Another puzzle--perhaps the best one yet--for Father Roger DoMing, ex-alcoholic priest of St. Hilary's parish in Fox River,...

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SECOND VESPERS

Another puzzle--perhaps the best one yet--for Father Roger DoMing, ex-alcoholic priest of St. Hilary's parish in Fox River, Illinois. And Fox River has suddenly become a hotbed of literary goings-on--because it was the early home of the late Frank O'Rourke, whose lit-world position has been soaring since his death by suicide. Moreover, despite three wives and two sons, O'Rourke has left all rights in his work to sister Phyllis, who now lives in a slightly drunken haze in a Fox River mansion while the royalty proceeds roll in; also on the premises: Phyllis' stroke-crippled, speechless husband Emil; effeminate cook Kevin; and oddly intellectual gardener Herman. But then a young, handsome stranger named Paul Gardiner appears on the scene, clearly intent on getting his hands on every scrap of O'Rourke's literary remains--via seduction and blackmail he grabs a diary and (almost) an unfinished novel--and soon there's a death: Phyllis, murdered in her swimming pool. The obvious suspect? Gardiner, now revealed as O'Rourke's son. But Father Dowling has a more astute solution--leading to a nice last-minute twist. Still, the McInerny emphasis is, as ever, more on sensitive character study than on tricks and tension--and this absorbing case is a model of that quiet, fundamentally serious and gentle mystery approach. Well done.

Pub Date: July 24, 1980

ISBN: N/A

Page Count: -

Publisher: Vanguard

Review Posted Online: N/A

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 1980