Monday, 28 May 2012
Death in a Difficult Position by Diana Killian
Publisher: Berkley Prime Crime
Series: Mantra for Murder Mystery #4
Type: Adult Cozy Mystery
When the charasmatic Reverend David Goode moves to Stillbrook he singles out Sacred Balance and Yoga Meridian as the root of evil. According to him, yoga is a heathen demonic practice. AJ isn't the only person whose livelihood is at risk - her ex-partner Lily is the new manager of Yoga Meridian. But when the Reverend ends up dead and Lily is arrested, AJ feels she has to prove Lily's innocence. But with the Reverend's distinctly unreligious habits and the appearance of the Jersey Devil, this case may be AJ's strangest yet.
This is the fourth book in the Mantra for Murder Mysteries (after Corpse Pose, Dial Om for Murder and Murder on the Eightfold Path) and I really enjoyed it. I struggled through the last installment as there was so much going on at once, but now AJ's life is more settled the book was a great read. The densly plotted storyline was packed with twists and turns and kept me glued to the page. The ending is well thought out and gives a surprisingly upbeat conclusion to the story.
The idea of covering the debate between religion and yoga was a fascinating idea, partly because I've seen arguments against yoga from various religious figureheads in the real world. AJ comes up against a Reverend who is convinced that yoga is the work of the devil and they have several interesting conversations where AJ tries to explain her perspective and he railroads her. The author manages to show that it is closemindedness that is the problem, rather than blaming religion itself.
I was a little concerned that I wouldn't really care about Lily being accused of murder as I didn't really like her in the previous books, but my attention was drawn into the case by AJ's mother Elysia. Now the star of her own mystery TV show Golden Gumshoes, Elysia turns up with her fellow castmembers and plunges straight into the case. Also the threat of Lily coming back to Sacred Balance had me rooting for AJ proving her innocence.
There were also some great supporting storylines, including AJ and Jake's increasingly serious romance and also Elysia's new relationship with her costar Dean. The latter is great because it brings the attraction between Elysia and town lawyer Mr Meagher to a head. Yoga also gets more page time with AJ's own practice and it's impact on grumpy teenager Mocha. However my favourite part of the book has to be the appearance of the Jersey Devil. I've loved folklore on this for years so to see it take a leading role in a book was brilliant.
At the end of the book there is the usual yoga and recipe section. This time it features a guide to three yoga poses (sideways bend, forward bend and cobra pose) alongside recipes for Baked Manicotti and Chocolate Clementine Cake which were both mouthwateringly described in the book.
All in all this was a great read from a fun series.