Stained Glass (Father Dowling Series #28) [NOOK Book]


Tough times and the unsolved murders of anyone with ties to the Deveres---a family of wealthy parish patrons---back Father Dowling up against a wall in his struggle to save his church from the chopping block.

With too many churches and not enough people to fill them, the Archdiocese has to make some cuts, and many of them, including the proposed closing of St. Hilary’s, are dangerously close to the bone. Father Dowling rushes to drum up ...

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Stained Glass (Father Dowling Series #28)

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Tough times and the unsolved murders of anyone with ties to the Deveres---a family of wealthy parish patrons---back Father Dowling up against a wall in his struggle to save his church from the chopping block.

With too many churches and not enough people to fill them, the Archdiocese has to make some cuts, and many of them, including the proposed closing of St. Hilary’s, are dangerously close to the bone. Father Dowling rushes to drum up support from church officials and parishioners, including the Deveres, who don’t want to see the stained glass windows they donated go anywhere other than the church they were meant for, but they can hardly be of help when those closest to them start turning up dead.

Church politics, long-kept family secrets, and a determined killer come together to put St. Hilary’s---a church that countless characters and devoted readers have come to love---and its parishioners in peril in Stained Glass, the latest in Ralph McInerny’s treasured mystery series.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Isolated by demographic changes, St. Hilary's of Fox River, Ill., struggles for its very survival in McInerny's timely 28th novel to feature Father Dowling (after 2008's Ash Wednesday). When the archdiocese decides to close half a dozen parishes, including Father Dowling's, the congregation of St. Hilary's joins the priest in a campaign to prevent the action. Meanwhile, the discovery of a nude female body hanging from the cross strut of a garage door points to a ritual killing. More murders follow. The police, local reporters and Father Dowling get on a trail that comes dangerously close to the Devere family, longtime church benefactors who donated the magnificent Menotti stained-glass windows to St. Hilary's. The outcome will surprise even the most astute reader. Series fans will enjoy catching up with old friends, while everyone will find much to savor in the fresh and challenging plot. (Oct.)
Kirkus Reviews
Fox River parishioners face the closing of St. Hilary's. What's a cardinal to do when his flock diminishes and there are empty pews in too many churches? St. Hilary's, home to Father Dowling for 30 years, is on the endangered list. Its shaken cadre of senior citizens form a group called Save St. Hilary's ("Ssssh," notes one disgusted member). Even more appalled is nonagenarian Jane Devere, whose forebears were not only among the parish's first worshipers but donors of the handsome stained-glass windows by Peoria artist Angelo Menotti. If anything can save St. Hilary's, it will be those windows. Jane has commissioned a book on Menotti's church art, antagonizing other family board members by paying for it from the sizable Devere Trust. Is someone antagonistic enough to kill? When people start dying, there seems to be a link to the publishing house. Fox River Tribune reporters Tetzel and Rebecca nose around; lawyers Tuttle and Cadbury defend various clients; and a beautiful young Adonis keeps popping up under different names, some known to the Merchant Marine, others to the warden at Joliet. Meanwhile, Father Dowling remains calm even as the body count threatens to surpass the dwindling numbers of his congregation. Despite the use of a notorious genre cliche to resolve all those murders, an affable, at times witty tale that will undoubtedly please the many fans of the Illinois cleric (The Wisdom of Father Dowling, 2009, etc.).
From the Publisher
Praise for Ralph McInerny’s Father Dowling Mysteries

“Father Dowling’s twenty-seventh gently probes questions of guilt, intention, and absolution while having a bit of fun with small-town nattering.”

—-Kirkus Reviews on Ash Wednesday

“In his usual gentle, thoughtful way, Father Dowling makes compassionate decisions. . . . Readers who long for a down-to-earth story of ordinary people and events will be well rewarded.”

—-Publishers Weekly on Ash Wednesday

“This series continues to deliver, with a fascinating protagonist, intelligent plotting, and dry humor.”

—-Booklist on The Widow’s Mate

“Father Dowling is not the average priest. . . . He has been through the mill himself, is tough, yet has compassion.”

—-The New York Times Book Review

“You don’t have to go to church to worship mystery lovers’ esteemed Father Dowling.”

—-Entertainment Weekly

“Mystery at its bloodless, cerebral best . . . Dowling is the perfect father confessor, dealing with moral dilemmas and the weakness of man with compassion and understanding.”

—-The Chicago Tribune

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781429987837
  • Publisher: St. Martin's Press
  • Publication date: 10/13/2009
  • Series: Father Dowling Mysteries , #28
  • Sold by: Macmillan
  • Format: eBook
  • Edition description: First Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 288
  • Sales rank: 545,223
  • File size: 316 KB

Meet the Author

Ralph McInerny has authored more than fifty books, including his popular mystery series set at the University of Notre Dame, where he has taught for more than fifty years and is the director of the Jacques Maritain Center. The recipient of the Bouchercon Lifetime Achievement Award, he has also been appointed to the President’s Committee on the Arts and the Humanities. He lives in South Bend, Indiana.

