04 Jun / The Prodigal Daughter [A Linda Wallheim Mystery, Book 5] by Mette Ivie Harrison [in Shelf Awareness]
Mettie Ivie Harrison is no stranger to highlighting the complicated intricacies of the Utah Mormon communities in which she lives. Her bestselling Linda Wallheim mystery series unmasked domestic abuse in The Bishop’s Wife; anti-LGBTQIA doctrines in His Right Hand; polygamous patriarchy in For Time and All Eternities; immigration injustice and race-based inequity in Not of This Fold. In the fifth of a plotted 11 volumes, The Prodigal Daughter, Linda returns to champion the silenced.
Linda remains very much the titular bishop’s wife, but her marriage is struggling – her five sons are grown, her feminism unwelcome, and she’s become “the villain in everything and Kurt [is] the poor, long-suffering hero who had to put up with a wayward, unrepentant wife.” When their eldest son calls for her assistance in locating his daughter’s beloved babysitter – 15-year-old Sabrina, whose parents seem strangely unconcerned about her disappearance – Linda won’t refuse. She quickly sleuths why Sabrina left home; locating her proves surprisingly easy. Keeping Sabrina safe will be a different challenge.
Throughout the series, “Mormonism [becomes] a dividing line.” Harrison, who has distanced herself from formal church affiliation but considers herself “‘Mormon’ in a broader, cultural sense of the term,” has followed a seemingly untraditional path: she finished her Princeton PhD at 23, she’s a former professor and Huffington Post blogger, and a nationally ranked triathlete. She imbues her tenacious protagonist with her independence, and her own conflicts with religious dogma give her fiction indelible nuance. Readers won’t find easy answers or even satisfying resolution here: that reality check continues to enhance her series with enduring authenticity.
Discover: The fifth installment of Mette Ivie Harrison’s perceptive Mormon mystery series continues to challenge religious dogma and doctrine with substantial authenticity.
Published: 2021 (United States)