When last we saw Brother Bartholomew, the monk-detective of David Manuel's engaging Faith Abbey series, he had sworn off both caffeine and sleuthing. In this installment, he reluctantly pitches in to help solve a murder, though the monk sticks to his guns and chugs decaf throughout. Readers are treated to authentic Cape Cod people and places, and in this second book we learn more detailed information about the abbey where Brother Bartholomew lives and tends the roses.
The mystery undertakes some heady theological issues, as Bartholomew realizes that he's battling not just a human killer, but the very "principalities" of evil. Armed with the spiritual counsel of his wise mentor, the aging Brother Columba, the young monk must put his trust in the unseen God and face the real presence of evil. This novel shows the maturation of Manuel as a mystery writer, offering readers memorable characters and perceptive theological insights.