A Cloud of Witnesses

Martha and Marya series, Book Two

by Emily Hanlon

Life at Saint John of the Cross Parish in Pequot Bays should have returned to normal after one of its priests was cleared of murdering a parishioner and the true killer put behind bars. But a troublesome new group called Dies Irae has moved in, led by the fire-and-brimstone Father Thaddeus. When one of its devoted followers dies under suspicious circumstances, Father Seamus enlists Martha Collins to help him oust Father Thaddeus from the parish. But when a second member of Dies Irae dies, the Purple Pest detective, Marya Cook, shuffles back into action. Can Marya unmask another murderer before he or she strikes again—or will Martha become the next victim?

In this sequel to Emily Hanlon’s phenomenal debut, Who Am I to Judge?, the scatterbrained octogenarian sleuth, Marya, and her sensible sidekick, Martha, are back in action with new twists and turns, an assortment of scheming suspects, and of course, plenty of purple-penned notecards.


“Oh, what fun!” cry the shades of G. K. Chesterton and Msgr. Ronald Knox. In this worthy addition to the annals of cozy mystery, Hanlon provides yet another fresh look at the “unlikely detective” motif, pairing a purple-wearing Miss-Marple-like investigator with a canny narrator. Plot and puzzle weave together so you’ll never look at a church lady quite the same way again. —Eleanor Bourg Nicholson, author of Brother Wolf and The Letters of Magdalen Montague

Fans of classic whodunnits are in for a treat with Emily Hanlon’s “A Cloud of Witnesses,” with its complex web of enigmatic characters and labyrinth of twists and turns. Hanlon’s lyrical, evocative language ensnares the reader, bringing them into her tapestry of mystery and intrigue, reminiscent of the clever storytelling in the movie, Knives Out. Red herrings and clues are meticulously laid out, and the local church, more than just a setting, emerges as a silent yet potent force in the unfolding drama. Highly recommended! —Julie Carobini, author of Cottage Grove Mysteries and the Sea Glass Inn Novels

Time to put on the fuzzy slippers, brew the hot cocoa, and settle in for another exciting mystery featuring the improbably shrewd and winsomely entertaining Martha and Marya. In this second installment of Emily Hanlon’s delightful series, the suspicion of murder surrounds a secretive congregation of priests and laity known as Dies Irae, and its forbidding leader, Father Thaddeus. But level-headed Martha and her friend Marya, the Purple Pest, will not be daunted until they solve the crime! —Daniel McInerny, author of The Good Death of Kate Montclair