The Book of Kills (Notre Dame Mystery Series #4) [NOOK Book]

Overview



Prior to the kidnapping of several school administrators and the desecration of headstones in the Cedar Grove Cemetery, the University of Notre Dame's biggest worry had seemed to be this season's challenging football schedule. But these "pranks" are getting more and more serious. Then, Orion Plant, an eccentric scholar in the history program, began attracting negative media attention by claiming the university founder, Father Edward Sorin, stole the land on which the school sits from Native Americans. All in ...
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The Book of Kills (Notre Dame Mystery Series #4)

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Overview



Prior to the kidnapping of several school administrators and the desecration of headstones in the Cedar Grove Cemetery, the University of Notre Dame's biggest worry had seemed to be this season's challenging football schedule. But these "pranks" are getting more and more serious. Then, Orion Plant, an eccentric scholar in the history program, began attracting negative media attention by claiming the university founder, Father Edward Sorin, stole the land on which the school sits from Native Americans. All in all, it's more than the board of trustees can handle.

A potentially costly lawsuit, embarrassing publicity, and a scandalous half-time prank broadcast on national television, cause university chancellor Father Bloom to turn to detective Philip Knight and his brother, brilliant philosophy professor Roger Knight, for help. But just as the brothers dig into the investigation, the scholar turns up dead, an Indian headdress wrapped around his bloody head. The South Bend police department is stumped, leaving the Knights once again to bring the killer to justice.

Another cleverly constructed and witty installment from one of the genre's masters, The Book of Kills is a delightfully sinister stroll through the hallowed halls of academia.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Fans of academic whodunits will find much to chuckle over in this fourth Notre Dame mystery (On This Rockne, etc.) from the creator of Father Dowling, featuring the sleuthing Knight brothers, the hulking Roger and private detective Philip. A series of pranks, including the kidnapping of the chancellor, has alarmed the Notre Dame administration, and the Knight brothers get the call to investigate. The various shenanigans seem somehow related to the claim by a group of Native Americans that the land on which the famed university stands was stolen from them and should be returned. A longtime history graduate student, Orion Plant, has uncovered information in the course of his dissertation research that allegedly bolsters this claim. But when Plant turns up dead, the Knight brothers have to delve even deeper to discover who had the most compelling motive to murder him. Does Plant's long-delayed dissertation have anything to do with his death? Could his long-suffering wife, waitress Marcia Younger, have finally tired of his dallying with Professor Otto Ranke's daughter, Laverne, and done him in? And what about the unsolved murders of a number of Native Americans in South Bend years before? The Knights have to sniff down many trails in order to find the right answer. McInerny has fashioned another deft and mordantly witty excursion into the rarefied atmosphere of Notre Dame. (Sept.) Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.|
Internet Book Watch
Several incidents on campus have worried the University of Notre Dame administration. Three gravestones at Cedar Grove cemetery were knocked over by vandals. Native Americans disrupt a wedding ceremony at the log chapel. The Blue Cloud Nation kidnaps Chancellor Father Bloom claiming that the university illegally stole the land from their ancestors. At half-time of the nationally televised game with Florida State, a young man parades on the field dressed as a Native American claiming the land belongs to the Blue Cloud Nation. Administration advisor Noonen and Father Anselm are abducted. No one has been hurt yet. The University turns to insiders Roger and Philip Knight, who have done discrete investigations before. Roger begins making inquiries that leads him to former graduate student Orion Plant, who obsessively feels the land belongs to Native Americans. He has engaged a lawyer to represent him and the Native Americans. Meanwhile Roger and Philip continue with their inquiries trying to find evidence to shut up Orion. Though the "pranks" are dangerous, the ante is dramatically raised when murder occurs. The Book Of Kills is an intriguing academic mystery focusing on who owns land that has been questionably taken from ancestors. The story line moves quickly forward as incidents keep occurring. The siblings are wonderful charcaters, though Roger and his golf cart are more prominent. The support cast provides a feel to the university. Though a murder simplifies much of the plot, perhaps too much, Ralph McInerny's fourth Notre Dame novel will attain high rankings in the polls.
—Internet Book Watch
Kirkus Reviews
Parlous times on (or adjacent to) the Notre Dame campus. Consider: Cedar Grove Cemetery, as old as the university itself, vandalized; the university chancellor kidnapped (if only briefly); restless Native Americans threatening uprise in the form of legal action for expropriation of their land; Florida State's big, powerful, unbeaten football team set to invade South Bend, generating secret consternation in the breasts of the Fighting Irish faithful. And then, hard to believe though it may be, things get worse: a graduate student is found tomahawked to death. At this point enter that most desultory of private detecting teams: Knight Brothers Investigations (Irish Tenure, 1999, etc.). Roger, who doubles in brass as Notre Dame's Huneker Professor of Catholic Studies, is the first to answer the sleuthing call, which is understandable, since for an unsettling instant, he himself had been a suspect. Philip, stirred to action by his brother's plight, turns from his true passion-Notre Dame football-long enough to help establish Roger's alibi. The knottiest question, the one most worrisome to university authorities remains open, however. Are the vandals, the Native Americans, and the ax-murderer connected in some way? Well, of course they are, and at their own unflapped, dilettantish, idiosyncratic pace the brothers Knight manage enough ratiocination to indicate the links.
From the Publisher

