All comments, contributions or corrections welcomed - but please remember: I am NOT the author of any of these books!
"Trying to work out which books featured Cadfael's son. I loved the site - just what i was looking for, so thank you!" (Sue Evans)
"I am so glad you included (to a few raised eyebrows, no doubt) my late friend and former colleague, Kyril Bonfiglioli, on this excellent website.
'"Please note that the Father Ananda Mysteries you cover on your site are currently being republished in brand new re-edited Kindle and paperback editions by Crime Wave Press." (Tom Vater, Crime Wave Press co-owner)
"Thanks for all the information.Is it possible to obtain any of the Rabbi Small books? I have Friday the Rabbi slept late." (Pat Whittle)
"I came across your site while researching James Hiram Watson (a GGG uncle). You noted that you would appreciate more detail on his life. He resigned the ministry in 1883, so he did not commence work as an author until after his resignation." (Christine)
"Thank you for this brilliant site. When I came across it I thought all my birthdays had come at once. I was looking for information about Sr.Fidelma. I have read books featuring about 50 of the detectives and am looking forward to introducing myself to so many more. I expect that many will be out of print but I will enjoy the search. Thanks again for such a wondrous resource." (Sandra)
"Wow Nice section on Father Dowling" (Sean)
"I am currently reading ' Sovereign ' C J Sanson. I was curious to see if Mathew Shardlake was an historical figure, or mere fiction." (Stan Oakley)
"I love to read historical mysteries and discovered Alexander Seaton in Waterstones. An amazing character and an exceptional plot. I have already downloaded the next two books on to my Kindle and will leave these to savour while I am away in Grand Canaria in two weeks time. Thank you so much for the enjoyment that you have given to me already." (David Cox)
"Thanks for the speedy response Philip (see below). Unfortunately I don't think this is the one. My recollection is that the book/ series was set in the 60s/ 70s and I can still picture the cover, if only I could come across an image ..." (Bradley McLaren)
Are you thinking of "Meet the Rev" by Gale Pedrick? This came from a radio series. (Philip Grosset)
"So glad to know of this site. I have also enjoyed the Notre Dame series by Ralph McInerny." (Joanne)
"Thank you so much for introducing me to Mark Schweizer and his character Hayden Konig. My sister in CA sent me the sheet music to "Poli Woli Doodle" and I'd never heard anything about Schweizer's comic whodunits, even tho he's been publishing for 10+ years." (Roberta Mouheb)
"Just wanted to say it's a great website. Not a huge murder mystery fan, but I've read a little bit. I just absolutely love the idea and execution of the site. I will definitely look up some of these authors, hail from Virginia, United States. Keep doing the good work!" (Hunter)
"I was fascinated to learn that I had a third child by my second partner. Where is he, my other two children ask. I would love to know. Perhaps you could enlighten me on this. A second point, I think your summation of my characterisation is absolute rubbish. Have you ever lived in village?" (Deryn Lake)
"Most useful site, thanks. I needed to find the correct order to read the Merrily Watkins series and your summaries are most helpful." (Paul Fulbrook)
"Any idea, or can you find out, if all of the Sister Joan titles will be made available for Kindle? I have just read the first novel, and I loved it. I can get the next 4, and am hoping the rest will be available at some point in the near future." (Elizabeth Mackman)
"Fabulous- discovered the books on my kindle & love them- so nice to have a Christian mystery- thank you!" (Coralie Duckworth)
"Hello again. I hope I'm not being a pest. I just discovered another United Methodist mystery in another of our publications. Wednesday Night Services by Rev. William Boyer. Detective is Rev. Hugh Derrick. There is at least one other. Available only on Kindle and Nook as best I can tell. I just ordered for my Nook." (Marsha Priesmeyer)
"Marilyn Brown Oden is the wife of a United Methodist bishop who has written at least one mystery (Dead Saint) about a bishop and his wife. As far as I know, she has only written the one mystery and I don't know if others are plannned. Her non-mystery novel provides the family history of characters in the mystery. I do hope she does more of the mysteries. She has a good set up and it is a shame to waste it. Actually, it is the bishop's wife who was the "detective"; she tried to keep him from knowing what was going on. I read about it a year or so ago in a denominational publication and read both books.
