In this fourth and final entry in the Jon Mote Mysteries, our accidental sleuth and his sister Judy find themselves entangled in an international web of evil done and evil revenged. The often confused but always curious Jon finds himself the father of triplets and, for reasons not always clear even to himself, back in church. Judy, a woman with mental challenges but a heart as wide as the horizon, is now living with Jon and wife Zillah, helping them raise “our children.”
New to church, but somehow appointed to the Missions Committee (soon renamed the Care and Compassion Committee), Jon is asked to be the liaison with an immigrant family from Iraq the church wishes to aid. No one realizes that offering such help puts everyone in jeopardy, as evil done afar comes near to roost.
The cast of characters from past novels in the series reappears, including the band of residents from Judy’s group home and the iron-willed theologian Sister Brigit. All are involved in this dramatic investigation into the nature of evil in the human experience and all contribute to Jon’s stumbling but dogged pilgrimage toward greater wholeness.
A lot of misinformation is circulating about Christianity and “the American novel,” especially the American novel right now. If you want to dispel some of that fog while repeatedly experiencing the shock of recognition, the ideal place to start is Daniel Taylor’s just-concluded four-book sequence centering on Jon Mote (a distant relation of Hazel Motes, perhaps) and his developmentally disabled sister, Judy, one of the most memorable characters I’ve encountered in a lifetime of reading fiction. Start at the beginning of the series and read all the way through, or start with The Mystery of Iniquity (a mystery in which we all figure) and, if you are beguiled, go back to the beginning.
John Wilson, Senior Editor, Marginalia Review of Books