'Bones in the Belfry' by Suzette A. Hill
I've been reading this book over the weekend, and I've got to the point where I'm trying to read as slowly as possible to avoid finishing it, because it's so much fun. I've been on the receiving end of many a perplexed look as I lapse into another series of loud guffaws, but you couldn't read this book without laughing out aloud.
The story features a vicar who has, in a previous book, murdered one of his parishioners. In this installment, the dubious acquaintance who provided him with a fake alibi for the murder, recalls the favour by asking him to store a couple of paintings, which turn out to have been stolen. The vicar, Francis Oughterard, is dedicated to having as quiet a life as is possible, but between the demands of his colourful parishioners, and his guilty secret, this is impossible.
The story is narrated in parts by the vicar's dog and cat. Normally I'd avoid something like this, it's a bit whimsical for me, but the animals' insights add to the comedy. Not to mention the vicar himself who, when the going gets tough, resorts to whisky and pills. It is very, very funny, and I'm enjoying every page.
I had a peek over at Suzette A. Hill's website to find the title of the previous book, and it turns out there are three in the series. Interestingly, her website mentions she self-published the first book, after finding it impossible to interest either an agent, or publisher. 'Bones in the Belfry' is so funny, and so well-written, it's impossible to believe she had any difficulty being published. Maybe there is hope for the rest of us!
Anyway, I thoroughly recommend this book, and now I'm going off to read a bit more - slowly!