cover image Abracadaver


Ralph M. McInerny. St. Martin's Press, $14.95 (164pp) ISBN 978-0-312-02533-5

For the 12th time, McInerny amazes and amuses with a secular adventure of Fr. Dowling of St. Hilary's, Fox River, Ill. The elderly audience at the parish center is excited by the tricks played by a visiting magician. Dowling's curiosity, though, is excited by the ring the entertainer borrows from Aggie Miller for his showiest stunt. When Aggie is murdered later, the priest joins his friend, Capt. Phil Keegan of Homicide, to find a link between the victim and the ring, inscribed ``To FG from AG. Con amore.'' Arthur Grice, a wealthy contractor, says he had given it to his wife Frances, who has been missing for weeks. Despite the Grices' long and supposedly happy marriage, rumor now has it that ``AG'' disposed of ``FG'' and Aggie so he could go (``con amore'') to Pamela Mathers, his young employee. There are other aspects of the case that lead Dowling to a ``now you see it, now you don't'' display worthy of any professional prestidigitator. Mystery Guild selection. (Mar.)