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Judas Priest: A Father Dowling Mystery by…
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Judas Priest: A Father Dowling Mystery (1991)

by Ralph McInerny

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The paradigm for a Father Dowling mystery is not one I've seen before. Generally we start with one or two case histories of characters, say a police officer or the victim, and then we move on to a few chapters where the action is advanced and we learn how Father Dowling comes into the mystery.

Pretty standard. But after that, we tend to go back to the case histories and start touching on several of the characters whom, until now, we thought were minor and to whom we weren't paying much attention. And the plot and puzzle don't really unravel themselves until the last few chapters. It's an interesting way to write a mystery.

One thing that doens't ring true in Judas Priest is the idea that a sex evangelist could become a major figure in today's America. There have been the various Dr. Ruth types, but the man described in this book is way out of line, and reads more like a character in one of the more frothing-at-the-mouth style of religious novel, like the Left Behind series. Atypical, I think, for Ralph McInerny to be attracted to this sort of character. But the few Father Dowling novels that I've read have a peaceful, contemplative nature to them that should make them enjoyable to read for fans of the Country House sub-genre of mystery. I would be surprised if the others were much different. ( )
  benfulton | Aug 23, 2008 |
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Father Roger Dowling tries to find who murdered his friend's daughter right before she was to enter a convent.

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