All comments, contributions or corrections welcomed - but please give your full (real) name and remember: I am NOT the author of any of these books!
"I recently discovered a book I have owned for years but never read, "The Day the Rabbi Resigned" by Harry Kemelman. I pulled it from the shelf to begin reading but decided to search the web for the chronological order to determine if it's best to read them in that order. I seem to remember the book I have is about mid-way down the list. Thank you for this wonderful blog; it is very informative. I am not a fan of mystery series, but perhaps this is because I haven't read the "cream of the crop." (Linda Foshee)
"Your information about "Stephen Chance" and his real-life name and career, and the details about the "Septimus" mysteries are excellent. I came across the first two "Septimus" mysteries years ago, and then found the "Philip Turner" information in the St.James Press book on "Twentieth Century Children's Writers". I especially like Turner's "Colonel Sheparton's Clock", which has the same kind of adventure-mystery thrill as John Buchan's "The Thirty-Nine Steps". I wrote to Turner, asking further questions, and he very kindly replied, in detail. He ought to be better known!" (John Gough)
"I actually know of your site because of your writing on Sister Carol Anne O' Marie. I was getting concerned when I when I wasn't seeing any other books by her. Sad to learn that she passed away. I love to read. I can no longer do this for myself due to Glaucoma. Is there an index or other tool to learn which are e-books, that my voiceover screen reader can read to me, or in audio format (hopefully in MP3 or MP4 format) so I can borrow or own the books? Thanks." (Christine Fitzgerald, USA))
"Hello! I noticed there was no Russian Orthodox priests. Is there no Novel about them? Kindly, Kerstin Dahlqvist."
"David Dickinson's "Death of a Chancellor" does not have a clerical detective but is set in the Church and you might like it. In this case Chancellor is a high cathedral official, as you are probably aware. (Spoiler alert). Unusual story - the murderer is the Dean, as there is a conspiracy amongst the senior clerics to reconsecrate a cathedral as a Catholic cathedral, and those who wouldn't join in were burnt, beheaded or quartered in mimicry of the fate of the monks during the Dissolution of the monastaries." (Diane Campbell)
'What a usful site. I have been introduced to lots of good books thanks to you." (Dr William Fleming)
"Magnificent! Thank you so much for all your hard work. What a gold mine! I think religion in a mystery adds another level, especially the funny ones. Thank you, again - Liz." (Liz Davenport)
"I am in the middle of Monday the Rabbi Took Off byHarry Kemelman. I had read most of the series many years ago. I am enjoying the book very much and I thought I'd like to know more about the author. Thanks for your bio and comments about the author, his books, and some of his philosophy." (Susan Robertson)
"Thanks for the reviews of Matthew Head's Mary Finney books. I found The Congo Venus at a thrift store (which might not be too far off from where the original Venus might have ended up) and have been ferreting out the rest of Mr. Head's books. I agree with your final comments on Murder at the Flea Club. There was something lacking in that book, as if the ending were rushed. Or, that Mary Finney was only there as a cardboard cutout of herself, something for Hooper to talk at rather than to. I'll probably still read the book again; I do enjoy the style and complexities of the writing, but I'm far more likely to pull Cabinda or Devil off the shelf first." (Carol Mckenzie)
"I loved this page and grateful for finding it. I cannot find/afford the books I want to read of simon quinn aka martin cruz smith and this is the only place I could find the books plots/summaries. Thanks." (Bharathy)
"I had forgotten all about Don Camillo (I had read one or two of his stories over 50 years ago) until a chance conversation I had today. I didn't know that there more stories nor did I know that there was film. Thank you for reawakening my interest." (Quentin, Comte de Vallone)
"I love the Rabbi Small books and read them years ago; I intend to reread them since I have gotten very tired of mysteries in which the authors focus on extraneous details, get wrapped up in onerous descriptions about things such as eating habits or clothing that have very little to do with the story. Once the protagonists occupation is identified, readers don't need to be constantly reminded about the yarn store or how attractive everyone of their friends are. Readers want information, they want to learn the facts and be challenged. Rabbi Small does challenge us and he solves the case. I'm going to run down to my library and check them out." (Catherine Meers)
"I'm putting together a college class where I'll be using mystery novels as a means of introducing students to major world religions. You site has been a big help with finding likely examples! One question, though: do you know of any mystery series that focuses on a detective who is a practicing Sikh? (It's the 5th largest world religion, but I haven't found anything that addresses that tradition, as yet)." Lorin Geitner
"I wonder if Tom Hilpert will be writing more Lake Superior novels. I read all three and want more! I am a retired FBI chaplain, and currently a Cleveland (Ohio) Police chaplain. I love this genre. I remember the Rev. Randollph series from the 80's. Here's hoping.
