William X(avier) Kienzle

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Joseph A. Tetlow

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Last Updated on June 7, 2022, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 156

[In his The Rosary Murders, William Kienzle] has rounded up a great crowd of current church types and brought them vividly alive in a zippy, church-wise whodunit. His is a gently bemused but dry-eyed picture of the church in the postmodern world, a.k.a. the Archdiocese of Detroit in Murder City. But Kienzle likes his people. How often do murder mystery readers feel as though they've lost a friend in the murder victims? Of course, the church has changed: Chesterton's Father Brown emerged a mystery wrapped in an enigma; Kienzle's hero-priest emerges merely a puzzle. There it is. But Kienzle seems to intend the priest and nun victims as metaphors for religious servants' dedicated availability in today's frantic world, and their relatively easy destruction. Maybe that's a Weltanschauung. If it's humbug, it's very high-grade.

Joseph A. Tetlow, "Benedicamus Domino," in America (reprinted with permission of America Press. Inc.; © 1979; all rights reserved), Vol. 140, No. 17, May 5, 1979, p. 375.∗

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