Mandy Baker Johnson

Living without Shadows

Month: November 2011

Here Comes The Ride

It’s not ‘here comes the bride’ but Here Comes The Ride, another great Andi McConnell mystery by Lorena McCourtney.  Andi becomes concerned for the strangely vulnerable Pam when Pam’s obsessive and overbearing stepmother Michelle books Andi’s limousine as Pam’s wedding car.  Pam is afraid is being murdered at her own wedding by Michelle, because she suspects that Michelle is responsible for her father’s death.  So when things begin to happen on the big day, it’s a huge shock to Andi and Pam when it’s the glamorous Michelle who ends up with a knife in her back (literally).  Pam is the obvious suspect for the murder and it’s not long before she’s arrested.  But Andi is certain that Pam isn’t the culprit, so it’s up to her and her faithful partner in sleuthing, Fitz, to figure out who dunnit.  Which one of the wedding guests had the motive, means and opportunity?  Especially after an ex-boyfriend of Pam’s makes an appearance, and another body turns up in the hot tub.

Who are the good guys and who are the bad guys?  Is everyone what they appear to be?  Is Pam as vulnerably innocent as she seems? Who is the mysterious woman who keeps asking about renting the other half of Andi’s duplex?

This book has plenty of twists and turns and will keep you guessing right to the end.  Throughout stalks the adorable, furry, purry Phreddie, who coughs up fur balls at dramatic and inappropriate moments, and enjoys lazing on $24,000 wedding gowns.

Andi McConnell is a fascinating character.  In this book, she is growing in her relationship with God, whom she is coming to rely on in all sorts of incidents that crop up…. Like being strangled with her own handbag strap and learning to skateboard (at the age of sixty!).

This is another excellent murder mystery with plenty of comedic moments and witty descriptions from Lorena McCourtney.  If you haven’t made Andi’s acquaintance yet, I heartily recommend that you get hold of this book.  She is a character not to be missed!  I am grateful to Lorena for her generous gift to me of this Kindle book.

Your Chariot Awaits

Author Lorena McCourtney was kind enough to send me a couple of books in her Andi McConnell mystery series recently.  In Your Chariot Awaits, we are introduced to this sassy sixty-year-old.  The day Andi is made redundant from work and inherits a limouzeen from an eccentric old uncle with dodgy spelling, her boyfriend Jerry dumps her.  Infuriated by Jerry and frustrated beyond measure, Andi grabs the nearest gardening implement to hand and chases him to his car.  It’s only after she wallops the car and dints it that she realises she’s grabbed a shovel, rather than the ‘harmless’ broom she thought she’d grabbed.  As Jerry hurriedly drives away, Andi is embarrassed that most of her neighbours have witnessed her losing it, including the obsessively nosey Tom Bolton who seems to have binoculars permanently attached to his face.

The next morning, Jerry’s body is found in the boot of the limousine and Andi finds herself the number one suspect in his murder enquiry.

Something has to be done and fast.  So Andi hooks up with ex-television detective Fitz and together they set out on an exciting sleuthing adventure in an attempt to find the real murderer.

Your Chariot Awaits contains lots of twists and turns with plenty of humorous incidents and memorable characters from the neighbour’s dog Moose who has a craze for digging up Andi’s precious daisies to young Joella who unexpectedly gives birth in the back of the limo.

For anyone who enjoys ‘who dunnits’ this Christian murder mystery is a must read.  I can heartily recommend this page-turning, well-paced story, and am looking forward to getting stuck into the next Andi McConnell book.

What Do I Have In Common With Bezalel?

In my morning Quiet Times with the Lord this week I’ve been reading the end of Exodus.  In chapter 31 God announced to Moses that He had chosen a man called Bezalel to do something for Him.  I don’t think Bezalel is mentioned before this, but then God chose him and things began to happen. 

First of all, God filled Bezalel with His Spirit.  Not only that, but God gave him great wisdom, ability and expertise in all kinds of crafts, making him an expert in working with precious materials such as gold, silver and precious jewels.

God then shared what it was He wanted Bezalel to do.  He gave very specific plans for a large, beautiful, rich, marquee-like tent where, when it was completed, God Himself would meet with His people.  The next chapters are full of God’s intricate designs for the tent.  No detail was too small to be overlooked.

And when God finished sharing His design plans, we read that Bezalel (along with another man called Oholiab whom God had also gifted) got on with the job.  From paragraph to paragraph we see him busily working on the external material of the tent, the structure, and the breath-takingly beautiful internal decor and furnishings.  What a mammoth task.  As well as being supernaturally arty, Bezalel must have been incredibly organised.

But the hard work was worth it.  When it was all finished, God came down in such glory that no one was able to access the tent.  Whenever Moses or Bezalel or the people looked at the tent, they could see the bright cloud of God’s glory over it.  And everyone knew that God – their God – was encamped among them.

It made me think that when God calls us to do a specific task for Him, He always gives us the ability to perform it.  I wonder what God has called you to do?  It may seem huge and impossible to achieve (my God-given dream is to be a published author), but if God has called us to do it, then we can take heart that He will ensure we have all we need to accomplish the job.  When Bezalel was given the precise, intricate plans for this tent, he could have just said to Moses, ‘This is a massive job.  I don’t think I can do it.  What about the expense?  What if I’m not good enough?  It’s going to take a lot of skill, you know Moses.  Not to mention it’ll be hard work.’  But he didn’t, he got on with it.  And finished it.  And then all the people saw God’s glory.

So what will you and I do with what God has called us to do?  Will we be like Bezalel and get on with it, to the glory of God?

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