St. Patrick's Gargoyle

Katherine Kurtz, Author Ace Books $21.95 (240p) ISBN 978-0-441-00725-7
Young adults will best appreciate this light, sentimental fantasy about the gargoyles who watch over the churches of Dublin, whether Catholic, Protestant or deconsecrated, from bestselling veteran Kurtz (the Deryni series, etc.). More mature readers, on the other hand, may be put off by the simplistic story and the slack pace. The city's gargoyles meet monthly on a moonless night and, like good Irishmen, bemoan change and the loss of the good old days. When vandals break into St. Patrick's Church, Paddy, its resident gargoyle, calls on old Templeton, a Knight of Malta who drives an ancient Rolls Royce for weddings, to help him apprehend the miscreants. Paddy also brings to life the Rolls Royce's hood ornament, which Templeton tells him is a gryphon, not a gargoyle. Investigating the scene of the crime with his thirtyish policeman godson, Marcus Cassidy, Templeton finds Death's Deputy at the church, expecting his due. In a nice touch, Paddy argues with the deputy to allow the old man more time to discover who's behind the break-in. Heavy in its piety and exposition of Celtic history, this novel is a determined tourist guide to Dublin sites; however, James Joyce did some of the same thing, and Ulysses is still going strong. (Feb. 6)
Reviewed on: 02/01/2001
Release date: 02/01/2001
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