Ralph McInerny, The Letter Killeth Reviews

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“The Letter Killeth ”


written by Harriet Klausner on 16/10/2006

The Letter Killeth
Ralph McInerny
St. Martins December 2006, $23.95, 340 pp.
ISBN 0312351437

Notre Dame has to change with the times or it will never survive in the cutthroat competitive world of academia. Students, teachers and workers don't like the direction the school is taking, more secular and less religious oriented. Professor Raul Izquierdo is an atheist who talks to his classes about his beliefs, which upsets the pious Catholics who believe that what he is doing is wrong.

Henry, a security officer is a brilliant man, whose whole life was geared to going to Notre Dame, but despite high grades and SAT scores he was rejected. Professor Wack who has an office next door to Raul despises the atheist, and in a fit of ire sets fire to his trash can. Threatening letters are sent to the Provost, the Dean of Arts and Letters, the football coach and Professor Wack. The school is concerned, so they hire private investigator Phillip Knight and his brother, a Catholic Studies professor, who is also a private investigator to investigate. While they inquire about the letters, Raul's car is blown up, and he is later found by a professor, in his office strangled to death. There are many suspects, but Roger perseveres because he thinks the police have arrested the wrong man.

Fans of Academia mysteries will enjoy THE LETTER KILLETH that gives a writer's view of Notre Dame and the political in-fighting that goes on in academia. This is a well thought out mystery, with three suspects who all have good motives to want to see the victim dead, making the cast of secondary characters most interesting. Roger, an extraordinarily obese man, is comfortable with himself as a brilliant private detective, with a mind that never rests until he sacks the criminal.

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