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His Right Hand (A Linda Wallheim Mystery) by…
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His Right Hand (A Linda Wallheim Mystery)

by Mette Ivie Harrison

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I was impressed with Harrison’s first book, and enjoyed the second even more. For most of us non-Mormons, Linda Wallheim doesn’t fit the cookie-cutter image we have of a Morman wife, particularly a ward bishop’s wife. She’s no second fiddle to her husband rather she’s a force to be reckoned with, a woman with her own strengths. This is really evident in this book when she tackles the mystery surrounding the death of a transsexual, born a woman but living as a respected husband in the ward. Yes, I had some difficulty swallowing the fact that a wife would not know she was married to a former woman, but Harrison does a good job explaining how this could be possible. Along with solving the mystery, finding out she has a gay son, and disclosing she was married and divorced in her distant past, Wallheim goes a long way in demonstrating how independent some LDS women have become while remaining true to their faith. ( )
  brangwinn | Jul 30, 2016 |
One of the most interesting parts of this book is the setting of the Mormon community in Utah. I know very little about this religion and found this fascinating. Linda Wallheim, the wife of the local ward's bishop is an excellent character working with her own conscience to find out how one of her husband's right hand men is found murdered on church property. This is the second book in this seried. My next project is to get a copy of the first book, The Bishop's Wife! ( )
  Dianekeenoy | Jan 16, 2016 |
Interesting!

A Mormon enclave in Draper, Utah is the setting for murder unexpected. A crime committed that uncovers a shocking truth and that throws the Mormon hierarchy into disarray. Carl Ashby, a respected member, has been killed and during the investigation, it is revealed that he had transgendered from female. Linda Wallheim, wife of the ward's bishop is determined to help uncover the truth of the murder as suspicion casts a festering pall over the community.
In the course of looking into the murder, the main character Linda, gives the reader a fascinating insight into Mormon mores. Many of which are dissected in terms of individual responsibility, interpretation and grace. Referenced is the churches adherence to strict lines of communication, order and within that a person's place according to gender and hierarchy. And here shockingly, a crime has exposed that those gender lines having been crossed. Many questions arise. How then should the church leaders respond ? How did Carl maintain his secret? How much should be revealed to the family and to the community? A problematic area in terms of the crime is that this is a closed community, used to being self supporting with no need of outsiders, or outsider interference. This might be ok in terms of relief work and general community support but murder is a legal matter and as such falls to a different authority. So we are left with the picture that hindrance rather than help is given to the police in the course of the investigation. Those actions might mean the murderer is unwittingly hidden due to the protective intentions of the leadership. The hints of blockage by the church authority and President Frost's involvement with the police is puzzling to the reader and to Linda. The discussions via Linda about the LDS stance on transgender and gays is fascinating, as are other aspects of the Church's practices and history. The response by President Frost proclaiming that all ordinances would have to be nullified and redone is troubling for the leaders because of some quite far reaching ramifications. These insights drew me on--as some of the practices of Mormonism are revealed. Because of the carefully built background it was some time before the actual murder took hold of the writing. When I compare the plot construction with that of one of my favourite mystery writers and coincidentally, a LDS member, Anne Perry, I feel that the buildup of tension in His Right Hand is sporadic, and although I understand that explanations about the faith are important to some of the happenings, their complexity acted against the plot. Fortunately all came together rather dramatically in the last couple of chapters.
Linda is a strong and likeable character, who seems to push the boundaries, and yet struggles to work within the confines of her community, at the same time accepting that those limitations are part and parcel of where she has chosen to stay.

A NetGalley ARC ( )
  eyes.2c | Dec 3, 2015 |
With the Mormon Church's recent hardline decision on the LGBT community within its ranks, His Right Hand couldn't possibly be more timely. In this second book to feature Linda Wallheim, there are many secrets to be uncovered, and some of these secrets belong to Linda and her own family. The more about Carl Ashby that's uncovered, the clearer the killer's identity becomes, but proving it is tough because Church officials have closed ranks against the police. This is a maneuver that has been perfected over almost two centuries because of the intense persecution Mormons faced in the nineteenth century.

Linda seems more sure of herself in this second book in the series. She still questions her place in life now that her last child is off to university and out of the house, but she's calmer, and it's got a lot to do with the friendship she's formed with a neighbor. It was fascinating for me to watch Linda investigate this extremely volatile case, especially with regard to her uneasy relationship with the homicide detective in charge.

One of the strengths of this book (and the series) is the portrait of Mormonism that Mette Ivie Harrison paints for us. It is a heartfelt portrait by an artist who has done much soul-searching. It is a balanced portrait that is as honest as the artist can make it, showing both the good and the bad in this religion that most people know nothing about.

Many readers like me enjoy reading mysteries set in other countries in order to learn about different cultures. 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. ( )
  cathyskye | Nov 29, 2015 |
I found this second mystery by Mette Ivie Harrison almost as enthralling as the first, in spite of the fact that I guessed the solution before the end. What sets this series apart is its setting in a modern mainstream Mormon community, a group I don’t know a lot about, and the open, intimate tone of the story. This time the characters are struggling with ripped from the headlines issues of sexual identity and acceptance of difference.

Main character Linda Wallheim, the wife of a bishop, is a devout believer but has some troubling questions about her church’s policies and power structure. Her marriage is generally good, but not without challenges, and she’s at loose ends because her youngest son has all but moved out of the house. When her husband’s rigidly traditional colleague is murdered Linda becomes deeply involved in helping the victim’s distraught, almost unhinged widow and two teenage children. This puts her in a position to notice disturbing patterns which could help solve the crime, drawing Linda further into dangerous circumstances, but church higher-ups insist that some aspects of the situation be kept from the public, hampering the police investigation.

The author is a Mormon herself and I greatly enjoyed having a glimpse into that community. It’s a moving, family-focused story and the non-murder themes have some basis in reality--Harrison explains in the afterword that the idea for the book came from an incident she witnessed firsthand. ( )
  Jaylia3 | Nov 28, 2015 |
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"Linda Wallheim finds herself once again ruffling feathers in Draper, Utah, as she assists a murder investigation that is being derailed by transphobia within the LDS community"--Publisher marketing.

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