"McInerny, whose Father Dowling mysteries have delighted readers for years, has struck gold again in the Brothers Knight."--Booklist

"McInerny, working outside his usual Father Dowling territory, shows an effortlessly light touch with campus intrigue."--Kirkus Reviews

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780312276041
  • Publisher: St. Martin's Press
  • Publication date: 9/1/2000
  • Series: Notre Dame Mystery Series , #4
  • Sold by: Macmillan
  • Format: eBook
  • Edition description: First Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 288
  • Sales rank: 439,903
  • File size: 2 MB

Meet the Author



Ralph McInerny, a winner of the Bouchercon Lifetime Achievement Award, is the author of over thirty books, including the popular Father Dowling mysteries, most recently Grave Undertakings and the Andrew Broome mysteries, most recently Heirs and Parents. He has taught for over forty years at the University of Notre Dame, where he is the director of the Jacques Maritain Center. He lives in South Bend, Indiana.
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Read an Excerpt



1
THE TROUBLE BEGAN ON AN October Saturday at the log chapel.
Two stretch limos came up the road behind Bond Hall, which housed the architecture department, and parked. Out of them poured a wedding party. The bride wore a traditional white gown, the bridesmaids were in blue, the men in formal attire. The groom was an alumnus, the bride his childhood sweetheart, and he was fulfilling an undergraduate dream of being married in the log chapel on the Notre Dame campus, a venue in even more demand than Sacred Heart Basilica, the university church. Father Burnside, who had been rector of the groom’s undergraduate dorm, was to meet them at the chapel door.
But there was no sign of the priest.
The chapel door was guarded by two men done up in traditional Indian garb.
“Have you seen a priest?”
“He’s inside.”
They did not get out of the way. The best man, another alumnus, had made the football team as a student, a tight end who had played a total of eight minutes in a game that had been won already in the first half. He stepped forward, expanded his chest, and explained that a wedding was scheduled.
“The priest is our prisoner,” one of the Native Americans said. “We are reclaiming our property.”In Cedar Grove Cemetery, the sexton was appalled, the more so because he had not noticed the outrage when he came to work that morning, though he must have driven right past the toppled grave markers. One had stood six feet tall and when it fell had done damage to a number of neighboring graves. The sexton called for his crew to make a thorough reconnaissance to see if there were other instances of vandalism.
He assumed that it was vandalism, kids from town in the momentary grip of adolescent madness who had thought pushing over gravestones made some profound statement to the universe. There were three desecrated graves, if that was not too heightened a way of putting it. The sexton did not think so. He used the term five times in speaking to campus security. To the provost he spoke of sacrilege.
Cedar Grove Cemetery was as old as the university itself. It was located on Notre Dame Avenue, as good as on the campus, just south of the bookstore and Eck Alumni Center. For some years there had not been a single unspoken-for grave site in Cedar Grove, but more land had been acquired to the west when the golf course was relocated and now a fortunate few more could look forward to awaiting the last trump in the company of the earliest generation of South Bend.
It was Roger Knight, the Huneker Professor of Catholic Studies, who later noticed a pattern in the vandalism.
Coquillard, Pokagon, Pokagon’s son.
Old Father Carmody nodded. “Contemporaries of Father Sorin.” Edward Sorin was the founder of the University of Notre Dame, a visionary French priest of the Congregation of Holy Cross who had found a small trading community on a bend in the Saint Joseph River when he came to claim the property he had bought for what he grandly called his university. “Frenchmen like himself,” Carmody added.
“Not entirely, Father. Some of them had Indian blood as well. And Pokagon was a chief.”
Meanwhile, Father Burnside had been released from custody and the wedding in the log chapel went on as planned. But when the happy couple and their party returned to their rented vehicles to be driven away to the Morris Inn for the reception they had to pass between ragged rows of half a dozen surly men all dressed up as Indians.
