Mette Ivie Harrison is the author of numerous books for young adults, including The Princess
and the Hound and Mira, Mirror. The Bishop's Wife is her first adult mystery and the first in the Linda Wallheim series set in Mormon Utah,
which includes His Right Hand and For Time and All Eternities.
Here is an interview with Mette at Publishers Weekly.
For Time and All Eternities, Book 3 in the Linda Wallheim Mormon Utah Mystery Series, is now available for pre-order. Go here or here.
Mormon bishop's wife Linda Wallheim knows a bit about the LDS church's history of polygamy, but for mainstream Mormons, that epoch ended in 1890. However, there are still sects of fundamentalist Mormons who still practice "the Principle" of plural marriage—in fact, some of them are living in plain sight here in Utah. And now Linda's son Kenneth is marrying a young woman who was raised in a polygamist family.
Linda isn't sure what to expect—will her future daughter-in-law wear 19th-century style long-sleeved prairie dresses and fix her hair in a bouffant braid, like the FLDS women on TV? No, Naomi Carter is a modern woman, currently in medical school to become an OBGYN, and she seems like a good match for Kenneth—even if they have both left the Mormon faith.
Linda is very curious about polygamy, though, and now, her future daughter-in-law, Naomi, has presented the perfect excuse for Linda to visit a polygamous compound and satisfy her curiosity. Linda and her husband, Kurt, will drive out to the Carter residences, discreetly hidden in the mountains overlooking Salt Lake City, and have dinner with their future in-laws: Stephen Carter, Naomi's father; his five wives; and their twenty-one collective children. Linda is fascinated and repelled by the Carters' lifestyle—how do these modern-seeming people live this way? And why?
While she's on the compound, Linda has an additional task to perform. Naomi suspects her nine-year-old half-sister, Talitha, is being abused, and asks Linda to check in on Talitha. Maybe Linda, an outsider, will notice something, or be able to get Talitha to open up to her in a way Naomi can't. As soon as Linda hears there is a little girl in danger, she jumps into action. But snooping on the Carter compound reveals more secrets than Linda could ever have imagined—and some of them are worth killing to keep.
What critics have said about His Right Hand:
An ABA IndieNext Selection for December 2015
"Absorbing... Besides the fact that I cannot resist a good mystery, Mette Ivie Harrison's books had an added allure... [They] are rich with real-life details that often get lost in stereotypes."
—Karen Grigsby Bates, NPR's All Things Considered
"For all of its thoughtful exploration of LGBT people and issues, His Right Hand is also a good mystery. Yet it's the issues the book raises that will make readers hungry for more of Linda and her close-knit community."
—Paula Woods, Los Angeles Times
"A heartfelt story that opens outsiders to a fascinating world."
—The Boston Globe
"You wouldn’t expect a book about the crime-solving wife of a staid Mormon leader to be so edgy and engrossing. It has all the outward signs of being a conventional “cozy” mystery that plays it safe. But Linda Wallheim, the bishop’s wife, is quite the independent thinker who is full of surprises—and Harrison delivers a provocative tale that doesn’t shy away from timely social issues."
—Ft. Worth Star-Telegram
"His Right Hand is a fascinating novel that explores the LDS world and how it reacts when a treasured member of the church is not what he appears to be. Watching Linda juggle her duties as a bishop's wife, adjust to life as an empty-nester and solve a murder keeps readers turning the pages of this riveting mystery penned by a member of the LDS church." —Bookreporter
"A mesmerising look into the very fibre of Mormon life... Harrison's writing is spectacularly subdued, quietly eloquent." —Fresh Fiction
"A masterpiece of socially relevant genre fiction. Her voice is one of the most unique in the genre, and I cannot wait to see what subject she will address next." —MysteryPeople Bookstore, Pick of the Month
"Often we forget to pay attention to the different cultures that are on our own doorstep. I find Harrison's Linda Wallheim books to be good mysteries with strong characters. That they are also meditative and enlightening is icing on the cake." —Kittling Books
"Outstanding... The suspect pool may be small, but Harrison once again dramatizes the agonizing plight of those who firmly believe church doctrine and yet by their nature have a fundamental conflict with it." —Publishers Weekly, Starred Review
"Harrison provides a fascinating look into the Mormon church from the point of view of a woman who sometimes struggles with its strict rules. Linda’s insider’s perspective is almost as engrossing as the mystery itself. Recommended for mystery lovers." —Library Journal
"A fast moving crime story, but also far more than that. Deep social and moral issues dealt with, and made real with compassion and honesty. I couldn't put it down!"
"Does a wonderful job of parting the curtain on many of the Mormon Church's mysteries." Kirkus Reviews
"Linda is an extremely likable and refreshingly imperfect series lead—an ideal guide to aspects of Mormon life that may be unknown to many readers. She’s also curious, smart, and impulsive—essential traits for any successful amateur sleuth! In her author’s note, Harrison explains that this book was inspired by the journey of a family friend who came out as transgender and transitioned while remaining in the Mormon faith."
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