"Just wanted to say that I love your summary of Dom Camillo, I think you have done great justice both to the book and its author. Thank you." (Teresa)
"Just discovered the Gervase Fen mysteries. I love his eccentricities, brilliance, and the way everyone smoked back then. Never been to Oxford, would love to go there, it is described so well. I wish they had made movies of the books, I'm not aware of any. Don't think they would go over so well now, but, I can picture a young Jeremy Irons playing Gervase Fen. I normally stay away from current fiction, these books are a delight. Any good recommendations?" (Tom)
"Didn't Ralph McInerny write a book called "Death of a Donor"? I've been trying to track the book down for years, with no success. Have you ever heard of it? Thanks!" (Anne Wolfe)
"looking for information on old book. I have a Penguin book By H.H.Holmes-Nine Times Nine-1945." (Linda)
"I loved your books and swift mind. I happened to open "The chatter of Maids" and fell in love. It saddens me that you have retired the good nun, but all good things must come to an end. Thank you for giving me a fresh breath of cool air and a chance to laugh at good clean humor. Kudos." (Rose Patterson)
"Thanks for your intelligent and non-partisan review of Jan Guillou's Crusades Trilogy. So often online I find only shallow plot summaries or hard-sell promotion masquerading as reviews (these feel as if they're written with the publisher and author looking over the reviewer's shoulder). Thanks too for your similarly honest and eye-opening bio of Jan Guillou, also not standard fare.
"I really enjoy reading the mystery and crime. I find them very entertaining to read." (Irene Woodruff)
"Liked the Simon Quinn books very much. Wish he would write more. Also read Polar Star and enjoyed it. Could not get into other books." (Robert Hopkins)
"Just thank you for such penetrating reviews. I am an Aberdeen exile pleased to have found by chance a book set in Aberdeen (Crucible) I shall try it & then, assuming I enjoy it, follow your advice and buy the 1st book, perhaps giving the 2nd a miss!" (Mike Lawrie)
"Was looking for some info about D M Greenwood having just chanced on one of her books in audiobook format.Chasing through your list of clerical sleuths I wondered whether Phil Rickman's Merrily Watkins qualifies ? Not a detective in the orthodox sense but there's often some kind of crime lurking amidst the paranormal manifestations." (Mike Vawdry)
Philip, Thanks for the review of my novel The First Stone. One of the delights of publishing in the e-book format is that corrections and edits can be adapted. You are the second vote for eliminating the extended preview, which is now only the first three paragraphs. Spelling errors (at least 5 were caught) and the comment by the boyfriend near the end has been clarified. As for whether contemporary clergy actually deal with the kinds of things raised here, the answer is: Yes, they really do. Thanks for a quick and very helpful review. Your voice counts. You are added to my thanks list. (Robert Reid)
"You write re. Father Dowling: He is told, "About all you can get is someplace no one else wants", but, aged almost 50, is happy to accept the downtown and neglected parish of St Hilary's in Fox River, where the pastor had died several months before. It was "a parish that had fallen on evil days, the interstates having isolated the parish plant in a triangle bordered by incessant noise. Can you possibly confirm the late pastor's name? Sounds like Hanicker on the TV, but I have no reference and need it for subtitling. Thanks for any soonest assistance".
"Good reading. Became engrossed in the history and geography of Vault of Bones. Later I found out that there a previous book, Relics, and also one after V of B. I will definitely get those books as well." (Andy Beltrame)
"Was just browsing through a book when i came across a article by kyril bonfiglioli i remember reading his books about 20 yrs ago really enjoyed them im just about to order some of his novels again . A trip down memory lane." (Ken Jones)"
"Your guestbook on Clerical Detectives doesn't seem to be sending so I'm using the direct method. Edmund Crispin should have been an early post-modernist but had too many personal foibles to make a real go of it. I'm grateful to your synopses which save me the trouble of reading the books. I did read Holy Disorders twice, at different stages of my life.
"Would you know where I could get a copy of a prayer book called 'Days of Praise' by William Brodrick? Thank you." (Maryan Lisle, Australia)
"Thank you for the info and review of Irene Allen's Quaker mystery series. I read them a number of years ago and really enjoyed them. I had hopes she would continue writing the series, yet there have been no more. Do you know why she stopped writing them? Thank you." (Carol Ketler)
"I liked Father Crumlish's stories very much. It is a pity that Alice Scanlon Reach is underestimated." (Ruy Furst)
"I am very happy to find this site. Clergy myself, just retired, I am now working on my own mysteries and will find your handy collection invaluable. Since we clergy live with mystery-- that is of people's lives shared with us in confidence--maybe that's why so many of us enjoy good mystery/crime stories, and turn up in them as well.
