You know I use the Goodreads App to note down books that I’m interested in. I might find lead on interesting books in various newspapers and magazines and from people I know. After a while I forget where I got the tip from. And when I’m looking for new books I start at the most recent and go back until I find one that the Tulsa library has that I can download without waiting on it. So I don’t know where I got the idea that I wanted to read “The Bishop’s Wife.”
I downloaded the book and oh groan it looks like a “Woman’s Book” type murder mystery. The protagonist is Linda Wallheim who is the wife of a bishop. Not a Catholic Bishop of course (now that would be a story!) or an Episcopal or Methodist Bishop but a Mormon Bishop. So, uh, I said I spent much of my formative years in Utah and northern Arizona in heavily Mormon dominated areas and I have relatives who are Mormons. In fact I had a shop teacher in my high school in Arizona who was a Mormon Bishop. We, everybody, not just Mormons, called him Bishop Brown instead of Mr. Brown. So anyway that piqued my interest more than a little bit. So, it was like “What the heck, I’ll keep on reading this.”
So anyway this Bishop’s wife Linda Wallheim is one of those women who make the world go round. Maybe you know them regardless of what religion or belief you are. They are right in the mix of things at church, school, Cub Scouts, and any other activities. I recognize them because my mother was that way, and I’m married to one, and I have a sister who is one also. Like my MIL Nana says, “If you want anything done, you have to get an old broad to do it.” Not that my wife and sister are old broads. So anyway Linda (I feel like I’m old friends with her after reading the book), is here there and everywhere. Basically she is leaning on the church door every time it opens. As you can tell I fell in love the character.
Now the thing is, although a Mormon Bishop is a lay position (that means they do it for free) it is an official position of authority in the Mormon church. The Bishop’s wife is not an official position but she is the “Mother of the Ward unofficially. So Linda’s husband asks her to go check on people from time to time. So he asks her to go check on things with a couple families who are also close neighbors. Well she takes that assignment to heart, she checks in on them and then next thing you know she is rifling through garages and finding all sorts of suspicious things and pokes around their back yards. She also surreptitiously goes through their cell phone call histories and goes through their dressers. And then she goes back to her house and bakes cookies and brownies. Her other duty as the Bishop’s wife is that some of the women in the ward will talk to her when they don’t feel comfortable talking to the her husband. I tell you what she gets an ear full from some of these women. They tell her some things that would make Hannibal Lector flinch. It’s like wow!!
On the spiritual side of things Linda is of course a devout and faithful Mormon woman but she chafes under the all-male authority structure of the church and really gets steamed when her own husband tries to play the bishop card on her. She pretty much does what she wants and doesn’t tell him anything she doesn’t think he needs to know. She has two grown sons and one still in school and her relationship with them is a little prickly. This all makes Linda real to me.
And oh yes, murder’s are committed and the perps are found and my friend Linda is right in the mix. I am hoping that Mettie Ivie Harrison writes another one of these books. I loved it. This is her first Adult book after several young adult fantasy romances. She is a practicing Mormon and lives in Utah.