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
|1||Cause and Effect||1987||Description / Buy|
|2||Body and Soil||1989||Description / Buy|
|3||Savings and Loam||1990||Description / Buy|
|4||Mom and Dead||1994||Description / Buy|
|5||Law and Ardor||1995||Description / Buy|
|6||Heirs and Parents||2000||Description / Buy|
Order of Egidio Manfredi Series
|1||Still Life||2000||Description / Buy|
|2||Sub Rosa||2001||Description / Buy|
Order of Father Dowling Series
|1||Her Death of Cold||1977||Description / Buy|
|2||Bishop as Pawn||1978||Description / Buy|
|3||The Seventh Station||1978||Description / Buy|
|4||Lying Three||1979||Description / Buy|
|5||Second Vespers||1980||Description / Buy|
|6||Thicker Than Water||1981||Description / Buy|
|7||A Loss of Patients||1982||Description / Buy|
|8||The Grass Widow||1983||Description / Buy|
|9||Getting a Way with Murder||1984||Description / Buy|
|10||Rest in Pieces||1985||Description / Buy|
|11||The Basket Case||1987||Description / Buy|
|12||Abracadaver / Slight of Body||1989||Description / Buy|
|13||Four on the Floor||1989||Description / Buy|
|14||Judas Priest||1991||Description / Buy|
|15||Desert Sinner||1992||Description / Buy|
|16||Seed of Doubt||1993||Description / Buy|
|17||A Cardinal Offense||1994||Description / Buy|
|18||The Tears of Things||1996||Description / Buy|
|19||Grave Undertakings||2000||Description / Buy|
|20||Triple Pursuit||2001||Description / Buy|
|21||Prodigal Father||2002||Description / Buy|
|22||Last Things||2003||Description / Buy|
|23||Requiem for a Realtor||2004||Description / Buy|
|24||Blood Ties||2005||Description / Buy|
|25||The Prudence of the Flesh||2006||Description / Buy|
|26||The Widow's Mate||2007||Description / Buy|
|27||Ash Wednesday||2008||Description / Buy|
|28||The Wisdom of Father Dowling||2009||Description / Buy|
|29||Stained Glass||2009||Description / Buy|
|30||The Compassion of Father Dowling||2011||Description / Buy|
Order of Father Dowling Young Adult Mystery Series
|1||The Case of the Dead Winner (Short Story)||1995||Description / Buy|
|2||The Case of the Constant Caller (Short Story)||1995||Description / Buy|
Order of Notre Dame Series
|1||On This Rockne||1997||Description / Buy|
|2||Lack of the Irish||1998||Description / Buy|
|3||Irish Tenure||1999||Description / Buy|
|4||The Book of Kills||2000||Description / Buy|
|5||Emerald Aisle||2001||Description / Buy|
|6||Celt and Pepper||2002||Description / Buy|
|7||Irish Coffee||2003||Description / Buy|
|8||Green Thumb||2004||Description / Buy|
|9||Irish Gilt||2005||Description / Buy|
|10||The Letter Killeth||2006||Description / Buy|
|11||Irish Alibi||2007||Description / Buy|
|12||The Green Revolution||2008||Description / Buy|
|13||Sham Rock||2010||Description / Buy|
Order of Proceedings of the Wethersfield Institute Series
|1||The Catholic Writer||1991||Description / Buy|
Order of The Rosary Chronicles Series
|1||The Third Revelation||2009||Description / Buy|
|2||Relic of Time||2009||Description / Buy|
Order of Sister Mary Teresa Mystery Series as Monica Quill
|1||Not a Blessed Thing||1981||Description / Buy|
|2||Let Us Prey||1982||Description / Buy|
|3||And Then There Was Nun||1984||Description / Buy|
|4||Nun of the Above||1985||Description / Buy|
|5||Sine Qua Nun||1986||Description / Buy|
|6||The Veil of Ignorance||1988||Description / Buy|
|7||Sister Hood||1991||Description / Buy|
|8||Nun Plussed||1993||Description / Buy|
|9||Half Past Nun||1997||Description / Buy|
|10||Death Takes the Veil and Other Stories||2001||Description / Buy|
Order of Ralph McInerny Standalone Novels
|1||Jolly Rogerson||1967||Description / Buy|
|2||A Narrow Time||1969||Description / Buy|
|3||The Priest||1973||Description / Buy|
|4||Gate of Heaven||1975||Description / Buy|
|5||Rogerson at Bay||1976||Description / Buy|
|6||Spinnaker||1977||Description / Buy|
|7||Quick as a Dodo (Short Story)||1978||Description / Buy|
|8||Romanesque||1978||Description / Buy|
|9||Noonday Devil||1985||Description / Buy|
|10||Leave of Absence||1986||Description / Buy|
|11||Frigor Mortis||1989||Description / Buy|
|12||The Nominative Case||1990||Description / Buy|
|13||The Search Committee||1991||Description / Buy|
|14||Easeful Death||1991||Description / Buy|
|15||Infra Dig||1992||Description / Buy|
|16||The Red Hat||1998||Description / Buy|
|17||As Good As Dead||2002||Description / Buy|
|18||The Ablative Case||2003||Description / Buy|
|19||Slattery||2004||Description / Buy|
Order of Ralph McInerny Collections
|1||Thou Shalt Not Kill||1992||Description / Buy|
|2||The Soul of Wit (Short Story)||2005||Description / Buy|
|3||Good Knights (Short Story)||2010||Description / Buy|
Order of Ralph McInerny Non-Fiction Books
|1||Thomism in an Age of Renewal||1968||Description / Buy|
|2||New Themes in Christian Philosophy||1968||Description / Buy|
|3||A First Glance at St. Thomas Aquinas||1977||Description / Buy|
|4||Art and Prudence||1988||Description / Buy|
|5||St. Thomas Aquinas||1989||Description / Buy|
|6||Boethius And Aquinas||1990||Description / Buy|
|7||Aquinas on Human Action||1992||Description / Buy|
|8||The Question of Christian Ethics (Short Story)||1993||Description / Buy|
|9||Let's Write a Novel||1993||Description / Buy|
|10||Aquinas Against the Averroists||1993||Description / Buy|
|11||Let's Read Latin||1995||Description / Buy|
|12||Aquinas and Analogy||1996||Description / Buy|
|13||An Uncertain Legacy||1997||Description / Buy|
|14||What Went Wrong with Vatican II||1998||Description / Buy|
|15||Characters in Search of Their Author||2001||Description / Buy|
|16||The Defamation of Pius XII||2001||Description / Buy|
|17||The Very Rich Hours of Jacques Maritain||2003||Description / Buy|
|18||I Alone Have Escaped to Tell You||2006||Description / Buy|
|19||Some Catholic Writers||2007||Description / Buy|
|20||Dante and the Blessed Virgin||2010||Description / Buy|
Order of World's Finest Mystery and Crime Stories Series
|1||The World's Finest Mystery and Crime Stories 1||2000||Description / Buy|
|2||The World's Finest Mystery and Crime Stories 2||2000||Description / Buy|
|3||The World's Finest Mystery and Crime Stories 3||2002||Description / Buy|
|4||The World's Finest Mystery and Crime Stories 4||2003||Description / Buy|
|5||The World's Finest Mystery and Crime Stories 5||2004||Description / Buy|
Ralph McInerny Anthologies
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.