“What’s going on?”
“Keno sabe?”
“Be careful.”
On the following day, Wednesday, the university chancellor did not return as scheduled from a trip to Hong Kong. A call to the Michiana Airport revealed that he had arrived in South Bend on the appropriate flight.
“Johnny!” said Miss Trafficant impatiently. Anita Trafficant was the chancellor’s secretary and Johnny the chancellor’s driver. There was enmity between her and Johnny. The chauffeur had an annoying habit of acting as if he worked directly for the chancellor and was on an equal footing with Miss Trafficant! She would not have been human if she did not relish the thought of scolding him for whatever had happened. But he did not answer his car phone.
Miss Trafficant believed in scheduling. Her success at her job depended in large part on the efficient way in which she arranged the chancellor’s day. Without her precise allocation of his time, he could not have done half of what he did. She had allowed an hour and a half from the time of his arrival at the airport to the first appointment of the day. Father Bloom should be well rested from his long flight in business class across the Pacific.
Two hours passed and the chancellor had not arrived on campus or come to his office. The tenth call to Johnny’s car got an answer. His speech was slurred and he made little sense.
“Have you been drinking?”
The answering obscenity was sufficiently garbled that she could honorably ignore it. She managed to learn where he was.
“You were supposed to pick up Father.”
There was a call on her other phone. She cut off Johnny and took the call.
“This is the Blue Cloud Nation. The chancellor of Notre Dame is our prisoner. Stand by for further instructions.”
The phone went dead.
The consensus in the lounge of Corby, the building where lived priests who were not rectors of residence halls, was that it was a student prank. Johnny had been slipped a mickey and the students who met the chancellor’s plane hit upon the politically incorrect excuse that Indians had kidnapped him in an effort to reclaim the property on which the university stood. True, this theory had been floated recently in an allegedly humorous column in the student newspaper, but then it was difficult to distinguish intended from unintended humor in that publication.
“They got the idea from the log chapel incident.”
“Or the vandalism in Cedar Grove.”
“What if they’re all connected?”
“How?”
The speaker had held up one hand as he spoke, but then immediately let it drop to the arm of his chair.
In the faculty senate the Quinlan Resolution was being debated. If passed, it would become the sense of the senate that the administration should appoint a committee to meet with the Blue Cloud Nation in order to review with utmost seriousness their claim that ancestors had been bilked out of the land on which Notre Dame stood.
“It doesn’t matter,” one phlegmatic senator observed. “There isn’t a patch of earth that was not at one time inhabited by someone other than those currently inhabiting it.”
“These people weren’t even alive at the time.”
“Their quarrel is with Sorin.”
“He’s dead.”
“So are their ancestors.”
“It’s a matter of justice.”
“You want to give the place back to the Indians?”
“If they’ll have it.”
“If it is theirs it would not be a gift.”
An observer from the Observer thought that the senate as a body was inclined to think that Notre Dame had been built on a foundation of injustice and crime.
A video of the captive chancellor was delivered to Corby Hall. He looked disheveled and unfocused, but then he wasn’t wearing his glasses. He seemed to be reciting when he spoke.
“I have pledged to correct any injustice that has been done against the Blue Cloud Nation by the University of Notre Dame.”
His eyes lifted to the camera and filled with tears. His lower lip trembled. “I’m sorry,” he said.
“He didn’t know what he was saying.”
“So what’s new?”
“He was just reading words written for him.”
“So what’s new?”
“You can’t just wish away an institution that has been situated on this land for over a century and a half. What would the Indians do with the land?”
“A casino?”
“They’d sell it.”
“That’s the answer! Give it back to them and then we buy it right back. If all they want is money . . .”
This turned out not to be true. They wanted the land. They wanted the lakes. They wanted the woodland. They wanted their old burial ground back.
“Where is it?”
“It has yet to be located.”

