Till Death

William X. Kienzle, Author Andrews McMeel Publishing $19.95 (288p) ISBN 978-0-7407-0489-5
With 21 previous Father Koesler mysteries to Kienzle's credit, it might be hard to deny that the 22nd (following No Greater Love) belongs to the same genre. But while this latest follows familiar ground in exploring the still-widening rifts in the Church caused (or revealed) by Vatican II, it departs from form by not including a conventional crime. Years before, after leaving the Detroit parish of St. Ursula's, Fr. Robert Koesler established the St. Ursula Survivors Club, to help salve the wounds and heal the souls of those priests and nuns who served as assistants under the despotic Father Angelico, who is now dead but whose victims still suffer from psychic scars. Among the dwindling members of the club are Fr. Rick Casserly, a popular and socially conscious pastor; Lillian ""Lil"" Niedermier, a lay principal of a parochial school; and Dora Ricardo, a nun turned reporter. In defiance of official church policy, Father Rick and Lil carry on a secret affair. When Dora begins to take a romantic interest in Rick, matters become even more difficult. Only death can bring any resolution. Kienzle's characters usually serve didactic purposes, and here they demonstrate changes in love and marriage and the clergy. Unfortunately, these figures lack the substance to lift the story to tragedy, nor does the novel boast sufficient suspense to succeed as a mystery. Some of Kienzle's fans may appreciate his ability to illustrate issues that confound many American Roman Catholics, but most will find little to cheer. (Apr.)
Reviewed on: 02/28/2000
Release date: 03/01/2000
Mass Market Paperbound - 304 pages - 978-0-449-00713-6
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