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. Go here or here.
The Mormon church may have disavowed the polygamy it became so famous for in the 19th century, but for some Fundamentalist Latter-Day Saints, "plural marriage" isn't just ancient history.
Mormon bishop's wife Linda Wallheim is stunned to learn her son Kenneth has gotten engaged to a young woman from a polygamous family. Naomi Carter may have left the religion she grew up in, but the Carters will still be the Wallheims' in-laws once Kenneth and Naomi are married.
Stephen Carter, Naomi's father and the patriarch of the Carter clan, invites the Wallheims over to the Carter family compound in the remote foothills of the mountains outside Salt Lake City. Stephen Carter wishes to extend an olive branch to his future in-laws, and introduce them to his five wives and twenty-two children. But Linda suspects he also wants to try to persuade the Wallheims that his way of life is truly righteous.
From Linda's point of view, polygamy is an abhorrent practice, one that dehumanizes women and makes children vulnerable to unhealthy family structures. She and her husband, Kurt, arrive at the Carter compound braced for trouble—Linda has her eyes peeled for signs that Stephen's wives and children are unhappy or abused. Although she can't find concrete evidence of mistreatment, Linda's gut instinct tells her that something on the Carter family compound is deeply wrong. She can't quite put her finger on what—until it's too late, and one of the family members is found murdered.
Afraid that Stephen Carter's unworldly, sequestered wives and children might suffer at the hands of investigating police, Linda vows to stay at the compound until the murderer is found and the survivors are safe. But even if she manages to do more good than harm with her snooping and interfering, Linda can't unsee what she has seen during her time at the Carters'—now, confronting the legacy of polygamy in her own Mormon family raises even more questions about her already shaky faith.
What critics have said about For Time and All Eternities
"An intriguing murder mystery, as alluring and confounding as the inscrutable history of polygamy itself—told with refreshing honesty and a ton of heart."
Jamie Ford, New York Times bestselling author of Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet
"Harrison’s mystery also offers a fascinating insider’s look at a faith that is strange and mysterious to outsiders. Linda’s struggle to accept church doctrines is an issue to which many readers can relate. Highly recommended."
Utah writer Mette Ivie Harrison is one of the most exciting new mystery writers around. . . The author presents a world unknown to most outside Utah, a world where Linda, a Bishop's wife, must navigate the rigid Mormon world of temple services, women's clubs and strict gender roles and views on homosexuality and feminism. The third book in the series finds Linda drawn into a murder on a polygamist compound most definitely not approved of by the Church of Latter Day Saints. But the crime hits close to home, and despite husband Kurt's disapproval Linda feels compelled to investigate to try to solve both the crime, and help the women she feels may be abused on the grounds. It all makes for a compelling, moral and quite entertaining mystery.
We don’t see Linda actively involved in her congregation, but we gain an essence of her nurturing personality and how, even when faced with women who have chosen to perpetuate a confining lifestyle, she withholds judgment and helps where she can. Linda’s internal religious debates reminded me of The Ladies Auxiliary by Tova Mirvis, in which we get see into the mind of a faithful woman who may question some religious principles, but still believes in the divine nature of God. For Time and All Eternities is a compelling read—one that will have readers considering if their love for family is stronger than their preconceived expectations for each other. Readers will become wrapped in the Wallheim family’s idiosyncrasies, which will leave them looking forward to the next book in the series. Dialogue
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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