Review: Father Dowling fights to prevent the closure of his church while solving a series of perplexing murders in Stained Glass, the 28th mystery in this series by Ralph McInerny.
In these financially challenging times, there is, sadly, a shrinking number of parishioners attending church, and parishes that have been isolated by demographic change are the most affected. The Chicago Tribune has posted a list of churches expected to be closed by the Cardinal, and St. Hilary — Father Dowling's church — is one of them. Father Dowling appeals to his congregation and supporters of the church to join him in fighting its closure. He is grateful to discover that one of his most outspoken supporters is Margaret Ward, matriarch of the wealthy Devere family. August Devere, her grandfather, was a parishioner when the church was built, and had commissioned the renowned artist Angelo Menotti to design and assemble the stained glass windows for the church. Margaret Ward believes the building is beautiful and historic, and hires Carl Bartoff, editor of the Sacred Heart Monthly to create a book illustrating the stained glass windows, not only of St. Hilary's but also of other small endangered churches. She gives Bartoff a check for $100,000 to start the project. But then a woman is found dead, murdered, and the police determine she has a connection to Margaret Ward. And when several other people are killed, all indirectly associated with the Devere family, Father Dowling realizes he must solve this series of crimes to protect not only the reputation of a parishioner, but quite possibly too the church itself.
Fans of the series will take comfort in the familiar style of Stained Glass, like old friends or family that one doesn't spend enough time with but should. Father Dowling is in top form here, at his deductive best, in solving this intricately plotted mystery, the resolution of which will likely come as a surprise to many readers. Even after 28 novels, there is a freshness to this series that is quite delightful, and most welcome.
Special thanks to guest reviewer Betty of The Betz Review for contributing her review of Stained Glass.
Acknowledgment: Minotaur Books provided a copy of Stained Glass for this review.
Review Copyright © 2009 — Hidden Staircase Mystery Books — All Rights Reserved
Selected reviews of other mysteries by this author …
Minotaur Books (Hardcover), April 2010
ISBN-13: 9780312582654; ISBN-10: 031258265X
Location(s) referenced in Stained Glass: Chicago, Illinois
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Stained Glass by Ralph McInerny — A Father Dowling Mystery
Publisher: Minotaur Books
Publication Date: October 2009
List Price: $24.99