cover image The Prudence of the Flesh: A Father Dowling Mystery

The Prudence of the Flesh: A Father Dowling Mystery

Ralph M. McInerny, . . St. Martin's Minotaur, $24.95 (272pp) ISBN 978-0-312-35144-1

In McInerny's tedious 25th Father Dowling mystery (after 2005's Blood Ties ), the detective-cum-priest is stunned when his old classmate, Gregory Barrett, now a popular NPR personality, is accused of a decades-old sexual dalliance with a parishioner. Dowling can't believe that Barrett fathered Madeline Murphy's child, but he knows that even an unfounded accusation could destroy his friend. Into the mix add Ned Bunting, an irksome aspiring author who hopes to get famous by writing a book about clerical sexual scandals. When Bunting's body washes ashore on Lake Michigan, no one mourns. But who killed him? Was it Barrett, or some other priest, trying to squelch Bunting's exposé? The book, though timely, is so heavy on dialogue that it reads almost like a screenplay. Too little attention to scene-setting and two-dimensional characters won't win the series new fans. (Aug.)