Murder Most Divine: Ecclesiastical Tales of Unholy Crimes Hardcover – Oct 20 2000
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In "Murder Most Divine," we find the ecclesiastical range being quite thoroughly explored. These 18 stories present some good priests, some not so good priests, sleepwalking nuns, and other saintly (and sometimes not so saintly) souls, all mixed up in one commonality: murder.
Robert Bernard's "Holy Living and Holy Dying" is my favorite one in this collection. Bernard's rapier wit and chilling, clinical approach to the story makes this selection one to bow down for! Anthony Greeley keeps us in the 20th century with "The Bishop and the Hit Man" as only Father Greeley can do. P.C. Doherty goes back a few centuries (as he's known for doing in
all those great novels of his) with "The Monk's Tale." The others are all worthy reading, too. A fun fire-side sit-down read! (Billyjhobbs@tyler.net)
But there is more to MURDER MOST DIVINE than this rarity. One of the best Father Brown stories, "The Wrong Shape," is here, as well as the "Sister Ursula" story "The Stripper," by Anthony Boucher.
I didn't really care for the "Sweating Statue," by Edward Hoch. I keep hearing people talk about Hoch like he's this great genius but please, if the "Sweating Statue" caper is typical of his impossible crime tales, he's not all that he's cracked up to be. I understand he has published at least one story every month in EQMM for the past fifty-five years. Maybe sometimes he could use a vacation. I don't know, perhaps "The Sweating Statue" makes more sense in the whole corpus of Hoch's writing? I was glad to see the reclusive Alice Scanlan Reach make a welcome appearance with "In the Confessional," not the best thing she ever wrote but hey, this is the one Orson Welles picked up and introduced in his 1970s "Great Mysteries" so that Milo O'Shea could play Father Crumlish--an inspired casting choice. Some of the stories in MMB are below average, but nowadays, I'm just glad to see that somebody, in whatever fashion, is still reprinting the work of the tragically underappreciated Charlotte Armstrong, one of the USA's very best novelists whose shorter fictions are also worth tracking down.
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