The fourth installment in Mette Ivie Harrison’s Linda Wallheim Mystery series published late last year – and could not have come at a better time.

Not of This Fold delves into the unsettling world of Utah’s Mormon church and addresses the immigration controversy distressing our current political climate. Harrison’s depiction of injustice toward a murdered undocumented Mormon woman acts as commentary on the power structures of church and state.

To celebrate the newest Linda Wallheim mystery, here are 10 of our favorite crime fiction novels where religion thickens the plot.

Not of This Fold by Mette Ivie Harrison

Linda Wallheim, a bishop’s wife and mother of five, meets a curious new woman in her ward, Gwen Ferris. Gwen has become skeptical of the the church after stepping into the world of the Spanish ward and learning of the injustices that legal and undocumented immigrants face within their faith. Linda and Gwen band together to solve the murder of a young mother from the Spanish ward, putting their lives at risk for the sake of exposing corruption.


The Unquiet Dead by Ausma Zehanat Khan

In this page-turning police procedural, Muslim detective Esa Khattak investigates the seemingly accidental death of Christopher Drayton. In her search for justice, Esa finds something in Drayton’s past that suggests he might have been a war criminal of the 1995 Srebrenica massacre, when more than 8,000 Bosnian Muslims were murdered. Throughout the narrative, the novel calls into question the core values of Islam and the startling nature of humanity.


The Name of the Rose by Umberto Eco

The Name of the Rose juxtaposes logic, philosophy, and theology through a murder mystery plotline set in a fourteenth-century Italian abbey. This crime fiction classic, written by Italian semiotics professor Umberto Eco, tells the story of Brother-turned-detective William of Baskerville’s investigation into the strange consecutive deaths of seven monks in the abbey. Each death uncovers a new and dangerous truth, and William is compelled to use his intuition to solve the increasingly urgent case.


The Ritual Bath by Faye Kellerman

An unspeakable crime within the calm of an Orthodox Jewish community in California leads LAPD Detective Peter Decker to Rina Lazarus, the only person in the yeshiva willing to address the tragedy. The two form a bond that transcends religious differences as they navigate the boundaries of Orthodox Judaism in an attempt to solve the mystery.


The Da Vinci Code by Dan Brown

From the beloved Robert Langdon trilogy comes the series sequel, The Da Vinci Code, an international bestseller that follows symbologist Robert Langdon and cryptologist Sophie Neveu from a murder at the Louvre through history and back. The pair ultimately discover an ancient secret from the clues left by the murderer in the wake of the crime, a truth rooted with implications for the religious institutions of antiquity and the modern world.


Sacred Games by Vikram Chandra

Sacred Games, a “Bombay gangster-noir,” describes the classic cat-and-mouse chase of criminal mastermind Ganesh Gaitonde and Inspector Sartaj Singh. The story weaves in India’s complex religious and socio-economic history, and presents a view of an often amoral world as the Hindu “leela,” or sacred game, where good and bad are not so easily identifiable. The novel is influenced as much by Bollywood as it is by Homer, and reads as a complex noir-epic.


Beautiful Ghosts by Eliot Pattison

After being sentenced to time in a Chinese work camp due to a controversy with powerful government officials, Inspector Shan Tao Yun has been unofficially released. He escapes to the faraway mountains of Tibet to live with a group of Buddhist monks where he finds himself in the midst of a murder case. Shan must decide whether to trust officials searching the ruins of the monastery, the secretive monks, or the FBI – all while trying to reunite with the son he hasn’t seen since before his incarceration.


Wicked Autumn by G.M. Malliet

In the first installment of the series we are introduced to Max Tudor, the new vicar in the town of Nether Monkslip. He has escaped his past as an agent of the M15, the British counter-intelligence agency, and now relishes the peace of his new life. That is, until the president of the Nether Monkslip Women’s Institute dies at a town event. Max doesn’t believe this could be an accident, but is baffled as to who could have committed the crime –no one in Nether Monkslip seems capable of such an act. As the investigation intensifies, Max must confront his darkest secrets and question his own religion.


The Last Day by Glenn Kleier

Equal parts mystery thriller and science fiction novel, The Last Day calls into question the differences and similarities of every religion, and how the world might react in the face of the apocalypse. The novel begins with a mysterious explosion on Christmas Eve of 1999 in Jerusalem, and spirals from there on a wild ride filled with doomsday prophecies, natural disasters, and an alleged new messiah.


Crime and Punishment by Fyodor Dostoevsky

Crime and Punishment has been hailed as one of the greatest religious and philosophical commentaries in literature. The novel tells the story of Raskolnikov, a desperate student who commits the murder of an old woman that he meticulously justifies before committing the act. After the deed is done, he cannot escape the consequences that follow, and the reader is led on a psychological journey through the dark streets of St. Petersburg, Russia, as Raskolnikov seeks redemption.


“The plight of immigrants comes home to the Mormon community of Draper, Utah, in Harrison’s exceptional fourth Linda Wallheim mystery…Readers of all faiths will relate to kindhearted, thoughtful Linda, a devout Mormon who isn’t afraid to question the policies and leadership of the LDS church.” –Publishers Weekly, Starred Review

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