"Currently the only existing, I believe, on-line version of Charles Smith's very funny book "How to become a bishop without being religious" is on a Christian Identity website. I can only assume that God has quite a sense of humor. This is at: http://www.sheldonemrylibrary.com/becomeabishop.htm
"I love the Merrily Watkins books of Phil Rickman, and agree that apart from the main characters, a lot of the players are not well characterised. But they are still a cracking read. On number 6 next." (Gary Robinson)
"Thank you for your summaries of each of the Brother Cadfael mysteries by Ellis Peters. You have a gift for describing the book without giving away the plot. And for choosing some of the good text for quotes. I read one or two books before realizing there is a series of 20. I listen to the audiobooks. I appreciate the historical setting of these books, as well as life in an abbey.
"I have just started reading your book, how simple and fantastic a story so far. I like the idea that the Rev can be a naughty boy considering we think of them as being angelic. What gave you the idea of the Reverand being this way? Do you manage to keep a strict timetable when working if so how?
"Thank you for writing your mysteries. I am presently using them to introduce a friend to Quakerism. She now is expressing an interest in coming to Meeting with me. Thank thee." (Peggyan Noel)
"Enjoyed Venice Conspiracy so much!" (Sandra)
"i would like to do a Merrily tour, i wondered if you had an itinary to all the relevant sites i also have Merrily's Borders and the straight track i live in Istanbul Turkey so i am not really good at the border geography regards." (Emine Selbes)
"I have just settled down to re read Which Doctor...I don't remember it much except that it was one of the most enjoyable mysteries I have ever found...witty and articulate writing." (Linda Whitehead)
"I've just finished the 24th of Wm Kienzle Fr. Koesler books - I've loved them, and am so sorry to hear there will be no more." (Lucille)
"Love to read about Cape Cod and picked one up out of curiosity. Just finished all 4 and am waiting impatiently for the next. When can we expect it?" (Bill)
"In which of the books did Helewise leave the Abbey? I am now reading 'The Rose of the World', and am totally lost." (Bonnie Connel)
"Thanks for putting together some information on the elusive Edward Candy. Wish someone would re-issue the detectve novels as I still find them very good." (Margaret McDermott)
"I hope some one will make a movie of This Present Darkness. I read this book over 20 years ago and it is one the best books ever written on Spiritual warfare." (Connie Antwine)
"I loved Sixth Lamentation and now I am a Brodrick fan. Will immediately look for your next two novels. The name Fr. Anselm is very dear to me because my college voice teacher/choir director was Fr. Anselm. I am also a history nut so I loved stories that are based on facts and times in history. Sixth was so wonderful, and I was so moved by the rich writing. Thank you!!!" (Faye Miller)
"I'm enjoying Cyril Hare's 'An English Murder' more than almost any English mystery I've read. It's delightfully witty and interesting, especially when read after 'The Remains of the Day' by KIshiguro, which it resembles." (Conor)
"Thanks for the information. It was useful. I didn't run in to much information on Post, as he seems to be sinking into obscurity." (Joel Mielke)
"A total mystery buff, I discovered The Rosary Murders in '79 and read every new book since. I love mystery books that teach things as well a present puzzles. I had long given up on organized religion but Father Koesler's version of God brought me back from atheist to at least agnostic. Kienzle had a wonderful way with parables and an incredible insight into human motivation and behavior. How sad that he will write no more." (Debra Davies)
"Great site. Thanks! I had no idea there were so many clergy detectives in literature." (Andy McClung)
"While doing family tree research I discovered an ancestor named Ebenezer Buckle, then found that in fact he had several relatives with the same name all living in Buckinghamshire over the years. I wonder whether the author borrowed the name from a real family?" (Angela Woodgates)
"I am just beginning to read The Chorister at the Abbey and love the setting and the exciting gifted writing, and I appreciate the music theme:) I am saddened to hear in Suzy's review you may not yet be a believer in Christ though. I am a writer, of course, finding it difficult to break through to have a first book published .... would love your help or reference." (Susan Harrison)
"Will In Charms Way be published? If so, when can I expect it at my local book store? I am really in love with Maggie and Marcus and Liss and all the other characters in these books.I have and have read and reread all of them.Thank you." (Gail Henry)
"I like your site very much -- thank you." (Chris)
"I love the Michael Jecks Templar Series and was recommended to read Maureen Ash. I finished Alehouse Murders and started Squire. 12/13th century mysteries fascinate me. Love the historical fiction genre." (Bea Strong)
"I had decided to reread the Reverend Randollph series and was trying to find some more information on Charles Merrill Smith, and your site came up. I hope to do a blog post on the initial book for the "Forgotten Books Friday" seires. It's an interesting trip back into the 1970s, when mainline Protestant churches had so much more prominence, and were struggling with changing attitudes towards sexuality.