"I'm fond of clerical mysteries and a list mate mentioned David Manuel's Brother Bartholomew on DorothyL. I do enjoy these, particularly the insider's look at religious life and have almost finished A Matter of Diamonds. Looking forward to the rest." (Sharon Stucker)
"Smaller and Smaller Circles by F H Batacan which revolves around two Jesuit priests, Father Gus Saenz and Father Jerome Lucero." (Jeremy Baer)
"Many other sites failed. Could not remember the name of Father Anselm and there it was with such detailed notes. Superlative." (Bruce Jamieson)
"I used to read The Inquisitor in the 70's along with The Executioner, The Chameleon, Revenger etc. This was one of my favourite reading eras." (Carl Bray)
"As an Old Stonyhurst boy OS 1958 - 1967, and nephew of Pauline King's, the brief report regarding the book rings a lot of "alarm bells". There was much inapproriate behaviour in the 50s and 60s by lay masters and even some clerics, and some of it resulted in well documented Court Cases in the 80s or 90s if I remember correctly." (Philip Armstrong)
"Absolutely love the Brother Hermitage books. I read them as treats to myself. A friend is leaving for vacation, my good bye gift will be the first two in the series to send her laughing along the way." (Lynne Lockwood)
"What a wonderfully informative site. My mother, who is 84 and almost blind, is desperately trying to find some of these titles in talking book form. Do you know if any are available in that format?" (Sylvia Roberts)
"I very much enjoyed your reviews of William Kienzle's books. My family were parishioners of his church (St. Anselm), and I was confirmed by Father Kienzle. I do remember him as a very kind man, especially when he tested me on my prayers. Having spent 30 plus years in law enforcement, I look forward to delving into his books, of which I did not know that he wrote so many. Thank you helping me discover that." (Dan Loftus)
"Didn't know there were sooooo many clerical detectives!!! I was just checking whether william brodrick had written any New books and found this site!! Now to write out your list and go look for some of them. Don camillo and father brown of course are oold friends!" (Janine Suhen)
"I have just read the three ash rashid books and have really enjoyed them, I am also a very keen reader of other authors such as Connolly , Connelly and other English writers." (Lynne)
"Hi! Just to correct you Margaret Scherf's Father Buell mysteries are set in Montana not Colorado. The Colorado setting was listed by error of one of her publishers. Please read the Rue Morgue bio of her at their site." (Ann Kessel)
"I appreciated your comments. The item that I remember most about "Code Name Sebastian" is where he is at a hearing about an archaeological find of one of his party. When asked if what was reported was the truth he replied that he did not know it it was, but he believed the archaeologist. He had been willing to give up his life because of his belief." (James Spooner)
"Hi - thank you for all the Cadfael information - it is very thorough. Unlike some of the other comments left I enjoyed the TV shows but am looking forward to reading those stories not used for TV. Your other author info is extremely impressive." (Tracy Robertson)
"I am so pleased to have found you and will be visiting you often to look for new books to read. I searched the following question; "does Brother Jerome of The Brother Cadfael series ever get his comeuppance?" And bless you he does and you told me about it. Thank you."(Sue Gould)
"I am looking to purchase a copy of Henry C Beck's Death by Clue, pub by Dutton in 1933. Would you have a copy of this book for sale? If not, do you know where I might purchase a copy? Thank you. Regards from North Carolina, USA." (Barry Warren)
"Looking for information on William Brodrick and found this utterly charming and well laid out website. I shall read the "Sixth Lamentation" and quite likely many other books from this wonderful site. Many thanks." (Ed Turner)
"I have just finished reading "Vow of Silence" by Veronica Black and really enjoyed it. I am looking forward to reading the rest of the series." (Keith)
"I haven't read enough of your posts yet to have anything worthwhile to contribute, but I look forward to reading some more of your interesting posts. It's nice that I'm not the only one left who remembers Giovani Guareshi. I vaguely remember 'the house that Nino built'. Wonder if I still have it." (Mary)
"I was telling my mother about the nun who wrote mysteries and wanted to see if there were any new ones." (Eileen Regan)
"It's very interesting that you seem to prefer the Fidelma books to the Cadfael series. I've read 3 of the Fidelma books - The Chalice of Blood, The Seventh Trumpet and the one about Lombardy, can't remember its name right now. This is just my personal opinion, but I found these Fidelma books badly written (style, use of language), long-winded and boring. The author seems unable to connect with his readers. He waffles on too much about customs in the Five Kingdoms at that time, and he goes into quite unnecessary detail about other things as well. These facts would have been interesting if he had presented them in a different way. And I find the characters unconvincing and uninteresting (very two-dimensional), and there's far too much emphasis on different tribes going to war the whole time. I quite enjoyed The Chalice of Blood. But these books aren't a patch on the Cadfael stories or any other detective stories I've read. The only books I find even worse than Tremayne's are those by Michael Jecks.
