cover image Book of Kills

Book of Kills

Ralph M. McInerny. Minotaur Books, $23.95 (288pp) ISBN 978-0-312-20346-7

Fans of academic whodunits will find much to chuckle over in this fourth Notre Dame mystery (On This Rockne, etc.) from the creator of Father Dowling, featuring the sleuthing Knight brothers, the hulking Roger and private detective Philip. A series of pranks, including the kidnapping of the chancellor, has alarmed the Notre Dame administration, and the Knight brothers get the call to investigate. The various shenanigans seem somehow related to the claim by a group of Native Americans that the land on which the famed university stands was stolen from them and should be returned. A longtime history graduate student, Orion Plant, has uncovered information in the course of his dissertation research that allegedly bolsters this claim. But when Plant turns up dead, the Knight brothers have to delve even deeper to discover who had the most compelling motive to murder him. Does Plant's long-delayed dissertation have anything to do with his death? Could his long-suffering wife, waitress Marcia Younger, have finally tired of his dallying with Professor Otto Ranke's daughter, Laverne, and done him in? And what about the unsolved murders of a number of Native Americans in South Bend years before? The Knights have to sniff down many trails in order to find the right answer. McInerny has fashioned another deft and mordantly witty excursion into the rarefied atmosphere of Notre Dame. (Sept.)