1
THE TROUBLE BEGAN ON AN October Saturday at the log chapel.
Two stretch limos came up the road behind Bond Hall, which housed the architecture department, and parked. Out of them poured a wedding party. The bride wore a traditional white gown, the bridesmaids were in blue, the men in formal attire. The groom was an alumnus, the bride his childhood sweetheart, and he was fulfilling an undergraduate dream of being married in the log chapel on the Notre Dame campus, a venue in even more demand than Sacred Heart Basilica, the university church. Father Burnside, who had been rector of the groom’s undergraduate dorm, was to meet them at the chapel door.
But there was no sign of the priest.
The chapel door was guarded by two men done up in traditional Indian garb.
“Have you seen a priest?”
“He’s inside.”
They did not get out of the way. The best man, another alumnus, had made the football team as a student, a tight end who had played a total of eight minutes in a game that had been won already in the first half. He stepped forward, expanded his chest, and explained that a wedding was scheduled.
“The priest is our prisoner,” one of the Native Americans said. “We are reclaiming our property.”In Cedar Grove Cemetery, the sexton was appalled, the more so because he had not noticed the outrage when he came to work that morning, though he must have driven right past the toppled grave markers. One had stood six feet tall and when it fell had done damage to a number of neighboring graves. The sexton called for his crew to make a thorough reconnaissance to see if there were other instances of vandalism.
He assumed that it was vandalism, kids from town in the momentary grip of adolescent madness who had thought pushing over gravestones made some profound statement to the universe. There were three desecrated graves, if that was not too heightened a way of putting it. The sexton did not think so. He used the term five times in speaking to campus security. To the provost he spoke of sacrilege.
Cedar Grove Cemetery was as old as the university itself. It was located on Notre Dame Avenue, as good as on the campus, just south of the bookstore and Eck Alumni Center. For some years there had not been a single unspoken-for grave site in Cedar Grove, but more land had been acquired to the west when the golf course was relocated and now a fortunate few more could look forward to awaiting the last trump in the company of the earliest generation of South Bend.
It was Roger Knight, the Huneker Professor of Catholic Studies, who later noticed a pattern in the vandalism.
Coquillard, Pokagon, Pokagon’s son.
Old Father Carmody nodded. “Contemporaries of Father Sorin.” Edward Sorin was the founder of the University of Notre Dame, a visionary French priest of the Congregation of Holy Cross who had found a small trading community on a bend in the Saint Joseph River when he came to claim the property he had bought for what he grandly called his university. “Frenchmen like himself,” Carmody added.
“Not entirely, Father. Some of them had Indian blood as well. And Pokagon was a chief.”
Meanwhile, Father Burnside had been released from custody and the wedding in the log chapel went on as planned. But when the happy couple and their party returned to their rented vehicles to be driven away to the Morris Inn for the reception they had to pass between ragged rows of half a dozen surly men all dressed up as Indians.
“What’s going on?”
“Keno sabe?”
“Be careful.”
On the following day, Wednesday, the university chancellor did not return as scheduled from a trip to Hong Kong. A call to the Michiana Airport revealed that he had arrived in South Bend on the appropriate flight.
“Johnny!” said Miss Trafficant impatiently. Anita Trafficant was the chancellor’s secretary and Johnny the chancellor’s driver. There was enmity between her and Johnny. The chauffeur had an annoying habit of acting as if he worked directly for the chancellor and was on an equal footing with Miss Trafficant! She would not have been human if she did not relish the thought of scolding him for whatever had happened. But he did not answer his car phone.
Miss Trafficant believed in scheduling. Her success at her job depended in large part on the efficient way in which she arranged the chancellor’s day. Without her precise allocation of his time, he could not have done half of what he did. She had allowed an hour and a half from the time of his arrival at the airport to the first appointment of the day. Father Bloom should be well rested from his long flight in business class across the Pacific.
Two hours passed and the chancellor had not arrived on campus or come to his office. The tenth call to Johnny’s car got an answer. His speech was slurred and he made little sense.
“Have you been drinking?”
The answering obscenity was sufficiently garbled that she could honorably ignore it. She managed to learn where he was.
“You were supposed to pick up Father.”
There was a call on her other phone. She cut off Johnny and took the call.
“This is the Blue Cloud Nation. The chancellor of Notre Dame is our prisoner. Stand by for further instructions.”
The phone went dead.
The consensus in the lounge of Corby, the building where lived priests who were not rectors of residence halls, was that it was a student prank. Johnny had been slipped a mickey and the students who met the chancellor’s plane hit upon the politically incorrect excuse that Indians had kidnapped him in an effort to reclaim the property on which the university stood. True, this theory had been floated recently in an allegedly humorous column in the student newspaper, but then it was difficult to distinguish intended from unintended humor in that publication.
“They got the idea from the log chapel incident.”
“Or the vandalism in Cedar Grove.”
“What if they’re all connected?”
“How?”
The speaker had held up one hand as he spoke, but then immediately let it drop to the arm of his chair.
In the faculty senate the Quinlan Resolution was being debated. If passed, it would become the sense of the senate that the administration should appoint a committee to meet with the Blue Cloud Nation in order to review with utmost seriousness their claim that ancestors had been bilked out of the land on which Notre Dame stood.
“It doesn’t matter,” one phlegmatic senator observed. “There isn’t a patch of earth that was not at one time inhabited by someone other than those currently inhabiting it.”
“These people weren’t even alive at the time.”
“Their quarrel is with Sorin.”
“He’s dead.”
“So are their ancestors.”
“It’s a matter of justice.”
“You want to give the place back to the Indians?”
“If they’ll have it.”
“If it is theirs it would not be a gift.”
An observer from the Observer thought that the senate as a body was inclined to think that Notre Dame had been built on a foundation of injustice and crime.
A video of the captive chancellor was delivered to Corby Hall. He looked disheveled and unfocused, but then he wasn’t wearing his glasses. He seemed to be reciting when he spoke.
“I have pledged to correct any injustice that has been done against the Blue Cloud Nation by the University of Notre Dame.”
His eyes lifted to the camera and filled with tears. His lower lip trembled. “I’m sorry,” he said.
“He didn’t know what he was saying.”
“So what’s new?”
“He was just reading words written for him.”
“So what’s new?”
“You can’t just wish away an institution that has been situated on this land for over a century and a half. What would the Indians do with the land?”
“A casino?”
“They’d sell it.”
“That’s the answer! Give it back to them and then we buy it right back. If all they want is money . . .”
This turned out not to be true. They wanted the land. They wanted the lakes. They wanted the woodland. They wanted their old burial ground back.
“Where is it?”
“It has yet to be located.”
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Sort by: Showing all of 2 Customer Reviews
  • Posted December 9, 2008