Thank you very much for your review of the Brother Cadfael series. For some reason I missed them when they were first published in the 1980s, but An Excellent Mystery came into my hands early last year and now I have the whole series, which I'm eagerly reading. I'm thoroughly enjoying them all and I'm now reading Brother Haluin's Confession. Up to now it's been very easy to identify the murderer in each case - with the exception of The Raven in the Foregate and The Potter's Field! Unfortunately I haven't been able to read them in chronological order, and it's very important to do this with this series because Ellis Peters unfortunately gives quite a bit away in subsequent books. Peters writes with great humanity and compassion for human frailty. One feels sorry for the murderer each time! Her characters are well-rounded and credible, and the plots are exciting, well sustained and enlivened with a great deal of humour. However Peters does go a bit over the top when describing young female characters. All that guff about huge periwinkle eyes, apple-blossom cheeks and softly rounded faces is much too sugary for me! The only book I'm not keen on so far is The Virgin in the Ice, which I thought dragged on a bit. All the rest are great. I was so enthusiastic about the books that I watched a number of episodes in the TV series on DVD and was extremely disappointed. Sir Derek Jacobi is a great actor, no doubt about that, but he isn't Cadfael. The most important thing about Cadfael is his Welshness, and Jacobi was apparently unable to bring this out in his portrayal. Compare David Suchet as Hercule Poirot: Suchet IS Poirot. They should have got a Welsh actor to play Cadfael. Another thing I didn't like about the TV series was the big changes in the plots and the names of the characters, not to mention no fewer than three different actors playing Hugh Beringar! I cannot for the life of me see why they did this. (Can anyone enlighten me?) It ruins the whole thing. And the plethora of fake local accents ranging from Somerset to cockney doesn't make the series any more convincing. The actors should either have spoken BBC or with a Shrewsbury or Gwynedd accent. And I'm also wondering if they couldn't have found more attractive actors and actresses to play the parts of all the young lovers and other young people. Acting is very bad too, generally speaking. Bad acting, bad casting, bad adaptation and total lack of credibility. And why film it in Hungary anyway? They could have done wonders with this series but the overall quality really is rock bottom.
