Ralph McInerny Books

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Ralph McInerny was an American author and scholar whose Catholic faith strongly influenced the fiction he wrote. Born in 1929 in Minneapolis, Minnesota, Ralph grew up in a large Irish-American family.

Order of Andrew Broom Series

1Cause and Effect 1987Description / Buy
2Body and Soil 1989Description / Buy
3Savings and Loam 1990Description / Buy
4Mom and Dead 1994Description / Buy
5Law and Ardor 1995Description / Buy
6Heirs and Parents 2000Description / Buy

Order of Egidio Manfredi Series

1Still Life 2000Description / Buy
2Sub Rosa 2001Description / Buy

Order of Father Dowling Series

1Her Death of Cold 1977Description / Buy
2Bishop as Pawn 1978Description / Buy
3The Seventh Station 1978Description / Buy
4Lying Three 1979Description / Buy
5Second Vespers 1980Description / Buy
6Thicker Than Water 1981Description / Buy
7A Loss of Patients 1982Description / Buy
8The Grass Widow 1983Description / Buy
9Getting a Way with Murder 1984Description / Buy
10Rest in Pieces 1985Description / Buy
11The Basket Case 1987Description / Buy
12Abracadaver / Slight of Body 1989Description / Buy
13Four on the Floor 1989Description / Buy
14Judas Priest 1991Description / Buy
15Desert Sinner 1992Description / Buy
16Seed of Doubt 1993Description / Buy
17A Cardinal Offense 1994Description / Buy
18The Tears of Things 1996Description / Buy
19Grave Undertakings 2000Description / Buy
20Triple Pursuit 2001Description / Buy
21Prodigal Father 2002Description / Buy
22Last Things 2003Description / Buy
23Requiem for a Realtor 2004Description / Buy
24Blood Ties 2005Description / Buy
25The Prudence of the Flesh 2006Description / Buy
26The Widow's Mate 2007Description / Buy
27Ash Wednesday 2008Description / Buy
28The Wisdom of Father Dowling 2009Description / Buy
29Stained Glass 2009Description / Buy
30The Compassion of Father Dowling 2011Description / Buy

Order of Father Dowling Young Adult Mystery Series

1The Case of the Dead Winner (Short Story) 1995Description / Buy
2The Case of the Constant Caller (Short Story) 1995Description / Buy

Order of Notre Dame Series

1On This Rockne 1997Description / Buy
2Lack of the Irish 1998Description / Buy
3Irish Tenure 1999Description / Buy
4The Book of Kills 2000Description / Buy
5Emerald Aisle 2001Description / Buy
6Celt and Pepper 2002Description / Buy
7Irish Coffee 2003Description / Buy
8Green Thumb 2004Description / Buy
9Irish Gilt 2005Description / Buy
10The Letter Killeth 2006Description / Buy
11Irish Alibi 2007Description / Buy
12The Green Revolution 2008Description / Buy
13Sham Rock 2010Description / Buy

Order of Proceedings of the Wethersfield Institute Series

1The Catholic Writer 1991Description / Buy

Order of The Rosary Chronicles Series

1The Third Revelation 2009Description / Buy
2Relic of Time 2009Description / Buy

Order of Sister Mary Teresa Mystery Series as Monica Quill

1Not a Blessed Thing 1981Description / Buy
2Let Us Prey 1982Description / Buy
3And Then There Was Nun 1984Description / Buy
4Nun of the Above 1985Description / Buy
5Sine Qua Nun 1986Description / Buy
6The Veil of Ignorance 1988Description / Buy
7Sister Hood 1991Description / Buy
8Nun Plussed 1993Description / Buy
9Half Past Nun 1997Description / Buy
10Death Takes the Veil and Other Stories 2001Description / Buy

