When Fred Neville of the Notre Dame athletic department winds up dead under mysterious circumstances, amateur sleuth and academic Roger Knight, and his brother, Phil, a P.I., investigate the apparent murder. The trouble: no suspects. No suspects, that is, until the day of Fred's funeral, when several likely candidates suddenly appear at the poor man's wake.
First, Mary Schuster, daughter of a faculty widow, shows up at the event dressed all in black, with the startling announcement that she and the deceased were secretly in love. Then the controversy doubles when another woman arrives with a huge diamond ring on her finger, claiming to have been Fred's intended. Could it be that unassuming Fred Neville was actually involved with two women, in secret and at the same time? Roger thinks not, and finds a notable piece of evidence to back up his hunch when a secret stash of Fred's poetry turns up, clearly written with a single woman in mind. Unfortunately, the object of Fred's intense love remains unnamed in his verse. Suddenly, both women are suspects in a vicious crime. But it's up to Roger to plug into the campus gossip grid and, with a little help from Phil, not to mention his vast knowledge of just about everything that happens on campus, determine the exact chain of events that led to murder.
Set against the backdrop of an exciting Notre Dame basketball season, Irish Coffee will delight fans of both Notre Dame lore and of Ralph McInerny's impeccably plotted mysteries.
About the Author
Ralph McInerny is the author of more than thirty books, including the popular Father Dowling mystery series, and has taught for more than forty years at the University of Notre Dame, where he is the director of the Jacques Maritain Center. He has been awarded the Bouchercon Lifetime Achievement Award and was recently appointed to the President's Committee on the Arts and Humanities. He lives in South Bend, Indiana.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
In South Bend, Indiana, literature professor Roger Knight and his brother retired private detective Phil are big fans of Notre Dame sports. The siblings especially enjoy talking sports past and present with the university¿s assistant sports information director Fred Neville, a fellow bachelor. However, that pastime ends when Fred suddenly dies from poisoned coffee. Fred¿s death shakes the Knight siblings, but not as much as the appearance at the mass of two women claiming to be his fiancées. Naomi McTear wears an engagement ring and sat in the family pew while departmental secretary Mary Shuster dresses in widow black. Adding to the confusion of the Knights is that they thought Fred was falling in love with point guard Griselda Novak. As they assist South Bend police Lieutenant Stewart on the investigation, Roger and Phil wonder whether a good Catholic could have committed suicide or did one of his women slam dunk him? Though the mystery is decaf, the insight into the university especially its sports program and history is a delight and will recruit more fans. Using the women¿s basketball team as a prime backdrop adds depth especially since they won the national title three years ago. The Knight brothers retain their charm and Griselda is an intriguing student athlete. Though this is the seventh game at Notre Dame, Ralph McInerny provides a fresh tale that showcases the university with a lighter than usual case as the mechanism. Harriet Klausner