THE ROSARY MURDERS by William X. Kienzle


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Remember I Confess, the moody Hitchcock film (with Montgomery Clift) about the priest who has heard a murderer's confession and cannot reveal it to the police? Ex-priest Kienzle now combines that old gimmick with a Catholic wrinkle in the mass-murder genre: a series of priests and nuns are being bumped off in pairs (one priest, one nun) during the Lenten season--on Ash Wednesday and each subsequent Friday leading up to Easter Sunday. The first murder is hardly a murder, more of an act of euthanasia, when somebody pulls the plug on a terminally ill priest in a life-support system. The second victim is a nun who is drowned in her bathtub. And so on, with a rosary woven through the fingers of the victim in every case. Then, after the first eight deaths, Father Koesler, a murder-mystery buff and editor of Detroit Catholic, is visited in the confessional by a weeping man who hates the Church because his daughter committed suicide when her confession of incest with dad was received with insensitivity. This fellow is clearly the killer, but, despite the warning of two more murders for Good Friday, Koesler must remain mute until he figures out a rationale for the crime-solving that doesn't depend on knowledge gained in the confessional. With the genial Catholic jokes and a sex-hungry reporter, this seems designed for an audience that's steeped in religion but turned on by a few of the deadly sins.

Pub Date: April 1st, 1979
Publisher: Andrews & McMeel