William X(avier) Kienzle Tony Bednarczyk - Essay

Tony Bednarczyk

(Contemporary Literary Criticism)

Mystery lovers can rejoice as a new star appears in the heavens of whodunits! That new star is William X. Kienzle, whose first work [The Rosary Murders] is an engrossing thriller that will satisfy the most demanding armchair detectives.

On Ash Wednesday, someone pulls the plug on an aging priest's respirator. The following Friday, a nun is murdered in an inner city convent. On each of the next six Fridays, some brutal madman claims a victim from the ranks of the Detroit archdiocese….

Kienzle, a former priest and news editor, knows the rectory and the city room to the smallest detail and that knowledge shows in the various locales that arise during the course of this well paced, tightly written novel. More importantly, Kienzle creates well defined characters that inhabit his story rather than decorate it. The reader is shown, in a premonition, the victims at their daily lives and these personal introductions heighten the horror of their deaths.

With The Rosary Murders, one gets the distinctly satisfying impression that Kienzle, a most talented newcomer to the genre, will again delight readers with a second superbly crafted mystery and that Father Koesler may very likely become the successful Catholic answer to Rabbi Small. One sincerely hopes the wait will not be long.

Tony Bednarczyk, "Fiction: 'The Rosary Murders'," in Best Sellers (copyright © 1979 Helen Dwight Reid Educational Foundation), Vol. 39, No. 4, July, 1979, p. 125.