Last Things: A Father Dowling Mystery

Last Things: A Father Dowling Mystery

by Ralph McInerny
     
 

Father Dowling is used to unsolicited knocks on the rectory door, having done more than his share of counseling and assisting in delicate situations during his long career. So when Eleanor Wygant comes to visit Father Dowling he receives her graciously, though she is a stranger. As it turns out, members of her family are longtime parishioners of St. Hillary's, and

Overview

Father Dowling is used to unsolicited knocks on the rectory door, having done more than his share of counseling and assisting in delicate situations during his long career. So when Eleanor Wygant comes to visit Father Dowling he receives her graciously, though she is a stranger. As it turns out, members of her family are longtime parishioners of St. Hillary's, and it soon becomes clear that with family trouble brewing, Eleanor doesn't know where else to turn.

When she enlists Father Dowling's help in persuading her niece Jessica to scrap the tell-all family novel she is writing and concentrate on more earthly pursuits, the venerable priest has little idea how enmeshed he is about to become in the family's edgy interrelations. For in recent years, the family has had its share of melodrama, including a philandering patriarch, a son who left the priesthood to take up with an ex-nun, and an underachieving academic, and it's up to Dowling to piece together their shared history in the hopes of putting their demons-and a vicious, previously unknown murder-to rest.

In the hands of Ralph McInerny, one of mystery fiction's most beloved authors, Last Things is as delightful as his legions of fans have come to expect from the charming Father Dowling series.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Father Dowling's 22nd absorbing outing (after 2002's Prodigal Father) from the prolific McInerny is guaranteed to mystify. Ill with prostate cancer, Fulvio Bernardo, patriarch of a wealthy and influential Chicago-area family, despairs of his three children. Raymond, the eldest, was ordained a priest and was the great white hope of St. Edmund's College until he took off for California with a nun and the nun's order's car and credit card. Daughter Jessica is an author with a contract for a novel of which the lightly disguised subject is her own family. Younger son Andrew is an English professor at St. Edmund's; enter Horst Cassirer, a brilliant Ph.D. who has recently joined the department and wants tenure immediately. But his fellow professors, despite his high reputation as a researcher, find him deficient as a teacher and colleague and reject his bid. Following the deaths of Fulvio and Raymond's Edmundite mentor comes the requisite third tragedy: Cassirer's battered body is found lying in the street. Suspects abound and the suspense builds until the final chapter, when Father Dowling has a flash of inspiration. The plot moves crisply on the wings of believable dialogue among the multitude of well-drawn college-town characters. As always, McInerny explains just enough about Catholicism to make non-Catholic readers feel at home. (July 7) FYI: The "last things" of the title are death, judgment, heaven and hell. McInerny is also the author of Celt and Pepper (2002) and other titles in his Notre Dame mystery series. Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
More unrest among the ranks of the nontenured and no-longer-ordained. When pompous, arrogant Horst Cassirer, who prefers writing arcane articles for esoteric little magazines to actually teaching students at St. Edmund's College, insists he be considered for early tenure, the English department splits three to two against him. Cassirer lambastes tenure committee member Andrew Bernardo and threatens to take him to court, but this is hardly Andrew's main worry. His popular novelist sister Jessica is about to base her next book on family history; his brother Raymond, an ex-priest now living with an ex-nun in California, has returned to Chicago to reconcile, perhaps, with their critically ill father; and his twice-widowed aunt Eleanor is conniving to go through his father's papers in search of old love letters she sent her first husband's brother, the dying Fulvio. Low-key Father Ralph Dowling (Prodigal Father, 2002, etc.) doesn't make much effort to dissuade Jessica from blabbing the family secrets or to convince Fulvio, who left the church as a protest when Raymond was laicized, to make a final confession before death calls. Unfortunately, death takes not only Fulvio (natural causes) but Cassirer (baseball bat). Worse, Andrew, who finds the second body at his doorstep, decides to move it, making himself prime suspect. Amusing professorial infighting and the occasional murder take a backseat to McInerny's true concerns: dwindling seminary enrollment and the decline of faith-based education.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781429977784
Publisher:
St. Martin's Press
Publication date:
07/17/2003
Series:
Father Dowling Mysteries , #22
Sold by:
Macmillan
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
352
Sales rank:
652,042
File size:
329 KB

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Meet the Author

Ralph McInerny is the author of over thirty books, including the popular Father Dowling mystery series, and has taught for over forty years at the University of Notre Dame, where he is the director of the Jacques Maritain Center. He has been awarded the Bouchercon Lifetime Achievement Award, and was recently appointed to the President's Committee on the Arts and Humanities. He lives in South Bend, Indiana.


Ralph McInerny (1929-2010) is the author of more than fifty books, including the popular Father Dowling series, and taught for over fifty years at the University of Notre Dame, where he was the director of the Jacques Maritain Center. He has been awarded the Bouchercon Lifetime Achievement Award and appointed to the President's Committee on the Arts and Humanities. He lived in South Bend, Indiana

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