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When Polly takes an important village funeral but finds a body already occupying the grav, she wonders whether it is time to move...
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This gripping murder mystery with the background of the Church of England in samll country villages, and continuing to follow the exploits of the Reverend Polly Hewitt, is sure to enthrall you from page one.
When the Reverend Polly Hewitt starts her first post as rector of four rural parishes near Norwich, she discovers life is not as blissfully serence as she had imagined.
A series of unpleasant incidents targeting Polly show that someone hates her. But who is it, and why such anger against Polly?
The man drove slowly down Anglesham Road, to the point where the footpath abutting the road snakes away to the east. For the final few hundred metres he switched off the engine and cut the lights. Drawing away from the road he parked carefully behind the old oak tree, thick now with summer foliage and generous with its shelter for all-comers, prey and predator alike.
Good. The place was deserted; no lovers entwined in each other's arms oblivious of the rest of the world until startled by some unexpected event, no late night dog walkers taking advantage of the sultry weather. At two in the morning the population of Anglesham (one thousand, one hundred and ten at the last census) was safely asleep.
Cautiously, the man slid from the driver's seat and approached the rear of the car. Carefully he raised the lid of the boot, pausing after every click—sounding to him as loud as gunshots on the still night air—until he was certain he was alone. Struggling more than he had anticipated to lift his burden from the boot, he wondered fleetingly whether he had been entirely wise to opt for the footpath for the last quarter of a mile.
Hefting her body over his shoulder in a fireman's lift, again he reached into the boot, this time for a shovel, but it was difficult to manage with the weight across his back. For a moment he froze in terror as the shovel clanged against the metal side of the vehicle, but nothing stirred. Still, not wanting to risk more sound than was necessary, he left the boot open as he started on his trek.
The burden which had seemed light when he formulated his plan, grew heavier with every step he took, until, when his destination finally hove in sight, he was ready to drop from fatigue. As he placed the rolled carpet gently on the ground to assess the situation, both legs were trembling from the effort of the walk, but there was no time for rest. In another hour or so the first golden streaks of dawn would begin to lighten the night sky and by then he had to be home in bed, asleep.
He stared down into the hole, shining his torch into its blackness but unable to penetrate to the bottom. The hole was twice as deep as he had imagined. Worry creased the man's forehead. He had not thought to bring a ladder. If he clambered down into those depths, how would he climb out again? Time to put plan B into action, although to be honest, he hadn't thought of a plan B. Plan A had seemed foolproof back in the comfort of his own home.
The sheer impossibility of walking all the way back to his car carrying such a weight left the man with no options. With a murmured prayer he opened the carpet, rolling his burden into the hole, trying not to retch at the thud as it hit the bottom. Then, firmly pushing all regrets from his mind, he set to work with the shovel, throwing soil from the heap into the bottom of the hole. He worked solidly for half an hour, by which time he was sweating profusely but estimated that the bottom of the hole would be covered, concealing its recent contents. The torch was virtually useless, but when he was relatively satisfied that the hole had a new, false bottom effectively hiding its addition, he turned his attention to the remaining heap of soil, digging, pushing, and patting with the shovel until there was no trace of his inroads. It was, he thought irrelevantly, like making sand castles on Great Yarmouth beach when he was a small boy.
His task completed, he murmured a second prayer, said a quiet and reverent farewell, lifted the shovel across his shoulder and returned to the car without incident.
Within the hour he was home in bed, but experiencing less relief than he had expected. Since sleep eluded him, he fetched a bottle of whiskey and began to plan for next day. The first job would be to take the used carpet to the tip early in the morning, before too many people were about. After that he must thoroughly clean the car inside and out, washing the obscuring mud from the number plates and concentrating particularly on the inside of the boot. Then he would need to defrost and purify the freezer, before it could be used again to store food.
His plans made, the bottle emptied, and his eyelids beginning to droop, the man fell asleep, just as the first fat raindrops began to fall.
Norfolk Christian author writes murder mystery
A Norfolk Christian author has recently published her latest novel, a murder mystery set in rural Norfolk centring on a rector who has taken over some country parishes where the people aren’t quite so welcoming as she had hoped.
by Helen Baldry
Vengeance Lies in Wait by Janice B Scott was published in September this year and is the latest in a series focusing on the fictional character Revd Polly Hewitt.
When the Revd Polly Hewitt is appointed as rector of four small, country parishes near Norwich in Norfolk, life is not quite as blissfully serene as she had expected.
She soon discovers that someone is out to frighten her away, but who hates her so much, and why?
After a series of unpleasant incidents targeting her, when she takes a village funeral, Polly is horrified to discover an unknown body already occupying the grave.
Disturbing and macabre incidents give an edge to the otherwise comfortable and rather mundane life portrayed of the Church of England. Not familiar with Church of England jargon, I didn’t really find it a barrier to understanding the setting, if anything it made the story realistic with the frustrations of church life laid bare and the clash of different personalities.
I couldn’t decide if I liked the character of Revd Polly Hewitt – I found her at times naive and uppity and in other instances feisty and headstrong. There is a vein of humour in the book, with the invention of characters such as church reader Cheryl with her racy clothes and colourful language. And there’s Oswald Waters, a pernickety minister who is a stickler for tradition and a pillar of the community, yet his own personal turmoil is simmering just beneath the surface.
An issue that was clearly portrayed was the struggle for some members of quiet Norfolk village of Anglesham to accept the arrival of a young female priest – this made me wonder if it was drawn from the author’s own experience of opposition to female clergy.
Janice Scott was ordained as a priest in the Church of England with the first batch of women priests in 1994. Like her protagonist, she worked as rector of six village churches in South Norfolk.
I haven’t read any book like this one; there are familiar sounding place names and even mention of Christian organisations (The Matthew Project) which added a new dimension for a reader from Norfolk.
As to whodunit... clues were dropped throughout the book, sometimes very obvious that I felt sure I was a step ahead and yet I didn’t work it out until all was revealed at the end.
As to looking forward to another book in the series – based in a small Norfolk community with family feuds two-a-penny, church rivalry and gossiping parishioners ...surely there must be more dark secrets for Polly to uncover!
Janice B Scott’s other books in the series are Heaven Spent and Babes and Sucklings. She is now working on her fourth novel in the same series.
Reviews for "Vengeance Lies In Wait"
|Reviewed by J Howard
|Congratulations on your new book. this excerpt was suspenseful and full of intrigue-a real wow to read. good luck-|
|Reviewed by baz busbe
|Congratulations on your new book Janice sounds great. God bless. Baz|
|Reviewed by Michael LeFevre
|The story has my attention so far. Don't tell me, but I am wondering in my mind if the man who buried the body is actually the murderer.
On another note, have you seen my recent short story "I Have Proof?"
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