Ralph McInerny, author of the Father Dowling mysteries, has passed away.
McInerny did much more than write crime fiction. He was also a noted scholar of Catholicism, and, from 1955 until his retirement last year, a professor of philosophy and of medieval studies at the University of Notre Dame.
I read Ash Wednesday (2008) and enjoyed it a great deal. The author managed to tackle the difficult subject of euthanasia while keeping the essential humanity of his characters in full view of the reader. I’ve always appreciated McInerny’s wry humor and his ability to show compassion for his characters. Father Dowling did not offer summary judgment of fallible human beings; neither did his creator.
Stained Glass, the latest entry in the Father Dowling series, was already on my night table when I heard the sad news.
For this reader, these books have provided an astute yet gentle look into the heart of Catholicism.