Your reviews of Michael Jecks's books are interesting. I have only read one (The Abbot's Gibbet) and I found it so frankly awful in all respects that I've never read any more by this particular author. First and foremost, the man simply can't write to save his life. The basic plot was good, but Jecks is unable to capture the reader's attention and hold it. Characters are cardboard cut-outs, and there is no humour at all (humour is essential in murder mysteries!) And Jecks hops around from one topic to another without going into enough depth (very unconnected), and his "literary" style is appalling. I'm sure he's a very nice man, but I'm amazed that his books are so popular. The one I read was very dreary and boring." (Maria de Ville)
"I must say that I am finding Christy Kenneally's The Remnant both gripping and very interesting, not to mention enjoying the rather wry humour - for instance when the dying pope chuckles at Eli. I am thoroughly enjoying this book." (Robin Hawkins)
"I've read all if the Merrily Watkins books. Anxiously waiting for the next book. Is it in the works?" (Sally Hall)
"I will be adding this series (The Lake Superior mysteries by Tom Hilpert) as I read them. This could be a 'can't get enough of these spellbinding books'." (Kathryn)
"Necesito un resumen de cada capitulo para una prueba." (Valentina)
"I love Faith Morgan and I'm waiting eagerly for a new book in the series. I hope she and Ben manage to get together- there are obviously still feelings there." (Eva Phipp)
"Just wanted to say thank you. I'm a fan of Sister Fidelma, Sister John, and Sister Mary Helen, as well as of Brother Cadfael, and I am simply flabbergasted at the richness waiting for me! I had no idea there were so many clerical detectives. Now I have to start hunting them down!" (Sharon Leighton)
"I'm only just beginning to discover things about Kyril Bonfiglioli - a friend has recommended him, and after looking at various quotes and reviews (including yours) I can see why. Unfortunately I'm trying to get rid of most my books before moving to a much smaller dwelling - but I might make an exception for The Mortdecai Trilogy." (Kevin Cook)
"Love the site! Took it as a challenge to find another clerical sleuth not on your list. Don't know your exact criteria, but how about The Benedictine Bloodhounds of Betty Hyland published in 2007? Sister Gertrude looks like a likely character for you. Thanks for all the work." (Mary Beth)
"Seeking a copy of Death by Clue, Henry C. Beck, 1933." (Celeste Bennett)
"Very helpful and I hope to run down some more old green Penguins." (Merryn Williams)
"You might want to reconsider your list of not recommended Appleby books to include "Stop the Press" as it was far too long to be enjoyable." (Charleen Anderson)
"Have read all 7 of the Inspector Blake Hartley Mysteries and thoroughly enjoyed them. Was wondering if there are anymore in the pipeline." (Pamela Adams)
"Hi! I was wondering if you could help me solve a puzzle. Firstly, let me say that I found an online PDF copy of "The Little World of Don Camillo." I will print a copy of it now before going to bed, and take it along as my quiet read to a clergy retreat. Sometime ago I asked my Sociology professor how may I find out the source as how it came about that human words are important - mean something - have power. From where does that come? And this question is related to my wondering as to how it is that certain phrases are left to be said and should only be said by a priest (for example), and then it has its value. How do I search the origins of such "magic"? I kind of caught my former lecturer unawares, but the answer he gave me was: read Giovannino Guareschi. Please, in relation to my wondering about the "magic" of words, and his response - read GG, are you able to help me uncover the connection?" (Mark Anthony Vandayar+)
"What an interesting discovery - a book and this site. Helsingin Sanomat, the largest newspaper in Scandinavia, had a column on old treasures and finds by Suvi Ahola in today's issue. Harry Kemelman was the treasured find. His book On Friday the Rabbi Slept Late was translated already in 1965. I had never heard of him, googled him and this treasure box popped up. Chaim Potok and Isaac Bashevis Singer introduced me to the Jewish literature. It turned out to be a lasting love affair. Your list offers another twist into this interest. For a Lutheran pastor (me) it is a great way to learn about other communities of other faiths while having a good time. Thank you!" (Annele Martin)
"Well judged and fair assessments of my own Blake Hartley crime novels. Since 2013 all my crime novels and other work have been published by Amazon on Kindle. Sales have soared after my work was introduced by Amazon globally, especially to the Americas and Europe." (John Waddington-Feather)
"I have greatly enjoyed all the Phil Rickman (Merrily Watkins) books. Mr Rickman conjures-up atmospheres extremely well and, living on the Welsh / English border is well-acquainted with the area and is therefore, able to write with great conviction. Please keep 'em coming." (Chris Griffiths)
My publishing company, Dark Passage, has just started reissuing the mysteries written by June Wright in the 1940s, 50s and 60s. We won't get to the three Mother Paul novels for a year or two yet, but thought you'd like to know they will be available again before too long! Thanks for doing your site! -- regards." (Steve Connell, April 2014)
"Thanks for this site, has put it in my favoritlist and will have good use for it in the future." (Ulf Kleander)
"Just read A Nun in the Closet by Dorothy Gilman, great book, and, characters. Was trying to find if Dorothy Gilman wrote any more books about these nuns?? Your site informed that there was only the one. (My loss). Thx for info." (T. King)
"Thanks for introducing me to Sister Ursula and her author. I was also happy to know the meaning of the Anthony award. Your reviews are thorough and interesting, making me want to read so many of your listings. Thanks so much." (Mary Ann Sadler)
"Really impressive site! Thanks God for Google bringing me to your site (and of course, thanks God for your site). I came here looking for Bonfiglioli books, but while browsing around, I was really impressed by your coverage of Guareschi (the author of the Don Camillo books). As an Italian growing up in the Sixties, I have read quite a few Guareschi books, but would not be able to add much to your thorough coverage of them. Have you intentionally ruled out Brothers Keepers, by Donald Westlake? Part of the plot is about the monks trying to find out who stole a valuable document, thus doing some clerical detection." (Alessandro)
"Can you please let me know when Mark's next book will be out. I just love this series and know several people who do too and we would love to know when we can expect the next installment. Thank you." (Sue Solin)
"A nicely put together site - great work, much appreciated. I came via a search for Edmund Crispin, whose 'Buried for Pleasure' I found by chance and am being greatly entertained by its querky humour. It occurs to me a similar clerically themed site might be produced for ghost stories? (Nigel)
"A clerical friend posted a link on Facebook. Glad to find this site. As an Episcopal priest, clerical mysteries are one of my favorites." (Blake)
"I am 54 and had some dim memories of Don Camillo cartoons and books in the school library when I was a child. Were there books for children, primarily with the drawings?
