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City of Saints: A Mystery (Art Oveson #1)

3.29 of 5 stars 3.29  ·  rating details  ·  270 ratings  ·  62 reviews
To the outside observer, Salt Lake City might seem to be the squeaky-clean “City of Saints”—its nickname since Mormon pioneers first arrived. Its wide roads, huge Mormon temple topped by a horn-blowing angel, and orderly neighborhoods give it the appearance of the ideal American city, but looks can be deceiving.

When a beautiful socialite turns up dead, Art Oveson, a twenty
ebook, 336 pages
Published October 30th 2012 by Minotaur Books
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Stephanie Jewett
If you're not Mormon and are hoping to read a "Mormon mystery" or get some info about the church, this is not the place to find it. The main character is LDS, as are several of the characters, but that just provides some background for the story.

If you are Mormon and are looking for a "Mormon mystery", this is also not the place to find it. This is not a feel-good story with characters that share your standards- even several of the ostensibly Mormon characters are corrupt or even evil. This is
Minor spoilers. Being a non-mormon born and bred Utahn, as well as 2nd generation law enforcement, I was really interested in this book. I'm sorry it didn't hold up to it's promise. It didn't help going into the story knowing this is still an unsolved cold case. I found the lead character, Deputy Oveson a weak spined coward. He's so scared of losing his job, he can't even find the guts to stand up to the Sheriff even after being awarded the reward money that will help see him thru. Even if you s ...more
Sorry but this book was just horrible. I forced myself to read to page 100 just to give it a chance. The green, sweet little Mormon sheriff seriously annoyed me. The author's attempt to add background for SLC and weave in some Mormon practices was spectacularly boring and ham-handed as well. The book was set in the 30s. That worked. At one point, for me, the dialog and the characters turned into a black and white movie from that era complete with jerky movements and squeaky voices. The author is ...more
Doug Calvert
Interested read. Keeps you guessing until it all get wrapped up tight, complete with confessions. But the ending left me feeling a bit disappointed somehow. Still, very fascinating historical context. Well thought-out and overall well executed.
An undemanding read that has the bones of a good mystery novel, has the edge of being a kind of true crime novel, but Hunt completely lacks the chops of a good fiction writer when it comes to characterizations and dialogue. His primary characters are vague and defined mostly by quirks that they exhibit relentlessly, while the peripheral characters are empty suits that are easy to confuse and never really come to life.

The biggest smile of the novel came at the end where Hunt cited a pictorial loc
I loved so many things about this book!!
I loved the setting, the detective's character, the historical details. The first half of the book, 5 all the way. Though the ending was forced, I loved the tone so I'm sticking to my 4 and an overall recommendation to read away.
Note: the back-cover made me feel like I'd be reading a Mormon-expose, which this was not. It's general fiction with one character who is authentically devout living among people--some of whom share his faith, some of whom don't.
I really really wanted to like this, but the inaccuracies were just too overwhelming. You just can't go to Lagoon in February.
Mehhh. Creative crime storyline, but written as flat as a pancake. Skip.
This is the story of the murder of an adulterous socialite in 1930 Salt Lake City, based on a true case. Art Oveson of the Sheriff's Department investigates, but he's also caught up in departmental politics, Mormon vs. Nonmormon sectarianism, and family rivalries, all making his investigation more challenging.

Since I was born in Utah, lived in Salt Lake City for almost 10 years, have family history there, and am interested in history in general, I was quite looking forward to this novel. On the
First off, I want to say that City of Saints was NOT was I expected it to be. I went into this book expecting a dark book filled with mystery and Mormon intrigue. Now don't get me wrong, I thoroughly enjoyed the book, it just didn't fit my prior expectations.

City of Saints is a fictionalized version of a true unsolved murder that occurred in Salt Lake City in the 1930s. Andrew Hunt took a lot of liberty in telling the story so very little is true to fact other than time periods and a few rename
Linda Munro
Again, I found this book listed amongst the goodreads contests and while I didn't win this was one such book and thankfully it was carried by the library.

This is a detective story, set in 1930 Salt Lake City, Utah. While it is not a fast paced mystery, it is indeed a good, historical mystery, filled with the prejudice of the day; from religious to ethnic, offering a good look into this country’s past.

Based on the true murder of sociality Dorothy Dexter Moormeister who was found brutally murder
When beautiful socialite Helen Kent Pfalzgraf turns up dead, Salt Lake County Deputy Art Oveson—a twenty-something husband, dad, and devout Mormon just getting his start—finds himself thrust into the role of detective. With his partner, a foul-mouthed, vice-ridden former strikebreaker, he begins to pursue Pfalzgraf’s murderer—or murderers. Their search takes them into the dark underbelly of Salt Lake City, a place rife with blackmail, corruption and murder.

Throw in a cowardly sheriff seeking re
A little slow at times, but quite enjoyable. The idea of a Mormon detective WAY back in the day in Salt Lake City plus corrupt politicians and top lawmen getting in the way of the truth. Scandal and blackmail are present and accounted for! The fascinating mysteries are finally solved and integrity wins at the end of the day. I would love to read another story with the main characters. It provided a different perspective on Mormon life (sans extra wives).
Don Elder
What a confusing approach to a pro-mormon point of view. The shock value of constant F-bombs, crude sexual references and all around hard-R rated contents was... shocking considering the under-lying education value by the author on "how mormons are really sweet and good people overall". Mr. Hunt must have received many reprimands from church authorities on his use of vulgar dialogue and plot themes. I applaud Mr. Hunt for breaking-thru the strict LDS manor system to actually tell a real-life, re ...more
At least one part of the book was anachronistic when a lady used foul language. I can't imagine a female during that time period even being familiar with such language, never mind using it.