Order of Ralph McInerny Standalone Novels

1Jolly Rogerson 1967Description / Buy
2A Narrow Time 1969Description / Buy
3The Priest 1973Description / Buy
4Gate of Heaven 1975Description / Buy
5Rogerson at Bay 1976Description / Buy
6Spinnaker 1977Description / Buy
7Quick as a Dodo (Short Story) 1978Description / Buy
8Romanesque 1978Description / Buy
9Noonday Devil 1985Description / Buy
10Leave of Absence 1986Description / Buy
11Frigor Mortis 1989Description / Buy
12The Nominative Case 1990Description / Buy
13The Search Committee 1991Description / Buy
14Easeful Death 1991Description / Buy
15Infra Dig 1992Description / Buy
16The Red Hat 1998Description / Buy
17As Good As Dead 2002Description / Buy
18The Ablative Case 2003Description / Buy
19Slattery 2004Description / Buy

Order of Ralph McInerny Collections

1Thou Shalt Not Kill 1992Description / Buy
2The Soul of Wit (Short Story) 2005Description / Buy
3Good Knights (Short Story) 2010Description / Buy

Order of Ralph McInerny Non-Fiction Books

1Thomism in an Age of Renewal 1968Description / Buy
2New Themes in Christian Philosophy 1968Description / Buy
3A First Glance at St. Thomas Aquinas 1977Description / Buy
4Art and Prudence 1988Description / Buy
5St. Thomas Aquinas 1989Description / Buy
6Boethius And Aquinas 1990Description / Buy
7Aquinas on Human Action 1992Description / Buy
8The Question of Christian Ethics (Short Story) 1993Description / Buy
9Aquinas Against the Averroists 1993Description / Buy
10Let's Write a Novel 1993Description / Buy
11Let's Read Latin 1995Description / Buy
12Aquinas and Analogy 1996Description / Buy
13An Uncertain Legacy 1997Description / Buy
14What Went Wrong with Vatican II 1998Description / Buy
15Characters in Search of Their Author 2001Description / Buy
16The Defamation of Pius XII 2001Description / Buy
17The Very Rich Hours of Jacques Maritain 2003Description / Buy
18I Alone Have Escaped to Tell You 2006Description / Buy
19Some Catholic Writers 2007Description / Buy
20Dante and the Blessed Virgin 2010Description / Buy

Order of World's Finest Mystery and Crime Stories Series

1The World's Finest Mystery and Crime Stories 1 2000Description / Buy
2The World's Finest Mystery and Crime Stories 2 2000Description / Buy
3The World's Finest Mystery and Crime Stories 3 2002Description / Buy
4The World's Finest Mystery and Crime Stories 4 2003Description / Buy
5The World's Finest Mystery and Crime Stories 5 2004Description / Buy

Order of Murder Most Series

1Murder Most Sacred ( By: Martin H. Greenberg) 1989Description / Buy
2Murder Most Medieval ( By: Martin H. Greenberg) 1993Description / Buy
3Murder Most Delicious ( By: Martin H. Greenberg) 1995Description / Buy
4Murder Most Medical ( By: Martin H. Greenberg) 1995Description / Buy
5Murder Most Irish ( By: Martin H. Greenberg) 1996Description / Buy
6Murder Most Delectable ( By: Martin H. Greenberg) 2000Description / Buy
7Murder Most Divine 2000Description / Buy
8Murder Most Romantic ( By: Martin H. Greenberg) 2001Description / Buy
9Murder Most Postal ( By: Martin H. Greenberg) 2001Description / Buy
10Murder Most Feline ( By: Martin H. Greenberg, Ed Gorman) 2001Description / Buy
11Murder Most Confederate ( By: Martin H. Greenberg) 2003Description / Buy
12Murder Most Celtic ( By: Martin H. Greenberg) 2003Description / Buy

Ralph McInerny Anthologies

1 Death Cruise: Crime Stories on the Open Seas1999Description / Buy
2 Murder Most Catholic2002Description / Buy
3 The World's Finest Mystery and Crime Stories 42003Description / Buy
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He attended Nazareth Hall Preparatory Seminary (St. Paul) and St. Paul Seminary. He also spent a few years in the Marine Corps shortly after WWII. Despite earning a BA from St. Paul Seminary, he resisted the call of priesthood.

