The Prudence of the Flesh

Father Dowling Mysteries (Volume 25)

Ralph McInerny

Minotaur Books

Gregory Barrett, a classmate of Father Dowling’s, left the priesthood twenty-five years ago. Now, after all these years, a woman threatens to bring a multimillion-dollar suit against him, alleging he sexually exploited her when he was still a priest and she was sixteen. Barrett has no memory of her, but is devastated at what these claims will do to his career as a radio host and to his new family. So he comes to Father Dowling for advice. Father Dowling, a parish priest in Fox River, Illinois, as usual, serves as part counselor, part sounding board, and part moral compass for priests and parishioners alike---not to mention cops and lawyers---and offers help to both Barrett and his accuser.
Before Barrett can decide what to do, and before the now-adult woman has made her demands known to the archdiocese, a body washes up on the shore of Lake Michigan, and Barrett becomes the primary suspect in the murder.
Also in the mix in this astutely drawn mystery are a failed writer, a parish busybody, an inept lawyer, and an embittered young man, each with his or her own agenda, and it is up to Father Dowling to unravel the links between these people whose lives were separated long ago, only to reconnect in tragedy.


Read an Excerpt

Chapter One 
The Gregory Barrett show on National Public Radio was called End Notes, and Marie Murkin, whatever she thought of the usual offerings on this tax-funded liberal network, was an unabashed fan of Gregory Barrett's weekly book reviews and vignettes on the authors he loved.
"Chesterton's Father Brown," Marie sighed. "Whoever thought that NPR would feature such a Catholic author?"
"You like Chesterton?"
"I do. And I say that without having read anything of his, but Gregory Barrett has convinced me that I must."
"I have one or two


Praise for The Prudence of the Flesh

Praise for Ralph McInerny's Father Dowling Mysteries

"You don't have to go to church to worship mystery lovers' esteemed Father Dowling."
---Entertainment Weekly
"Father Dowling is not the average priest, one who dispenses homilies and easy nostrums. He has been through the mill himself, is tough, yet has compassion . . . the Catholic equivalent of Harry Kemelman's David Small."
---The New York Times Book Review
"Mystery at its bloodless, cerebral best . . . Dowling is the perfect father confessor, dealing with moral dilemmas and the weakness of man with compassion and understanding."
---Chicago Tribune
"McInerny's nimble characterizations and subtle soundings of the moral issues make this a strong entry in the long-running series."
---Publishers Weekly on Blood Ties

"Steeped in human drama and spiritual significance . . . Father Dowling's down-to-earth demeanor will appeal, as always, to a variety of readers who enjoy mysteries with a religious twist."
---Booklist on Triple Pursuit

"McInerny keeps the reader on edge as his intrepid sleuth-priest solves the crimes. . . . A deservedly popular series."
---Publishers Weekly on Grave Undertakings

Reviews from Goodreads



  • Ralph McInerny

  • Ralph McInerny is the author of more than thirty books, including the popular mystery series set at the University of Notre Dame, where he has taught for fifty years and is the director of the Jacques Maritain Center. He has been awarded the Bouchercon Lifetime Achievement Award, was recently named to the President's Committee on the Arts and Humanities, and lives in South Bend, Indiana.
  • Ralph McInerny Photo: Matt Cashore


Available Formats and Book Details

The Prudence of the Flesh

Father Dowling Mysteries

Ralph McInerny

  • e-Book



Minotaur Books