Prodigal Father: A Father Dowling Mystery (Father Dowling Mysteries)

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9780312291297: Prodigal Father: A Father Dowling Mystery (Father Dowling Mysteries)

Father Roger Dowling is a busy man. He's got the ambitious and all-encompassing task of running St. Hilary's Parish, dealing with his busybody housekeeper, Mrs. Murkin, and counseling his flock with his characteristic blend of faith and compassion. He's not complaining, but it's no surprise that even a superior priest like Father Dowling needs a break now and again. So off he heads for a week-long retreat in Indiana on the quiet grounds of an old Catholic religious order, where he can meditate, reflect, and pray for a quick recharge of his waning energy.

Unfortunately, Father Dowling's spiritual retreat turns into a baffling murder investigation when a dead man is found in a grotto on the grounds with the handle of an axe protruding from his back. Complicating matters is a long-running real-estate dispute that has pitted the brothers of the order against the previous owners of the huge and valuable piece of land on which their sanctuary sits.

Who could have killed the man and why, and does it have something to do with the high-stakes mind games being played out between the parties vying for the land? No one's too sure, but what is clear is that Father Dowling is once again at the center of it all in another winning entry in a mystery series that's become an institution.

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Excerpt. Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.:

Prodigal Father
Part OneOvertureMoonlight softened the contours of the maintenance shed and lent an eerie opacity to the glass panels of the greenhouse. The line between nature and art blended, natural growth and the works of man fused in the altering light. Nocturnal life went on, a whirring racket emanating from the shadowed trees and hedges. An owl interrogated the night.Paths reflecting the pale light, moons to the moon, linked shed and greenhouse with the lodge beyond. And with the grotto, where votive lights flickered in the hollowed rock. Our Lady opened her arms in a perpetual offer of help. All tenses seemed present there, permitting a glimpse into the future of these coordinates in space: 
Strange primal sounds come from the maintenance shed, animal grunts, the toppling of tools that ring when they strike the concrete floor. The door of the shed bursts open. A single figure appears. He staggers along the path, nearly falling several times, righting himself, pushing on. When he comes to the grotto he all but collapses on the prie-dieu before the shrine. He falls forward as if in prayer. The ax handle emerging from his back glows in the moonlight.PRODIGAL FATHER. Copyright © 2002 by Ralph McInerny. All rights reserved. No part of this book may be used or reproduced in any manner whatsoever without written permission except in the case of brief quotations embodied in critical articles or reviews. For information, address St. Martin's Press, 175 Fifth Avenue, New York, N.Y. 10010.

From Booklist:

Death follows Father Ralph Dowling on retreat as McInerny's venerable detective-priest returns in another compelling mystery with a spiritual twist. When a laicized priest requests a reinstatement to a moribund religious order, the few remaining members of the dwindling Athanasian community initially rejoice. However, when Father Nathaniel begins pressuring the other priests to sell their valuable seminary property, their ranks quickly become divided. After Nathaniel is found with an ax buried in his back, Father Dowling digs for a motive buried deep in the past. While investigating a long list of suspects that includes a fellow priest, the seminary groundskeeper and his son, and a genial con man, Dowling himself becomes the next target for murder. Morality and mortality combine to provide an appropriately unsettling ambience for a crime rooted in greed and guilt. Margaret Flanagan
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

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McInerny, Ralph
Published by Minotaur Books 2002-07-30 (2002)
ISBN 10: 0312291299 ISBN 13: 9780312291297
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