Instead, he continued to pursue his studies, earning an MA, PhL, and Ph.D. from the University of Minnesota and Universite Laval, Quebec.

His scholarly ambitions took him to Creighton University from where he taught philosophy. By 1955, he had joined the University of Notre Dame, becoming an assistant professor in 1957, an associate professor six years later, and a full professor six years after that.

Besides becoming a Fullbright Research Fellow in 1959, he was also appointed director of Notre Dame’s Medieval Institute. Anyone that has ever looked at his resume will tell you that it is quite impressive. He has six honorary doctorates. His bibliography consists of dozens of nonfiction books.

Ralph was especially fond of Thomas Aquinas. He spent quite a bit of time teaching and writing about the 13th Century Catholic philosopher. He even edited a volume of Aquinas translations.

And yet Ralph McInerny is known more for his fiction that he is for any scholarly achievements he notched during his long career. Ralph came to fame, not for his exegetical texts on Aquinas or the works he wrote on a philosopher from the 6th Century by the names of Boethius, but because of Roger Dowling, his most popular creation.

Roger Dowling is the protagonist of the ‘Father Dowling’ mystery series which was first published in 1977. Dowling was a canon lawyer whose life was ruined by alcohol. He went into rehabilitation and eventually became a Parish Priest. Stationed in a small Midwestern town, Dowling spends a lot of time stumbling upon and then solving murders. He has a knack for unraveling puzzles that have made his life as a priest so much more interesting.

Ralph’s Catholic beliefs always manifest in his works. His stories are designed to propagate his traditional views on his faith which explains Father Dowling’s moral rigor. It is worth noting that, while Father Dowling was Ralph McInerny’s most popular creation, the author wrote other novels in other series.

Some of them were published under pen names like ‘Ernan Mackey’, ‘Harry Austin’, and ‘Monica Quill’. When he wasn’t writing fiction or teaching philosophy, Ralph could be found commentating on contemporary issues surrounding the Catholic Church such as abortion and homosexuality.

He vigorously opposed Notre Dame’s decision to host President Obama as a speaker because of his views on the subjects.

Ralph was married in 1953. The marriage produced seven children. Ralph’s wife died in 2002. He eventually followed her in 2010. He died of esophageal cancer.

Ralph McInerny Books into Movies

The ‘Father Dowling’ book series became an American TV show in 1989. It followed Tom Bosley as a Catholic priest that solves mysteries in a Chicago Parish. He is aided in his efforts by a nun. Despite the name, the TV show did not actually adapt any of McInerny’s books.

Best Ralph McInerny Books

The author has been commended for his ‘clever plotting’ and ‘clarity’, with some of the best books in his bibliography including:

Her Death of Cold: It was still quite dark when Sylvia Lowry called Father Dowling. The 75-year-old woman sounded frightened. Dowling did what he could to calm the parishioner. When she was discovered dead in her kitchen, Dowling made it his mission to learn the truth behind her murder.

Fortunately, he had an ally in law enforcement. Dowling had attended the same seminary as Phil Keagan. But Phil had dropped out after a year. Now the Chief of the local detectives, Phil is more than happy to collaborate with Dowling to solve the mystery.

Bishop as Pawn: It all began with a murder at St. Hilary’s Church of Fox River. Then Bishop Rooney of the Chicago Archdiocese was kidnapped. Neither case has any obvious connection to the other. And yet they must be linked in some way. Father Dowling must solve the murder if he is to identify the clues that will help the police solve the kidnapping.

When Does The Next Ralph McInerny book come out?

Ralph McInerny doesn't seem to have an upcoming book. Their newest book is The Compassion of Father Dowling and was released on December, 16th 2011. It is the newest book in the Father Dowling Series.


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