The Sacrifice

William X. Kienzle, Author Andrews McMeel Publishing $22.95 (288p) ISBN 978-0-7407-1226-5
The latest in the author's long-running series of didactic mysteries featuring Detroit priest Father Robert Koesler (following Till Death) restores a better balance between mystery and religion. As usual, a thorny religious issue is at the center of things, and Kienzle has posited a doozy. Father George Wheatley, an Episcopal priest of some renown, has undertaken to convert to Roman Catholicism. That decision has caused great consternation in Wheatley's family as well as shock in the Episcopal and Roman communities. In addition to continuing to flog the changes wrought by Vatican II, the author explores such issues as the differences and similarities between Anglicans, Episcopalians and Romans (all of whom consider themselves Catholics), and whether Catholic priests should be permitted to marry and women allowed to become priests. Sharing center stage, and danger, with Wheatley are Father Koesler, who has befriended him during his conversion, and Father Zachary Tully, whose church will be the site of Wheatley's ordination. Plenty of folk are opposed to Wheatley's ordination, including his (Episcopal) priest son, Ron; his seminarian daughter, Alice; and various lay and clerical Roman Catholics who see Wheatley's conversion as one more assault on their venerable church. When a murderer strikes before the ordination can take place, Koesler and the police must scramble to unmask someone willing to kill for his or her beliefs. In a series that has not been aging well, this is a refreshingly strong entry. (Apr. 1)
Reviewed on: 11/29/1999
Release date: 12/01/1999
Genre: Fiction
Paperback - 320 pages - 978-0-345-48298-3
Mass Market Paperbound - 312 pages - 978-0-449-00712-9
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