Thursday, October 8, 2009

Book Review: STAINED GLASS by Ralph McInerny

Father Dowling returns in this series to head the cast of characters whose lives revolve around St. Hilary's, a Roman Catholic church in the small town of Rox River, Illinois. While he copes with rumors that St. Hilary's will be closed by the Bishop--not to mention the shenanigans of his anxious parishioners, Father Dowling is peripherally involved in the investigation of a young woman's murder.

McInerney's characterization of the Church and its inner workings is right on the money, which lends a credibility to the story that I enjoyed. He also has a dry sense of humor that makes some of his dialogue and narrative unexpectedly humorous.

The book is populated with numerous sub-plots and secondary characters and, unfortunately, I found myself more drawn to some of them than I was to the plight of Father Dowling and St. Hilary's. I also found the book's format of successive short scenes frustrating: each scene involved different characters and, just as I became absorbed, the scene ended and we switched to another set of characters. Some of the best scenes in the book, however, involved Agnes and Cy, the detectives investigating the murder. The twists and turns in that sub-plot were excellent.

Although I kept hoping to be more drawn to the characters and engaged by the author's writing style, I did enjoy the book.

My rating: (3 Star) It held my interest, but I didn’t mind doing other stuff in between readings. You’ll like it.

Stained Glass will be released in hardcover on October 13, 2009 by Minotaur Books - ISBN 978-0-312-58264-7. For more information, contact Anne Gardner, St. Martin's/Minotaur at (646) 307-5553 or

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