Monday, February 25, 2013

Till Death by William X Kienzle






I got this book for the A-Z Mystery Author Challenge.  I needed an author's last name that starts with an X. I could not find anything or anyone.

I don't think that I have even read anything by William X Kienzle before. His first novel The Rosary Murders was made into a movie starring Donald Sutherland.  He wrote 24 detective novels before is sudden death by a heart attack in 2001.


The movie poster

Donald Sutherland as Father Bob Koesler

I liked this book but I kept waiting for the death.  Every mystery has a death.  A person finally dies, by accident about 10 pages from the end.  The story centers around people that had worked at St. Ursula's. The priest there, Father Angelico, was a horrible man and a worse priest.  He treated everyone with disdain.  Most people were not religious enough for him.  I know how that feels! After his death, some priests started a club to commiserate with each other about what happened when they worked at St. Ursula's.  There were other members of this group besides priests, like a nun and a teacher.

Synopsis from Random House: For years, a little group of priests and nuns have struggled together to recover from the rule of virtual slavery imposed upon them by tyrannical Father Angelico, now thankfully gone to his reward. But for some of them the group is no longer a godsend. The ties that once bound beloved Father Rick Casserly, beautiful former nun Dora Ricardo, defrocked priest Jerry Anderson, and warm and lovely school principal Lil Niedermier unshakably to their church are becoming dangerously frayed by the human passions their faith denies them. No one foresees the terrible events that will soon leave one of them dead, and only Father Koesler, in the wisdom of his seventy years, grasps the shocking truth. . . .


An Excerpt: Never get sick on a Wednesday.

Why not?

Because the doctors and priests will be on the golf course.

Lil smiled at the memory of the old wheeze as she peeled strips of bacon from the package and slid them into the frying pan.

It was very much an "in" joke for Catholics of long standing who could count themselves well within the loop. Once upon a time, when Catholics fell ill a priest might be summoned as routinely as a doctor. While the doctor scribbled a prescription, the priest would confer the appropriate sacrament, and assure the family of his prayers as well as those of the other parishioners.

Nowadays, doctors don't make house calls, and priests, an ever more endangered species, are buffered from callers by answering services. Nonetheless, Wednesday is still a popular day off for those able to arrange it.

Lil wore only the top half of a man's pajamas. The man, still snoozing, wore the bottoms.

The sun was creeping into the basement studio apartment. The tiny dwelling comprised a kitchenette wall, one bath, and an all-purpose space that was foyer, living room, dining room, and bedroom.

This Wednesday in June promised to be a pleasant day, the type that invited one to get out and enjoy the weather. Many of those left behind at this suburban apartment complex after the majority went off to work--mostly mothers and young children--would gather poolside.

Not this couple.

Lil and Rick had to be extremely careful.

This caution did not concern Rick nearly as much as it did Lil.

He was by nature carefree, spontaneous, and relatively fearless. She envied him these traits. Still she feared they'd be found out. Her fear was more for him than it was for her. But she, too, had high stakes in their relationship.

After all, Lillian Niedermier was principal of St. Enda's elementary school. She wondered how long she would hold that position if it leaked out that she had for the past ten years been half of a significant-other relationship.

The marital status of parochial teachers and principals had been taken for granted in the era when Catholic schools were staffed almost totally by nuns. Religious brothers served a few schools; priests--Jesuits, Basilians and the like--taught at some other schools as well as at seminaries.  Read more here.

Pages: 279

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