provided a copy of Stirring Up Strife for this review.
Review Copyright © 2010 — Hidden Staircase Mystery Books — All Rights Reserved
Selected reviews of other mysteries by this author …
Path of the Wicked
Minotaur Books (Mass Market Paperback), April 2010
ISBN-13: 9780312376833; ISBN-10: 0312376839
Location(s) referenced in Stirring Up Strife: Richmond, Virginia
— ♦ —
Stirring Up Strife by Jennifer Stanley — A Hope Street Church Mystery
Publisher: Minotaur Books
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Publication Date: December 2009
List Price: $7.99