Picks and Pans Review: Reverend Randollph and the Unholy Bible

updated 04/11/1983 AT 01:00 AM EST

originally published 04/11/1983 AT 01:00 AM EST

by Charles Merrill Smith

This is the fifth in Smith's series of murder mysteries featuring the football star turned clergyman Reverend Randollph. The setting is a wealthy Chicago church located on the ground floor of one of the city's tallest buildings. Randollph and his bride, a sexy television hostess he married in Book No. 4 (Reverend Randollph and the Holy Terror), live in splendor atop the building. Things start popping when Randollph attempts a pastoral visit to a reclusive church member who lives in piles of rubbish in an old mansion near Lake Michigan, only to find that the parishoner has been beaten to death. It turns out that the filthy old man owns a Gutenberg Bible worth millions. Randollph is kidnapped and there are two more murders. The crimes are solved with help from the Old Testament Apocrypha, and the Gutenberg is disposed of to everyone's satisfaction. Smith, a retired Methodist minister who lives in Bloomington, Ill., obviously enjoys spinning out these tales of religion mixed with nasty murders. Readers with a tolerance for characters who say such things as "What a creep!" when referring to a dastardly criminal will enjoy this crafty mystery. (Putnam, $12.95)

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