A monastery is not a place where one would expect to witness a murder, but in Donna Fletcher Crow's mystery, A Very Private Grave, the death of a monk forces the main characters to analyze what motivates a person to kill. After the death of their friend, Brother Dominic, characters Antony and Felicity must decipher the contents of the monk's journal while escaping several murder attempts. Crow takes the reader on a dramatic and intellectual journey, revealing the mysteries of Saint Cuthbert and the internal struggles that consume the characters.
As the story progresses, the relationship between Antony and Felicity strengthens. They learn to trust one another and work as a team, though many obstacles threaten to make their partnership impossible. Their friendship solidifies when Antony anxiously tends to Felicity's physical and emotional needs when the tide is too high to rush her to the hospital for emergency medical attention.
Antony is a secular monk who is suspected of Brother Dominic's murder and must run from the police, accompanied by Felicity. Felicity is a student at Anglo-Catholic College of Transfiguration and, being close to Brother Dominic, volunteers herself to go on the journey around England with Antony to decipher the content of Dominic's journal. The adventure leads them to more risks than they could have imagined, but as their trust for each other grows, they find themselves closer to the secrets of Brother Dominic.
Being taught at a young age that he was a failure, Antony never expects much from himself. He is extremely intellectual, but bottles his emotions to avoid recalling past pains. Felicity is young and innocent to the terrors of the world and, therefore, finds it difficult to understand how someone could be evil enough to commit murder. Both characters choose to look past their fears and misgivings in order to forward themselves personally and for the benefit of solving the murder.
The novel was easy to read and the history of Saint Cuthbert was enlightening. However I did not feel that it had much of a biblical focus. The characters turn to themselves and each other for support, but rarely trust God to help them through their problems. I would recommend this book to women who enjoy dramas and contemporary mysteries. – Tara Gnagy, www.ChristianBookPreviews.com
Felicity Howard, a young American studying for the Anglican priesthood at the College of the Transfiguration in Yorkshire, is devastated when she finds her beloved Fr. Dominic bludgeoned to death and Fr. Antony, her church history lecturer, soaked in his blood. Following the cryptic clues contained in a poem the dead man had pressed upon her minutes before his death, she and Fr. Antony-who is wanted for questioning by the police-flee the monastery to seek more information about Fr. Dominic and end up in the holy island of Lindisfarne, former home of Saint Cuthbert. Their quest leads them into a dark puzzle . . . and considerable danger.