"Your comments on William Brodrick's books much appreciated. I'm sure we shall enjoy at least 3 of them" (Adele Grounds)
"Have you heard about Randall Arthur's newest book, Forgotten Road? If you enjoyed Jordan's Crossing, you're in for a treat. You can view the Forgotten Road trailer here:
"I love the only Septimus book I have read and was researching whether 'Stephen Chance' had written anythiing else. Happily, he did and I am now searching for copies to add to my library. THANK YOU for providing the means to do this." (Retha Tinker)
"Love seeing D M Greenwood fully appreciated - I have read and re-read her books many times. I look forward to trying many more of the recommendations on this excellent site. One correction - on your Margery Allingham (my favourite author) page, you refer to Canon Hubert's amateur detective nephew as Edmund Campion - should of course be Albert Campion. Many thanks for the site - it will be well-used." (Esther Mileham)
"You have a link to an article on Henry Charlton Beck, but unfortunately the link seems dead. Can you help me get the pdf article?" (Dr Brian Regal)
"I began reading Bill Kienzle's works while a seminarian at Catholic University. During the course of my priesthood and beyond I had the sense that I knew Bill personally. Our beliefs meshed in such a way that I have wondered how much influence his writing had to do with my personal decision to move on from the priesthood. I have the 24 books and his biography on my shelf to reread from time to time. He feels like a good and safe friend. I am grateful." (Mark Fleming)
"Thank you for your insightful reviews. I am working on the third Grit and Grace Mystery and look forward to your opinion." (Becky Wooley)
"Love Ash Rashid. Read the Abbey and the Outsider, looking for the next novel." (Audrey Carruthers)
"So sad at your (Cristina Sumners') passing. As I travel to your memorial service today, I think back on our wonderful conversations. You will be sorely missed by your friends. I want to reread all the novels because Kathryn reminds me of you." (Barbara Paul)
"Good to come across comments on writers with high entertainment and humour content: Innes ,Crispin, Greenwood, Heyer, Lathen, Dibdin. Who is writing now in this vein? Don't find Camilleri really amusing." (M Towner)
"Sad to report Cristina Sumners passed away last week after four months in the hospital." (Chris, 22nd August 2013)
"TY for the excellent review of the character Arn Magnusson. I watched the movie's 6 parts on Netflix. I wanted to know a bit more. Again TY." (Barbara Houk)
"A reader referred me to a review of my book Force of Habit that appeared on your site recently. I'm grateful for the inclusion, but must say, while my books and other stuff have been reviewed countless times down the years; yours is by far the weirdest ever. Probably in a nice way, but I'm not sure. Nobody has ever thought to focus mainly on a minor footnote before, or call my work nasty or offensive. That's a new one for me. Usually, it's the opposite.
"You quoted passages as "only in the book", however the dialogue is California talk for better or worse. Thanks for including my book in your unique Clerical Detectives." (William G Hutson)
"Force of Habit: Sister Madeleine Investigates is my favourite book to date, mainly for its humour, originality and sheer entertainment value, so I was pleased to see the inclusion of a page about Sistet Madeleine. Pleased too that you share my enjoyment of the author's wit.
