The Reverend Callie Anson should have learned her lesson by now: revisiting the past is seldom a good idea. But she succumbs to peer pressure and attends a reunion at her theological college in Cambridge, where she is forced to confront painful memories – and the presence of her clueless ex, Adam.
Margaret Phillips, the Principal of the college, has a chance for happiness but before she can grasp it she has to deal with her own ghosts – as well as corrosive, intrusive gossip. Both Margaret and Callie learn something about themselves, and about forgiveness, from wise retired priest John Kingsley.
Meanwhile, in London, police officers Neville Stewart and Mark Lombardi are involved with the latest stabbing of a teenager. Was the victim – gifted, popular schoolboy Sebastian Frost – all he seemed to be, or was there something in his life that led inevitably to his death? The police find themselves plunged into the queasy world of cyber-bullying, where nothing may be as it seems.
While they're apart, Callie and Mark's relationship is on hold, and his Italian family continues to be an issue. Will Mark realize, before it's too late, that while his family will always be important to him, he is entitled to something for himself?
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Kate Charles, a past Chairman of the Crime Writers’ Association and the Barbara Pym Society, is American by birth but has lived in England for almost thirty years. She is co-organizer of the annual St. Hilda’s Crime and Mystery Conference and a member of the prestigious Detection Club. Best known for her Church of England-based Book of Psalms mysteries, Kate has also published three stand-alone suspense novels, and is now writing a series set in the 21st century Church, featuring newly-ordained curate Callie Anson. False Tongues is the fourth in the series.
In Charles’s accomplished fourth Callie Anson mystery (after 2009’s Deep Waters), the Anglican curate faces a former lover and old friends at a religious retreat in Cambridge, as well as the less-than-enthusiastic family of her new fiancé, Mark Lombardi. A police-family liaison officer, Mark gets involved in investigating the knifing murder of teenager Sebastian Frost in London’s Paddington Green. Though Sebastian apparently had it all―popularity, brains, good looks, athletic ability―Det. Insp. Neville Stewart soon uncovers a darker side to his life in his relationships to schoolmates and technology. The interesting narrative approach of alternating Cambridge and London sections provides texture and commentary on family situations from various points of view. Some readers may be disappointed not to find a more direct connection between the case and Callie, but the toll of cyberbullying and the pressure to conform to social expectations is intelligently and poignantly rendered. (Publishers Weekly)
"Revisiting the past was a bad idea. Callie Anson knew that..." With an opening like this we know already that Callie will indeed revisit her past, and that we are ready to go along for the ride. It is an opening that does not disappoint....Callie is just one week back at her old theological college at Cambridge. How much can happen in a week filled with sessions designed to help the newly turned-out ministers, like Callie, navigate the rough waters of the real world? As it turns out, a great deal....At times it's almost as if this novel is two different books combined into one―yet by the end, author Kate Charles ties up everything in both storylines. While Callie visits her old school, her somewhat ambivalent fiancé Detective Marco Lombardi, remains in London investigating the murder of fifteen-year-old Sebastian Frost. The two major storylines are so distinct that it was hard for me to define the connections that pulled them into a cohesive whole, since the only thing tying them to each other is the relationship between Marco and Callie. Without giving anything away, I will say that it is through a brief conversation with Callie that Marco is able to uncover a key piece of evidence in his murder case....Major themes of the story are cyber bullying, the complications modern families face on a daily basis, and the wide range of issues facing twenty-first century couples. Charles hits on other themes too, including alienation, misunderstandings, teen angst, the effects of bullying, an inability to make commitments, and the exacting results of malicious gossip....One of the greatest strengths of False Tongues is the development of the many disparate characters, while a major weakness is the sheer size of that cast of characters. In the first twenty pages, we meet no fewer than nine characters, plus the murder victim and an emotional Italian family of six. Twenty more pages give us eight additional characters. At some point I began to wonder: "Which of these people will be hanging around to play major roles, and which will quietly fade away? Surely all of them can't remain..." Surprisingly, most of them do....And what a cast of characters! From London to Cambridge, Callie and Marco find themselves dealing with old friends and lovers―and a brand new murder. False Tongues is the fourth book in Kate Charles's Callie Anson Mystery Series. It was only after I finished the book that I realized that Callie, the main character, never deals directly with the murder case. She spends the week at that reunion of old classmates in Cambridge, where a few mysteries do rear their heads, but it is Marco who must help solve the murder of nerdy teenager Sebastian back in London....The size of the cast nearly did me in as a reader. I wanted to keep reading this book, because the characters were interesting, the stories were engaging, and the writing was excellent. But it was almost too much work to keep everybody straight. I'm glad I persevered. False Tongues is a worthwhile read, both for fans of mysteries and of stories of interpersonal relationships. It was fun to watch Callie loosen up a bit as her week at Cambridge progressed. She probably grew up more in that week than in the previous year. (Story Circle Book Reviews)
Easter Monday should be a quiet day for clergy and lay alike. But when the missing-persons report called in by doctors Miranda and Richard Frost matches up with the body of a 15-year-old boy found stabbed in Paddington Green, DI Neville Stewart doesn’t get the Bank Holiday. He pulls in Family Liaison Officer Mark Lombardi to work with the family and to fend off a bulldog reporter, Lilith Noone, who is seeking to break open a big story. The investigators, both police and press, are put off the trail by the reluctance of the victim’s privileged friends to tell the whole truth. Meanwhile, Callie Anson, curate in the Paddington parish and Lombardi’s fiancée, is attending a retreat and reunion in Cambridge of her class of deacons. There, rumors and gossip obscure the truth about the real relationships among both faculty and the reuning deacons. As in others in this series, Callie is not actively involved in the case, but she does unwittingly provide Lombardi with the key to its solution during a telephone conversation. The story works as both a well-crafted mystery and a novel of human relationships. (Booklist)
A nice mystery with a important message for today of cyber bullying and its effects on our youth. Two very independent women that were former classmates meet at their theology school reunion and the mystery takes off from there. I found the book has a good flow, the two stories interact well and it is very enjoyable to read. Well Done. I highly recommend False Tongues as a very enjoyable read. Thank you for the advance reading copy. (NetGalley)
More than one mystery intersect in another adventure from Kate Charles. She's an experienced expat author living in England exploring the mysteries of faith, love, family and violence in her books. In this fourth Callie Anson novel, it is her circle of acquaintances who are involved in a variety of actions and decisions, old and new, that drive the story and its sometimes complicated relationships....Callie travels from London to Cambridge to attend a reunion of her classmates, graduates from theological seminary. She will have to confront both the scenes and at least one man with whom she was deeply emotionally involved during her time there: a man who unceremoniously dumped her in a shameful and hurtful way. Around her are arrayed classmates and older theologians who help Callie's travel to emotional understanding. Meanwhile, the new love of her life, a London policeman who functions as a Family Liaison officer, becomes involved in the murder of a young man in Paddington Square. As intriguing as the convoluted relationships among the religious that are examined in this story are, the murder of a school boy with only a single tenuous link to the other plot, leads to examinations of working and absent parents, stresses in modern society and pressures of various kinds on law enforcement. Together, the development of these separate plot lines present a realistic picture of modern life....These ideas and more are nicely embodied in the characters brought to the page by the author. The messages are many, perhaps too many, but the author's delicate touch leaves them to the reader to accept or pass over. None is presented in such a way that one feels manipulated or into forced acceptance....Charles nicely places the action in several consummately English locations. No generics here. She's been called a most English of writers and compared favorably to Agatha Christie in these aspects. All in all an excellent, calm and deliberate story that can leave a reader with considerable food for thought. (Carlbrookins.com)
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