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Read an Excerpt

Stained Glass

Part One


Tetzel of the Fox River Tribune sat morosely in the pressroom at the courthouse seriously contemplating taking the pledge. He could remember the night before up to a certain point and then things went blank. He had come awake with a sore neck and a throbbing headache sitting at his desk in the pressroom and had no idea how he had ended up there. His hand lifted to massage his brow and tipped his hat from his head. When he stooped to pick it up off the floor, he nearly blacked out. The hat kept moving away from his groping hand. He sat back in his chair, hatless, and closed his eyes. Someone entered.

"The top of the morning to you, Tetzel."

There was no need to open his eyes to know that it was Tuttle. He heard the little lawyer collapse in a chair whose squeak went through Tetzel's nervous system like a laser.

"Stop rocking, damn it."

"You're not feeling well."

"Could you whisper?"

"You should have left when I did, Tetzel."

The reporter opened one eye, the one nearer to Tuttle. "Were you there?"

"Everyone was there."

"When did you leave?"

"Just after my curfew."

Tetzel considered asking Tuttle where "there" was, or had been, but he was at enough of a disadvantage already. "I feel awful."

"Better come across the street."

For a remedial drink? Minutes before, Tetzel would have found the suggestion emetic. Now it seemed only sensible. "Hand me my hat."

Tuttle swept it up and stood. He put the hat on Tetzel's head and helped him rise. He guided the reporter down the hall to the elevator, steered him inside, and pressed a button. Tetzel felt that he was leaving his stomach on the floor they had left. His body broke out in a cold sweat. Vague memories of sobriety teased his mind. Once he had been a clearheaded reporter, a model for youngsters, a legend because of the novel he was allegedly writing. They arrived safely on the ground floor; the doors slid open, and Tetzel hung back. Before him, in the lobby of the courthouse, were busy men and women, hurrying this way and that. Tetzel was sure that each and every one of them could give a clear account of the way he had spent the previous night. Tuttle urged him forth, and they crossed the black and white marble squares to the revolving doors. They actually entered together, a tight fit, but Tetzel wondered if he would have dared the door on his own.

Outside was more normalcy, sunlight, traffic, horns, the usually inaudible roar of the city. Tuttle wisely took his charge to the corner, and they crossed with the light. Ahead lay the friendly confines of the Jury Room.

Once inside, Tuttle's grip on his arm loosened and Tetzel moved like a zombie toward a far booth, as far from sunlight as any in the room. At the bar, Tuttle ordered a Coke for himself and a Bloody Mary for Tetzel. The bartender was watching Tetzel. The reporter looked as if he were one of the Flying Wallendas negotiating a ropehigh above a circus audience. His arms were extended for better balance.

"He going to be sick?"

"He is sick."

"Put him in the men's room."

"Now, now, Portia, that's no way to treat a steady customer."

"He isn't steady."

"He will be."

Tuttle swept up the drinks, called, "Tetzel's tab," over his shoulder, and walked carefully to the booth. He put Tetzel's drink before him and slid into the seat across from him. The reporter was contemplating the Bloody Mary.

"Tell me about last night."

"What's to tell?"

"You don't remember," Tetzel said accusingly. He lowered his lips to the plastic straw and his cheeks hollowed. He inhaled half the drink before sitting back. A moment passed. Color came back to Tetzel's face. Another moment and he sighed. "I needed that."

Tuttle advised against a repetition of the remedy. With his synapses responding, Tetzel was inclined to dispute the point. Tuttle opened the newspaper he had taken from the bar, turning the pages with an indifference that annoyed Tetzel.

"Good Lord," Tuttle cried.

"What?" Tetzel asked, trying to signal Portia.

"They plan to tear down St. Hilary's."

STAINED GLASS. Copyright © 2009 by Ralph McInerny. All rights reserved. Printed in the United States of America. For information, address St. Martin's Press, 175 Fifth Avenue, New York, N.Y. 10010.

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Customer Reviews

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Sort by: Showing all of 3 Customer Reviews
  • Posted September 21, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    This is the best Father Dowling mystery in several years

    The Archdiocese decides to close down several parishes whose congregation has diminished. Among them is St. Hilary's of Fox River, Illinois. The priest Father Dowling understands the economics behind the decision, but worries for his flock. The St. Hilary's members and Father Dowling hope (and pray) they can save their church and begin an effort to do so, the "Save St. Hilary's movement.

    A nude female body is found hanging from the cross strut of a garage door. The police believe a ritual perhaps satanic homicide occurred. As the cops, reporters Tetzel and Rebecca and Father Dowling investigate they find a link to the divided Devere family. The nonagenarian matriarch Jane has used trust fund money to hire an author to write a book on Menotti's church art to include a stained glass window provided to St. Hilary's by her family; other Devere kin are outraged by her generosity, which apparently surfaces with more murders occurring.

    This is the best Father Dowling mystery in several years as the amateur sleuth struggles with the impact of the economy most likely closing his church and the homicides that seem tied to the one of the deadly sins, avarice. The story line is intelligent although Father Dowling follows his usual method to solving felonies, but the back stories of the impact of the economy and the changing demographics of Fox River provide a terrific fresh look at St. Hilary's and the church surviving in a modern world.

    Harriet Klausner

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    Posted November 8, 2011

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    Posted January 8, 2012

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