"I just read Cristina Sumners 3 Divine Mystery books and am wondering if you know of any follow up books in this series. I'm left hanging and wondering the future outcome of main characters. Thanks." (Maria Bailey)
"How about Sister Madeleine of Force Of Habit by Cash Peters." (Sylvia Hunter)
"I live the south side of Bradford near the M62 been a fellow Yorkshire man I find your detective stories around Bradford intriguing.I have read all 6 of your books on Kindle after coming upon the by accident. They are so true to life living where I do in between 2 Muslim communities I can identify with all your characters and the places you have written about. I thought it only right to let you know how I liked your books." (Robert Green)
"Please note that the three Nick Wilgus Father Ananda novels have been republished by Crime Wave Press (www.crimewavepress.com). A fourth Father Ananda title is due out later this year. Thank you, Tom Vater."
"I just purchased The Tentmaker, thinking as it was about church, priest, would not have an issue with swear words. Page 7, the f word, which I detest. Really!" (Sharon)
"Would like to suggest that you add to the list Rev. Oxford Christie from "The Hidden Congregation: a Reverend Christie Mystery" by William T. Delamar. Publisher is Solstice. Book available on Amazon in both paperback and ebook. Rev. Oxford Christie's church is non-denominational. (Note: author William T. Delamar is my husband.) Thank you." (Gloria T. Delamar)
"I have been a reader of Don Camillo since the sixties, love the stories, and in 2003 was made a Roman Catholic I can't blame this on G G's stories but they certainly had a big influence. Now in my 60s, and disabled after a car cash, I have great memories of Don Camillo. I would love to own all the books, but doubt whether I could find them all. My favourite story is the "stalks of corn" from Don Camillo in Russia. I wish there were more like these!!!" (Barry Oliff)
"Hello. As someone who has just embarked on writing their first novel (5000 words and counting...!) that has a Catholic priest in New York as the chief protagonist--I was curious and googled 'priests in crime fiction' and the name William X Kienzle leapt out. I was fascinated to discover this author and whilst at first (momentarily) deflated to see a city priest in fiction of this sort, I soon realised that my book, although inevitably having some common factors with the work of Mr Kienzle, will be different enough, and hopefully can be seen as more in the line of carrying on in the same generic tradition. I found your site very interesting and informative and I will certainly read the work of this author (but might wait till I actually finish my own book!) Again, many thanks for a great site. Very best wishes." (Mike Birmingham, UK)
"Re Alys Clare: loved her books but the forest people turned me off. They got more and more weird. I stopped with the next to last book when Hellwise left the abbey and went to live with Josse. That was the way I wanted it to end and was disappointed to read your review of the next book in which they had never slept together. How dumb is that. I wont read it." (R Smith)
"While I enjoyed Gun Games, as I have all of Faye Kellermans books and Jonathan Kellerman's as well, I was a bit confused and upset that I had spent money on what I thought was a 'new book', entitled Blood Games, only to find it was exactly the same book.
"I recently discovered your Blake Hartley series on Amazon, and must tell you how very much I am enjoying the books. The characters are well crafted, the plots are interesting with plenty of twists and turns, and I love the Yorkshire setting and ecclesiastical tones. I look forward to more of your work. Thank you." (Alexandra Adams San Jose, CA, USA )
"Hi. Nice website. I have a short story called "The Lord Is My Shamus," in which God sends Job to right some wrongs for him. Job isn't a cleric, but I think the story falls in the range of what you like to read. If so, it's available on my website for now, www.barbgoffman.com. It's also available in my short-story collection Don'tGet Mad, Get Even, published in April by Wildside Press (published originally last year in Chesapeake Crimes: This Job is Murder). The story has been nominated for a 2012 Agatha Award and a 2013 Anthony Award. I hope this story will be the beginning of a series involving Job." (Barb Goffman)
"Thank you for including a review of Faithful Unto Death on your extraordinarily comprehensive site. Thank you for the site! I saw so many of my favorite books and characters reviewed, and discovered even more. It is such an honor to be included among such a roster. The second in the Sugar Land Mystery series, Safe From Harm, was published in March 2013, and I'm working on the third. Again, what a great resource you have created. You will be bookmarked on my desktop." (Stephanie Jaye Evans)
"I first came across Rabbi David Small many years ago in the public library and fell in love with Kemelman's creation. I found the books both entertaining and educational." (Daniel Muir)
"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)