REVEREND RANDOLLPH AND THE HOLY TERROR by Charles Merrill Smith

REVEREND RANDOLLPH AND THE HOLY TERROR

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KIRKUS REVIEW

In Rev. Randollph's fourth outing, the mystery is--more than ever--incidental to the socio-theology, even though Rev. R. is himself a near-victim of the ""Holy Terror."" This maniac has already killed three flawed clergymen (a preachy columnist, a radio gospelist, an anti-Vatican II priest), each of whom received a premurder poem about the dirty secret in his past. And now ex-footballer Randollph, just married to gorgeous Samantha (the Barbara Walters of Chicago TV) and about to be permanently installed as pastor of a posh Loop congregation, gets a similar death threat--presumably because of his stand against censorship of pornography. True, two murder attempts do ensue (a church shooting, cyanide in some steak tartare) before the dubiously motivated loony is unmasked. But there's virtually no detection, with more attention devoted to: debates on porno and the First Amendment; glimpses of pastoral pressures, politics, and diplomacy; celebrations of the Randollphs' sex life (in clean but purple prose) and of their butler's gourmet cooking; plus dialogues with Randollph's football chum Sticky, who, though college-educated, chooses to speak bad-imitation black dialect (""My church, we think God pretty strict, but He understand we human""). Genial and harmless--but more for fans of backstairs clerical chitchat than murder-mystery lovers.

Pub Date: Dec. 1st, 1980
Publisher: Putnam