ABRACADAVER by Ralph Mclnerny


Email this review


Roger Dowling, the quiet priest of St. Hilary's in Fox River, near Chicago (The Basket Case, etc.), is puzzled when Aggie Miller, one of his parishioners, shows off a ring bought at a garage sale, inscribed "To FG from AG." Frances, wife of prosperous builder Arthur Grice, has been missing for weeks, and public opinion--sympathetic at the start--is turning cynical as rumors surface of an affair between Arthur and his project director, Pamela Mather. When Aggie is found stabbed to death in her kitchen, it's obvious to Dowling that the killer was after the ring--and his old friend police chief Phil Keegan agrees--but the search for Frances goes nowhere until an anonymous phone call leads Keegan to her body, hidden on the Grice estate. As the police struggle to make a case against Arthur Grice, and Dowling attends the deathbed of rich, converted Catholic Willis Wirth, new developments throw a spotlight on Grice's elegant Ethiopian secretary Madaleva. Wirth's lawyer Amos Tuttle insists on reading his client's will to Father Dowling, since St. Hilary's is one of the legatees. What he hears puts the priest hot on the murderer's trail--to a highly unlikely confrontation and an even less convincing result. Mildly intriguing for much of the way, the story finally succumbs to its artificial plot devices but remains blandly readable to the end. Dowling fans won't be disappointed.

Pub Date: March 20th, 1989
ISBN: 312-02533-5
Publisher: St. Martin's
Review Posted Online: