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Saturday, October 13, 2012

Book Review and Giveaway: Everybody Loved Roger Harden by Cecil Murphey

This is a nice blend of genres: cozy mystery and Christian fiction.

Everybody Loved Roger Harden (Everybody's Suspect in Georgia)
by Cecil Murphey

  • Hardcover: 317 pages
  • Publisher: Thorndike Pr; Lrg edition (December 9, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1410422232
  • ISBN-13: 978-1410422231
Genre: Cozy Mystery, Christian Fiction
My Rating: 4.0 of 5.0

Book Description
Publication Date: October 10, 2011
Psychologist Julie West and Reverend James Burton arrive late for dinner on Palm Island - but just in time to discover their host, millionaire Roger Harden, murdered. Ten possible suspects share closed quarters on the secluded island, all of them with deep secrets and sufficient motive to have wanted the wealthy benefactor dead. Can Julie and Burton ignore the mysterious attraction developing between them long enough to discover who among them didn't love Roger Harden enough to let him live?

Remember the classic Agathie Christie mysteries, Ten Little Indians, 13 Came to Dinner or the game/movie Clue?  Here is a book fashioned on the same premise but with some inspirational surprises added in.

Psychologist Julie West and Reverend James Burton (called Burton) arrive together for dinner at the exclusive Palm Island estate of millionaire Roger Harden.  There are ten guests properly seated all having been summoned, rather than invited, to the dinner. The problem is, the 8 pm bong sounds and Roger fails to appear.

When the cook/maid, Elaine, is sent to retrieve Roger from his study she finds him lying under his desk, dead.  Julie and Burton know they aren’t the killer. That leaves eight guests and two staff as suspects. They begin to interview the suspects to uncover motives and opportunity so they can pin point the killer.  Although everyone initially claims to have loved Roger it doesn’t take long for accusations across the table to reveal that everyone had reason to hate him. He was an obsessively controlling husband, an indifferent or demanding step-father and a controlling employer. No one was really a friend as it turns out that Roger knew a secret about each of them and used that he used as blackmail.

As the investigation proceeds another person is killed and one is shot at.  It isn’t until midway through the book that facts begin to reveal that Roger had been changing in his attitude over the past several weeks. Once revealed the source and consequences of Roger’s change mean that the murderer may have committed a crime that wasn’t necessary.

This was a fast and easy read.  The characters are well developed and there is a great contrast between Julie and Burton. Julie has a condemning and narrow focus not only towards he suspects but towards herself too.  Burton is gentle and non-judgmental allowing him to get the suspects to tell him their grievances with the deceased.

Our ladies book club members agreed this was an easy read although several felt it started slowly.  It was noted that all of the guests seemed rather nonchalant in spite of murders and attacks occurring around them. We all agreed that Simon, the ‘butler’, man-Friday, was a great secondary character.  He is a man that is more likely to shrug his shoulders than speak and when he does speak, it is few words, like “Wait no longer.”

I really enjoyed several of the inspirational elements that Mr. Murphey smoothly wove into the friendship developing between Julie and Burton. This is a fun read and just what it purports to be: a Christian Cozy Mystery.
Burton to Julie:
You keep bringing in judgmental words–like bad or wrong.  I’d prefer to say it this way: You and I live in different worlds.  Location 896.
I understand why a lot of people have turned away from church. I just wish they wouldn’t turn away from God, as well.....
That’s the direction I like to point people–from imperfect people to a perfect God.  Location 1972-74.
God may be your best option and not just your last one. Location 1986.
I have the three volume set (Everybody's Suspect in Georgia) but I picked up this paperback recently and now I offer it as a Giveaway.
This is set in Georgia. I will also add it to my New Author reading List.


For 3 Extra Bonus entries Visit  the author's website or The Man Behind the Words and tell me something you find of interest.

* This contest is open Worldwide **providing shipping is under $7.00.
* This contest will close 10 PM (Central) on October 19, 2012.
The winner will be randomly selected from all entries.
WINNERS WILL BE ANNOUNCED on October 20, 2012.
Winners will have 72 hours to respond by email or the winners form linked in the announcement.


  1. I read Agatha Christie's Ten Little Indians and much later saw the movie of it and really enjoyed both. I would like to find out what this author's take on it is.


  2. I missed the part about going to the author's website. So now commenting on that. I was surprised at the variety of writing activities this author had done. He has written several books about male sexual abuse and has done a lot of ghost writing.


  3. He has written and co-written over 119 books. And, before becoming a full-time writer he was a pastor, hospital chaplain and he was a missionary in Kenya for 6 years.

    lkish77123 at gmail dot com

  4. I like the facts the author likes to hug people.

  5. Agatha Christie's book AND THEN THERE WERE NONE is one of my favorites of hers. I'm looking forward to reading "Everybody Loved Roger Harden".

    Cecil Murphy likes to hug people. I fact he says : "I Want TO HUG PEOPLE WITH My Words." Got to love that.


  6. I find it interesting he was a missionary in Kenya for six years.


Your comments are always appreciated!


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