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Stained Glass: A Father Dowling Mystery    by Ralph McInerny order for
Stained Glass
by Ralph McInerny
Order:  USA  Can
Minotaur, 2009 (2009)

Read an Excerpt

* * *   Reviewed by Tim Davis

Having published twenty-eight Father Dowling mysteries, half a dozen Andrew Broom mysteries, a dozen other mysteries set at the University of Notre Dame, and a distinguished body of nonfiction, prolific author Ralph McInerny has repeatedly proven to fans of the deadly genre that McInerny is a superb storyteller. Now, in the latest Father Dowling installment, Stained Glass, the priest-and-sleuth finds himself involved in one of his most challenging investigations.

Father Dowling's church, St. Hilary's in Fox River, Illinois, is suddenly included on a diocese list for closure and demolition. Several obstacles, however, stand in the way of St. Hilary's demise: a group of senior citizens is determined to petition the diocese, a wealthy family matriarch is determined to protect the church, and the sublime beauty of the church's stained glass windows may be the parish's saving grace.

Complications arise when a woman is found murdered in the garage owned by someone with connections to the well-connected matriarch. Very quickly, though, the police realize that the dead woman's identity adds another peculiar wrinkle to the murder investigation. More than that, as investigators learn more about the victim's relationship to others, and as the body count escalates in Fox River, Father Dowling becomes more involved in the mystery. Only when he is able to expose old secrets and circumvent church politics will he be able to help the police solve the crimes. And the key to everything is, of course, the exquisite stained glass windows of St. Hilary's.

Finally, the bottom line is this: No one who cherishes the guilty pleasures of tautly plotted mysteries populated by intriguing characters will want to miss out on the recommended Stained Glass. If you have not already read Ralph McInerny's highly regarded mysteries, you should do yourself a favor by accompanying Father Dowling on his latest adventure.

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