As it turns out, I read the second book, Death of a Liturgist, a few years ago and loved it. I really enjoyed this one, too, and did not have it all figured out despite my best attempts.
Cleverly written all around, with dialogue that held up and characters who had some extra color. The mystery was actually a mystery, and I caught myself trying to stay up to read just one…more…chapter.
Though I found the romance bit a bit much, I still recommend it with a smile. See if you don’t find a new favorite character when you read it. (Mine is Mo-Mo, hands down.)
Lorraine Murray, the author, was kind enough to answer a few questions.
What was your inspiration for the novel? Where did the idea come from?
There’s a mysterious force at work in writing mysteries! When I sat down to write Death Dons a Mask, my third Francesca Bibbo mystery, I knew the book would be populated with the same wacky characters—because they seemed to be lurking somewhere in my imagination, eager for me to resurrect them—but the actual plot didn’t unfold until I’d written a few chapters. I let the characters lead me along until they revealed the plot for me.
I have a tendency to get discouraged, so the big challenge for me is ignoring the dark voices in my head that tell me to quit. I remind myself that I have to place my derriere in the chair and get to work, and think about the readers who have told me they’re eager to see the next book. And at times my characters themselves seem to cheer me up, especially Dopey the dog and that unpredictable hamster, Ignatius.
How did your Catholic worldview shape your writing?
My books all have a moral compass, which isn’t to say that everyone is saintly and sinless, but rather that you know who the good guys and the bad guys are. I’ve made a conscious effort to exclude grisly murder scenes and gratuitous bedroom excursions. I’ve also added plenty of humor because I find joy absolutely crucial to Catholicism. The setting for Death Dons a Mask is St. Rita’s church, so some of the characters are Catholics, while others could be seen as going through a subtle process of conversion.