Book Review: Angel Face

By Marcia Loy

John Scherber has a new mystery out, Angel Face, his 13th in the series of Paul Zacher San Miguel novels. Scherber’s plots are always intriguing, and this one’s a dilly. It begins with a coffin in a hearse leaving the local cemetery, followed by a large crowd of people yelling something about Santa Claudia. Zacher learns that Claudia Arango was a native of San Miguel and a rising star in Mexican cinema more than 30 years before, until she died in an auto accident at the age of 18.

The surprise comes when the coffin is opened and she looks much like she did in life, despite the length of time she was buried. Her father died recently and it was his wish to have his daughter disinterred and placed in his coffin. Her brother Miguel, a defrocked priest, has other ideas. He’s now the head of a small church in the campo near San Miguel and he wants to create a shrine to display her body under glass in his church. Claudia’s other brother wants the Zacher agency to stop his brother’s plan and have her body reburied without fanfare. A movement is afoot to declare the young star a saint.

The cast of characters includes Paul’s girlfriend, Maya; his partner, Cody Williams; Jay Bremer, a business consultant working with the defrocked priest; and a monsignor sent to investigate the claims for having Claudia Arango declared a saint. There are more twists and turns in this mystery than the Grand Prix racetrack at Le Mans.

And the ending is a lollapalooza. If you’re a dedicated reader of Scherber’s mysteries, this one won’t disappoint. If you are new to his work, now is as good as anytime to become a fan. Angel Face is now available on


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