IRISH COFFEE by Ralph McInerny

IRISH COFFEE

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KIRKUS REVIEW

Notre Dame scoreboard: 1 dead fiancé, 1 dead fiancée, 1 unacknowledged fiancée.

The Knight brothers—Roger, a corpulent Notre Dame literature professor, and Phil, a semi-retired South Bend shamus—enjoy spending bachelor evenings schmoozing with Fighting Irish assistant sports information director Fred Neville. Nothing personal, just discourses on long-dead scholars and long-past athletic achievements, which come to an abrupt end with the death of Fred and the memorial service surprise—the appearance of his two fiancées, sports color commentator Naomi, brandishing a corker of an engagement ring, and regents’ departmental secretary Mary, bravely attired in widow’s weeds. Did Fred, unable to decide between them, poison himself? Surely an unlikely fate for a practicing Catholic. More likely Naomi’s virulently anti–Notre Dame brother Tom doctored his coffee. Or his jealous assistant Anthony added strychnine to the canister. Or one of the girls, presumably the one he was in the process of dumping, doctored the grinds. While Roger and Phil help Lieutenant Stewart sort through e-mails, diary poems, and mild late-night debaucheries, poor Naomi pours herself a cup of coffee in Fred’s apartment and keels over dead, neatly eliminating herself as prime suspect and necessitating a bit of trash talk to unravel this tale of unrequited love.

The Knight Brothers have handled more complicated cases (Celt and Pepper, 2002, etc.) with more polished resolutions, but most readers will be converted to die-hard Notre Dame fans and possibly even Catholicism.

Pub Date: Nov. 10th, 2003
ISBN: 0-312-30901-5
Page count: 288pp
Publisher: Minotaur
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1st, 2003




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