Books by Monica Quill

Released: July 1, 2001

Not content with the four mystery series he's currently keeping afloat, Ralph McInerny offers a retrospective of four novellas and three short stories about Sister Mary Teresa Dempsey, of the Order of Mary and Martha ("the M & M's"), first published between 1988 and 1997 under the female pseudonym vainly intended to keep his name from appearing so often before the public. Though the problems may be earthy—a suspicious hit-and-run accident, a planned spouse-killing, a terrorist threatening the cop who put her away—the detection is as well-bred as you'd expect from the creator of Father Dowling (Triple Pursuit, p. 219, etc.). Read full book review >
HALF PAST NUN by Monica Quill
Released: July 13, 1997

Sister Mary Teresa Dempsey (sometimes called Emtee), aged but sharp as ever, presides over the remnants of Chicago's Order of the Sisters of Martha and Mary and its onetime college. All that's left, in the wake of Vatican II, is a Frank Lloyd Wright house on Walton Street and a lake property in Michigan. Living in the house with Emtee, but wearing modern dress, are nuns Joyce and Kimberly, whose brother Richard Moriarity is in the Chicago police force. He's presently involved in the search for a serial killer of three young women, two found in nearby Schaumburg, where Joanne Leit, an alumna of the Order's college, runs the lushly funded library. She's arranged for Richard to give a talk on the much publicized case. There, he meets author Astrid Johansen, who wants to collaborate with Richard on a book about the murders. Another soon- to-appear speaker is Dr. Cecelia Vespartina, famous writer of self- help tomes who's expressed a wish to meet Emtee. Her advance woman Mitzi Earl visits at Walton St., only to be attacked in the street as she departs. Recovered and guarded by police at her hotel, she still falls prey to the killer but leaves behind a composite sketch that leads Richard, after the death of yet another victim, to the certain culprit. Not so certain is Emtee, whose theory that the murders are linked to the Order and its college has old friends concerned about her possible mental deterioration. Needless to say, it's Emtee who has the last word. A bizarre story—scarcely believable and weighted with subthemes—but written with grace and wry humor, and with enough jolts along the way to hold the reader's interest. Livelier than the previous eight in this series (Nun Plussed, 1993, etc.). Read full book review >
NUN PLUSSED by Monica Quill
Released: Sept. 7, 1993

Seventysomething historian Sister Mary Teresa Dempsey, head of Chicago's three-person remnant of the Holy Order of Martha and Mary, is as sharp as ever here (Sister Hood, etc.) and still capable of being upset by the waywardness of former students. One such is Margaret Nelson—wife of book dealer and restorer Gregory Doyle and mother of three grown children—who has divorced her gentle husband and is seeking adventure. The wrong kind seems to have found her when daughter Bernadette discovers her bludgeoned body in the house Margaret retained after the divorce. Sister Mary Teresa keeps a low profile through all of this, even through Gregory Doyle's patently false confession, until a second killing- -that of volatile antiquarian Professor Joseph Kotarski—prompts her to devise an elaborate trap for the out-of-left-field killer. One of the better efforts in this series from Quill (aka Ralph McInerny): cluttered and uncompelling but comfortable diversion. Read full book review >
SISTER HOOD by Monica Quill
Released: Aug. 19, 1991

Formidable Sister ``Emtee'' Dempsey heads the tiny remnant of the Order of Martha and Mary in Chicago, where an ambitious prosecutor is attempting to prove that deceased powerful, shady entrepreneur Iggy Moran had killed his young mistress Marilyn Derecho. Iggy's daughter Donna, once Marilyn's best friend, now a Carmelite nun in St. Louis, has come to Chicago to testify, staying with the three nuns of the Martha and Mary order in their Walton St. house—from which she disappears one early morning. The killing of salesman B.G. Briggs, peripherally involved in Donna's arrival at the Chicago airport, complicates the search for the missing nun. Her brother Randy and sister Lenore, now married to Joe Cremona, who'd once pursued Donna, deny knowing her whereabouts. The circumstances of her reappearance sets off a citywide scandal, a false arrest and a suicide until Emtee, with help from Sister Kim and TV reporter Linda Pastorini, gets it all straightened out. A contrived plot with some intriguing aspects that diminish to flat anticlimax in a welter of subplots and domestic trivia. Sporadically interesting and better than most in this series The Veil of Ignorance, etc.). Read full book review >