Arthur Blake is the protagonist of two sets of mystery novels by Richard Davidson. He is a United Methodist pastor in his second career following a long period as an aerospace engineer working for NASA. He begins his investigations career as a sideline due to unusual and bizarre events involving his church in the village of Parkville, Illinois, a northwestern exurb of Chicago. Arthur has a great sensitivity to the personal problems of people in distress which he couples with a well-honed ability for applying logic to any situation and the moral guidelines of his clergy training. Arthur is not a stand-alone investigator, but rather accumulates a team of associates during the course of his amateur casework. Irma Custis, forensic pathologist and love interest, becomes ever closer to him as they build their relationship and partnership. Bobby Andrews, the Parkville Police Chief, assists Arthur formally when an investigation deals with local matters, and informally when the case involves events beyond his jurisdiction. Toward the end of the first novel, Arthur encounters Penny and Joe Gonzalez, principals in a small covert federal agency that does not appear on any government organization chart. They strike up a personal and working relationship with Arthur that extends through many of the novels. Minor characters in some of the early books grow to play significant roles in later volumes. When Arthur faces a mystery that requires special expertise, he finds someone to support that need with the aid of his established associates. The series of cases eventually leads to a point where Arthur has to decide whether clergy work or investigations will take priority in his future. The two sets of mysteries, The Lord’s Prayer Mystery Series and the Imp Mysteries, trace the course of continuing developments in Arthur Blake’s life, but each novel is self-contained and stands alone for a reader who enjoys an unusually entertaining while still educational adventure.
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