When a San Fransisco Guy Noir detective is sent to investigate the murder of a Latter Day Saint Bishop he finds that the sweet frosting on top of a somewhat ordinary looking cake hides layers and layers of comically complicated messes underneath.

What if your bishop is a petty tyrant who loves nothing so much as the power he has over other people’s lives. You can’t simply switch to another ward. So, well… Somebody has to off him. But who?

That’s the premise of Donna Banta’s delightfully entertaining and totally Mormon murder mystery The Girls from Fourth Ward.

People often say that the best art achieves universality by rendering with great fidelity a specific milieu. In this case, the story of people lashing out secretly against an authority whom they can’t confront openly could be set in almost any human society, yet the story is enriched by a number of Mormon-specific components. The divorced mom who has to attend humiliating church dances as a condition of receiving church welfare to feed her family, for example, or the central importance of attending BYU in order to land the right kind of man — and the fact that you can’t attend BYU without getting your bishop’s signature on the ecclesiastical endorsement form. Read more

This book was a fun murder mystery that satirized some of the darker elements of Mormon culture. Lieutenant Ryan, who transferred to Abbotsville for a quieter life, is called in to investigate the murder of a local Mormon bishop. From the very beginning, he finds himself up against the Mormons, who block his investigation at every turn. The main suspects are a group of four Mormon teenaged girls. The more Ryan investigates the murder, the more he discovers the overbearing and tyrannical nature of the murdered bishop. Read more