There were parts in the 2nd half of the book that I liked. Other than that, it was so-so.
A good true crime / historical fiction novel but, it could have been better without the foul language peppered throughout especially the "F" word. I listened to this on audio and the readers voice was okay but he knows nothing of Utah and how to pronounce certain places.
Salt Lake City, February 1930. A beautiful socialite has been killed in a remote outlying area of SLC—someone ran over her repeatedly with an automobile. The investigating officer, Sheriff's Deputy Art Oveson, a father, husband, devout Mormon, and youngest son in a family of peace officers, insists on a complete investigation, along with his older partner, Roscoe. The sheriff, on the other hand, wants a quick solution so he can use it for his upcoming reelection campaign. When Art continues his ...more
Sandy T
Although murder mysteries aren't typically my thing, I was curious to read this fictional account of an actual unsolved murder in Salt Lake City in the 1930's. I enjoyed at the beginning how Hunt set up the time and place, and enjoyed references to places I know, and surnames from prominent Utah families. But I felt the time and place got lost as the story went on and felt more modern, despite minor references to old cars and such. I found much of the story line extremely predicable at some time ...more
The mystery aspect was intriguing. However, the main character came across as saccharine, hokey, and bland for the first half of the book. I guess the author was trying to bring out the point that he didn't drink, engage in other vices etc. That's fine, but it doesn't have to mean that the character is corny and uninteresting. About halfway through the book, the character was better developed and became easier to relate to. His skills as a detective became apparent, he stopped letting people pus ...more
This novel had a slow start but about 100 pages in it started to pick up and was a pretty good read. It is a fictional historical work based on an actual unsolved murder in the 1930s. I liked the historical detail that was given.
The book is set in northern Utah in 1930. The narrator is a Salt Lake County deputy sheriff, who has siblings in police departments from Ogden down the Wasatch Front to Provo. The mystery is sufficiently complex to keep most readers engaged. I enjoyed the historical aspect since my grandfather spent part of his childhood in Provo and was a young man during the time in which the story is set. I remember my grandfather telling me stories about his youth in Provo when I was young.

Politics, religio
Holly McIntyre
Not quite as good as I hoped it would be. The premise: rich woman brutally murdered and run over multiple times, who done it? The setting: Salt Lake City, 1930. Based on a true, unsolved murder. I had hopes that this would be both exciting and (I admit) a somewhat voyeuristic look at life in a Mormon community. It wasn't either. The Mormon aspect was hardly developed except as a contrast to the hard-drinking, hard-swearing non-Mormons. And the plot moved at a snail's pace, although to a somewhat ...more
I would have given this book 4 stars but the crude and profane language is so distracting. I loved the story and especially the setting (since I live in Salt Lake City). It was suspenseful and a great story.

I listened to the audio book and the reader pronounced the following wrong:

Timponogos (he said tempo No gos - it is pronounced TimpANogUs)
handkerchief (he said hanDkerchief - I'm pretty sure the D is silent)
Manti (he said Monti - it is MAnti)
Joel Nunez
A very surprising tale of Mormon town in the time of broads and gunslingers. Never thought that the city of saints was actually sin city. It doesn't get more noir than this: a dead blond, miscues, an obsessed cop. The only downer to this book is its plodding style. The book does pick up towards the last 100 pages or so. Based on a true story, this is Salt Lake City's Black Dahlia.

I wouldn't be surprised if this book has been optioned for a movie.
Fun isn't really the right word to describe a murder mystery, but reading this book - which is set in 1930s Salt Lake City - was fun. The author's knowledge of the local culture and use of '30s slang kept me entertained. Also, the story is based an actual unsolved murder case in Salt Lake.

WARNING: Even though the main character is Mormon, there is some pretty harsh language in this book, including several uses of the c-word.
A police detective in 1930's Salt Lake City won't give up an investigation in to the death of a local socialite. The procedural isn't bad, though the outcomes are very predictable.

The time and place are interesting... as is the friction between the Mormon detective and his profane partner. The characters are a little flat - as is the description of religion and morals of the various players.
A real-life unsolved murder case from 1930's Salt Lake City turned into a historical fiction book with a resolution.

This is a good story. I'm sure it could be turned into a wonderful movie where the 1930's period would really come to life though the set and the clothes, it was kind of lacking in the book itself. A bit on the simple side for my tastes but an agreeable read anyway.
Marvelle Morgan
I picked this up because it was on the current "readers choice" table at the library. It was an okay mystery. The main character was bland, spineless, and rather unlikable. The book makes you think people are basically corrupt/evil and that elected officials are more concerned with being re-elected than in doing the job they were elected to do in the first place.
Stories from this period (1920s/early 1930s) are usually not something that I am interested in but this one caught my attention. Overall a very good read - a compelling main character, and a great development of the relationship with his partner. His editor failed to catch a few too many "raised eyebrows in surprise" but I would definitely read more by this author.
Becky Roper
This is a fictionalized account of an unsolved murder that happened in Salt Lake in the 1930's. The historical setting and information were interesting, but I couldn't get past the stilted language and characters. It was like watching an old Mickey Rooney movie from the 50's. I keep hoping to find Mormon writers I enjoy reading but they are few and far between.
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Andrew Hunt is a professor of U.S. History at the University of Waterloo in Waterloo, Ontario. He grew up in California and Utah and is the single father of two children. He is also the author and coauthor of several nonfiction history books.

Librarian's note: There is more than one author in the Goodreads database with this name.
More about Andrew Hunt...

Other Books in the Series

Art Oveson (2 books)
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