    more from this reviewer

    Exciting academic mystery

    Several incidents on campus have worried the University of Notre Dame administration. Three gravestones at Cedar Grove cemetery were knocked over by vandals. Native Americans disrupt a wedding ceremony at the log chapel. The Blue Cloud Nation kidnaps Chancellor Father Bloom claiming that the university illegally stole the land from their ancestors. At half-time of the nationally televised game with Florida State, a young man parades on the field dressed as a Native American claiming the land belongs to the Blue Cloud Nation. Administration advisor Noonen and Father Anselm are abducted. No one has been hurt yet. <P>The University turns to insiders Roger and Philip Knight, who have done discrete investigations before. Roger begins making inquiries that leads him to former graduate student Orion Plant, who obsessively feels the land belongs to Native Americans. He has engaged a lawyer to represent him and the Native Americans. Meanwhile Roger and Philip continue with their inquiries trying to find evidence to shut up Orion. Though the ¿pranks¿ are dangerous, the ante is dramatically raised when murder occurs. <P>THE BOOK OF KILLS is an intriguing academic mystery focusing on who owns land that has been questionably taken from ancestors. The story line moves quickly forward as incidents keep occurring. The siblings are wonderful charcaters, though Roger and his golf cart are more prominent. The support cast provides a feel to the university. Though a murder simplifies much of the plot, perhaps too much, Ralph McInerny¿s fourth Notre Dame novel will attain high rankings in the polls. <P>Harriet Klausner

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
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    Posted August 22, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

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