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Secret Sins    by Kate Charles order for
Secret Sins
by Kate Charles
Order:  USA  Can
Poisoned Pen, 2007 (2007)
* *   Reviewed by Mary Ann Smyth

Mother always said that comparisons are odious. I agree. That's why I won't compare author Kate Charles with P. D. James or Martha Grimes. But – ah, the inevitable but – if you enjoy those writers, you will definitely like Secret Sins, the second in an Anglican series featuring curate Callie Anson. For that matter, also read the first, Evil Intent. Both are cracking good stories.

Callie Anson took the curate's position at All Saints' Church in Paddington, hoping for a quieter life – some peace and serenity. Her breakup with her ex-fiancé is mitigated by the appearance of Marco Lombardi, a London policeman whose interest in her seems to go beyond the law, although he hasn't invited her to meet his family. Her gay brother is between relationships at the moment and moves in with her temporarily, which rather reduces the chance of romantic dinners with Marco, as she tries to get to know him better.

Callie attempts to give solace to a young mother-to-be whose husband disappeared while jogging. A twelve-year-old girl runs away after a fight with her stepmother. A parishioner comes to Callie for help to spend her last days in peace. Not quite the problems Callie envisioned when signing on with All Saints'. While feeling pulled in different directions, Callie finds herself embroiled with all these people as her emotions spin.

Secret Sins is a great mystery – or several mysteries rolled into one. It also holds up relationships for scrutiny. How we relate to other people often plots courses we least expect. Charles digs deep to bring her characters to life with the attendant foibles we all possess. The plot is a great one that keeps readers guessing, weaving the stories into a very enjoyable fabric.

Kate Charles deserves the applause I am sure she will get for this intriguing book with its whiffs of London, recent church developments involving women priests and gay bishops, as well as secrets abounding.

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