Monday, 2 September 2013

Blog Tour: An Unholy Communion - A Compelling Read

With English and Scottish ancestry, I have always enjoyed historical novels set in the United Kingdom.  While this is a contemporary novel it contains much information about the historical background of special places the characters visit on a pilgrimage. To my delight, while the characters and mystery were very intriguing, this book included places I have been privileged to visit, especially Pembrokeshire and my favourite cathedral at St Davids in Wales. I only wish I’d read this book before being there!

An Unholy Communion is the third book in Donna Fletcher Crow’s Monastery Mystery series but the first book of hers I have ever read. I love “discovering” new authors whose books I really enjoy reading. Her back-list is very impressive and I am looking forward very much to reading other titles.

I am so pleased Donna has kindly agreed to share with us a little about herself. As a reader and a writer also, I found the following very interesting.

Thank you so much, Mary, I’m delighted to be in Australia with you and your readers today—if only virtually.

And I’m so pleased that you enjoyed An Unholy Communion! I’ve wanted to tell the story of St. David and the development of Christianity in Wales for something like twenty years. After I wrote Glastonbury, The Story of Christian England and then The Fields of Bannockburn and The Banks of the Boyne, epics of Christianity in Scotland and Ireland, Wales was the next obvious project. But editors move, markets change, other stories assert themselves. . .in other words, life happens. So I had to wait.

Research in Wales among the tombstones - and the rain.

One of the things I’ve loved most about writing The Monastery Murders is that it has given me a chance to tell stories I’ve long wanted to explore. The first book A Very Private Grave is about St. Cuthbert, book 2 A Darkly Hidden Truth is about the English mystical writers Julian of Norwich and Margery Kempe. But, as you mentioned above, all these books are actually contemporary mysteries.

Perhaps I should explain. Our daughter studied classics at Oxford, worked in London, went off to study at a theological college run by monks in a monastery in Yorkshire and wound up marrying a Church of England priest. As I shared Elizabeth’s journey and got to know the monks and ordinands at The College of the Resurrection it dawned on me what a great background that would make for a book—actually a series of books.

And so, my heroine Felicity is a young American woman who studied classics at Oxford, worked in London, went off to study. . . well, you get the picture. Everything I write is based on an experience I have had  visiting Elizabeth or on a research trip. Except for the murders, you understand. I love the contrast of keeping everything as realistic as I can and then letting my imagination soar for the mystery bits. And I hope it helps my readers keep the pages turning.

For An Unholy Communion I took part in a 126-mile youthwalk pilgrimage from London to Walsingham. I was a considerably overage “youth” but they were wonderful to me and I learned the logistics of how such an undertaking works. Then I followed the ancient Cistercian Way through southern Wales with a sister mystery writer doing the driving.  We spent a wonderful four-day retreat at St. Non’s on the very southwest tip of Wales, walking the Pembrokeshire cliffs above the ocean, worshipping at St. David’s Cathedral and exploring every inch of the ruined Bishop’s Palace where some of the pivotal action takes place in the book. You can see pictures from my research trips on my website - see details below.

And now I’m hard at work on A Muffled Tolling, book 4 in the series, set in Oxford. Although I have written historical novels such as the epics mentioned above, The Cambridge Chronicles, a six-book series about the history of the Evangelical Anglicans, and The Daughters of Courage, an Idaho pioneer family saga based on my own family, as well as romance, children’s books and nonfiction I’m specializing in mystery writing now, trying to keep up with three series.

The Elizabeth & Richard Mysteries is a literary suspense series. Elizabeth and Richard are both English professors and each book has a literary figure in the background: Dorothy L Sayers in The Shadow Reality, Shakespeare in A Midsummer Eve’s Nightmare, and Jane Austen in A Jane Austen Encounter.

My Lord Danvers series is Victorian true-crime where I wrap a fictional mystery around an actual historical murder. A Tincture of Murder is my most recent release—where my research turned up a truly bizarre crime worthy of Dickens, so that story has the bonus of two true crimes.

My husband (of 50 years) and I have 4 children and 12 grandchildren. When I’m not reading, writing or visiting my grandchildren I can be found in my garden. As I write, however, the weeds have taken over. On my website (click on address in details below) you can see trailers for each of my Monastery Murders, read about all my books and see pictures of my garden in more flourishing days.  I would also love to have you follow me on Facebook

Thank you so much for sharing this, Donna, and the photo. I for one will be looking forward to reading your back list - and future novels. 
Here is the detailed information about the book. 
Readers from an Anglo-Catholic and Catholic background may appreciate some of the setting even more than I did, but PLEASE don't let this be a deterrent in anyway from seeing God at work in these characters, story Donna has so wonderfully crafter.


2 - 6 September 2013


An Unholy Communion

Lion Hudson (1 April 2013)


Donna Fletcher Crow
About the Author:

"Donna Fletcher Crow has created her own niche within the genre of clerical mysteries." - Kate Charles, author of Deep Waters

First light, Ascension morning. From the top of the tower at the College of Transfiguration, voices rise in song.

Felicity's delight turns to horror when a black-robed body hurtles over the precipice and lands at her feet.

Her fiancé Father Antony recognizes the corpse as Hwyl Pendry, a former student, who has been serving as Deliverance Minister in a Welsh diocese. The police ignore the strange emblem of a double-headed snake clutched in the dead man's hand, labelling the death a suicide. But Hwyl's widow is convinced otherwise, and pleads for Felicity and Antony to help her uncover the truth.

Matters grow murkier as Felicity and Antony, leading a youth pilgrimage through rural Wales, encounter the same sinister symbol as they travel. Lurking figures follow them. Then a body is found face-down in a well …

"Donna Fletcher Crow gives us, in three extremely persuasive dimensions, the world that Dan Brown merely sketches." - Timothy Hallinan, author of The Queen of Patpong

About the Book:

Donna Fletcher Crow is the author of 40 books, mostly novels dealing with British history. The award-winning Glastonbury, A Novel of the Holy Grail, an Arthurian grail search epic covering 15 centuries of English history, is her best-known work. She is also the author of The Monastery Murders: A Very Private Grave, A Darkly Hidden Truth and An Unholy Communion as well as the Lord Danvers series of Victorian true-crime novels and the literary suspense series The Elizabeth & Richard Mysteries. Donna and her husband live in Boise, Idaho. They have 4 adult children and 11 grandchildren. She is an enthusiastic gardener.

To read more about all of Donna's books and see pictures from her garden and research trips go to:

You can follow her on Facebook at:


  1. Mary, thank you for the lovely interview and the opportunity to meet your readers. I just wish I could be there with you in person--but isn't the internet great!

    The picture of me leaning on a tombstone was taken on my research trip in Wales. You'll note the rain hat--I forgot to mention the incredible rain I edperienced there, but you can read it in the book--I gave Felicity the same experience.

  2. Thank you again, Donna. I just changed the caption on the photo. I'm sure those other 38 plus photos must bring back great nmemories. It did rain when we were in Wales but nowhere as much as it has been this winter in Tasmania where we now live. It must have given you great inspiration though for setting the "mood" so well in your mystery books!

  3. And I'm thrilled to report that it's raining here in Idaho today! maybe the second time all summer. In a good year we get 11 inches of rain a year. The forest fires in our mountains have been terrible, so I'm hoping this will help. My English hostess in Wales Dolores Gordon-Smith laughed and laughed at how excited I got about the rain. She didn't understand about living in a desert.