"Naturally I disagree with your ranking of Innes' books--how could I not? While I totally agree that the much admired "Lament for a Maker" is virtually unreadable (though the brief part set in Australia is good---Innes lived there from 1935-1940), "Appleby on Aarat" is one of my favorites. Yes, the story is absurd, but there is much in it to savor, for instance, the relationship between Appleby and the Australian woman, who is described as being "like a good linoleum, which wears the same all through." Remember how she drags the various unconscious ship survivors into the shifting shade of the sail?" (E Babcock)
"It's interesting to find someone who likes the Sister Fidelma series and yet can be critical when needed. I, too, find the layers of Irish heritage for one character distracting." (M E Kemp)
"Thank you, thank you, thank you!! I was too stupid to take down the name of the delightful detective Catherine Levendeur or the author, Sharan Newman, the first time I read one of the books. Finally I can read some more of these wonderful stories thanks to your website." (Kris)
"As a man of mathematics, I have always enjoyed books about detection during my 87 years. Today, there is a wealth of detective fiction that is founded on historical fact, and that is where my current reading lies. I've been wading through books by the members of the Medieval Murderers, over the past few years, and I have three books, and an ebook by Susanna Gregory on my desk as I write. Tonight, I am building up my information about this excellent author from the internet. Best wishes frm Tropical North Queensland." (Arthur)
"Thanks for the summaries of Brodrick's novels. I'm reading A Whispered Name. Just loving it. It combines several of my pet interests: the Great War, legal matters/court martials and problems of religious convictions and spirituality. Great writer too!" (Bernadette Trotter)
"Looking to see if there was a new Sister Agatha: Love sister Agatha. Please write more."(mary rogge)
"Possibly I did not see all your stuff--I saw a lot about nuns. As far as I could see, You didn't evven mention G. K. Chesterton's Father Brown." (Rima Segal)
"I read there was a Jesuit program in Seattle that trains lay people in the art of spiritual direction. Is that true?" (Timothy G Verkist)
"Hi, I've just discovered your site. Do you know of any Reformed/Presbyterian detectives? Thanks." (David A)
"So much information ... a real delight to browse through it!! My compliments." (Alex)
"Loved it. Did you include the series where a lawyer investigated dark doings at monasteries etc in the reformation for his boss Cromwell? (I cant remember but I did like it and think it counts)." (Robyn Campbell)
"I have another author and character to commend to you. The author is Judith Rock and that character is Maitre Charles duLuc, a Jesuit master in 17th century Paris, He is a former musketeer (English spelling) as well as a ballet instructor. DuLuc appears in The Rhetoric of Death and The Eloquence of Blood (Berkley Press). They are well written and historically fascinating. Rhetoric of Death deals with the Huguenots and consequences of the Edict of Nantes." (Rev Phil White)
"Hello. Re Montague Egg: 'Plummet[sic] and Rose (signifying death and resurrection)...' BUT "Plummer" later! I don't have the book to hand, but surmise that a light scrambling may have occurred. Kind regards, Barry McAleenan".
Goodness, no Bishop Blackie? Greeley writes a lot & seems to be somewhat obssessed with sex; the earlier novels are more intense and complicated; the more recent are frankly light-hearted pot-boilers and I like them better. I loved the site but was very startled to realise that my collection - and a recent move had every single removalist muttering "I've never SEEN so many bookcases" - has barely skimmed this rich subgenre." (Diane Campbell, Australia)
You'll find that Bishop Blackie is listed under his original full name: Father Blackie Ryan. (Philip Grosset)
"Forthcoming clerical detectives include the Reverend Tom Christmas in C.C. Benison's Twelve Drummers Drumming and the Reverend Max Tudor in G.M. Malliet's Wicked Autumn." (David Blackwater)