The Parchman Preacher by Michael Thompson is the story of a sleepy little town in Mississippi where people know more than they let on, courtesy of an old-fashioned party line phone system. From the very beginning Calvary Church is looking for a new preacher, since Father Baddour dropped dead in a diner at the suspicious age of 32. His death was ruled a heart attack, and while very unusual, most of the town
was occupied with covering his role as best they could in the little church. They hoped to find a married preacher with a family, as they felt he would be more in tune with the family atmosphere of Solo, but when a single priest, complete with cleric collar, appeared at Martha’s rooming house one night, they were ready to welcome him.
A sleepy town does not stay that way for long since everyone knows everyone’s business. And there was plenty going on in Solo. The rooming house owner was brilliant as the newspaper editor, as she was in a perfect position to know a lot about the townspeople. There was a simpleminded postmaster with hidden tendencies. A married woman made a startling confession in Bible study one day. And especially,
unexplained observations and rumors about the new preacher.
Michael Thompson’s The Parchman Preacher was a joy to read. It kept me in suspense as I tried to figure out who was behind the events in Solo, Mississippi. Characters were well developed and interesting people in their own right. There was a twist at the end that surprised me and tied everything together, with just one unanswered question, leaving room for a sequel.