*** DEBUG END ***

The Sermon That Led to Murder, by Malcolm Lorimer

09 April 2020

Fiona Hook reads a tale of burdened consciences

THE Revd Charles Jowett’s wife finds him dead in a deckchair in the garden, blood trickling from under his straw hat. The previous week, after the wind of the Spirit had prompted him to preach a barnstorming sermon on how confession was good for the soul, the minister had had four guilty, worried visitors, each of them with a story that, if told, would wreck their position in the village.

A few of us have felt at times that we could cheerfully murder someone. Very occasionally it might be the vicar. Charles’s much younger wife, Heather, and his curate, Rory, work out that he must have been killed, and that one of these four was responsible. This sweet, slightly dark little tale ends with their unmasking the murderer, and also examines how the threatened loss of status affects different personalities.

Rory and Heather marry, and on their honeymoon cruise in Norway, a chance encounter with a fellow passenger entangles them in a story with its roots in the Second World War and dangerous repercussions in the present. When their new friend is murdered, their own lives are threatened, and they find themselves unwillingly caught up in a high-level police operation. Malcolm Lorimer, a Methodist minister, maintains a cracking pace, and also manages to suggest, without vulgarity, the human warmth of the couple’s relationship.

To the book lover, self-publishing is a very welcome phenomenon, enabling good stories such as these to see the light of day. But this one needed a really good edit, as the punctuation and random use of speech marks put a slight barrier between the reader and the narrative. This is sad, because Lorimer understands people, and in Heather, elegantly dressed, lively, linguist, and self-defence expert, he has created a heroine that we would like to see more of. She could even bring her husband.


Fiona Hook is a writer and EFL teacher.


The Sermon That Led to Murder
Malcolm Lorimer
Max Books £7.95*

*available from www.max-books.co.uk

Browse Church and Charity jobs on the Church Times jobsite

Church Times Bookshop

Save money on books reviewed or featured in the Church Times. To get your reader discount:

> Click on the “Church Times Bookshop” link at the end of the review.

> Call 0845 017 6965 (Mon-Fri, 9.30am-5pm).

The reader discount is valid for two months after the review publication date. E&OE

Forthcoming Events

Green Church Awards

Closing date: 30 June 2024

Read more details about the awards


Festival of Preaching

15-17 September 2024

The festival moves to Cambridge along with a sparkling selection of expert speakers

tickets available



Festival of Faith and Literature

28 February - 2 March 2025

The festival programme is soon to be announced sign up to our newsletter to stay informed about all festival news.

Festival website


ViSIt our Events page for upcoming and past events 

The Church Times Archive

Read reports from issues stretching back to 1863, search for your parish or see if any of the clergy you know get a mention.

FREE for Church Times subscribers.

Explore the archive

Welcome to the Church Times


To explore the Church Times website fully, please sign in or subscribe.

Non-subscribers can read four articles for free each month. (You will need to register.)