Monday 14 October 2019

The Vanishing Woman - Fiorella De Maria - Father Gabriel Mysteries Book 2

The Vanishing Woman
Father Gabriel Mysteries Book 2
Fiorella De Maria
Ignatius Press
eISBN 9781681497921

This was the seventh book by Fiorella de Maria that I have read over the last few months. Six of the volumes are in print and easy to access. Nd there are two others that are out of print as well. After I read A Most Dangerous Innocence, I picked up all the eBooks available of works by Fiorella De Maria and set to work tracking down the three that do not have electronic editions. And all of them have been excellent reads. There are very few authors who have so completely captured my attention and driven me to track down all of their books I could lay my hands on. The others were J.F. Powers, Alice Curtayne, and Theresa Linden, all three Catholic authors like Fiorella. And unlike the first two passed away long before I encountered their works, I can expect more to read from Linden and de Maria. There is such power in the narratives that Fiorella writes that even after I have read all of them I know that I will return and read some of them over and over again.

This is the second of the Father Gabriel mysteries I have read. And it continues some time after the first. The priest is on lone from his monastery to assist a nearby small-town priest who is recovering from heart surgery. And in this instance, he is practically invited to investigate a mystery. For he is called by the brother of one of his parishioners, after their mother has disappeared, and the woman believes she saw her, and she vanished almost instantly on the way home to their cottage.

At first it is just a missing person. But once a body is found, several miles down river then Inspector Applegate is called in. It seems that there is no one in town who will truly miss the victim, including her own son and daughter. And many who have grievances with her. The inspector suspects one person whom Father Gabriel is certain is innocent.  And thus the two clash once again.

During this story Father Gabriel uncovers the secrets of several people in this small town. A local author, the bookstore owner, and even the young woman at the center of the story. There are several excellent twists and turn in the plot. The characters are one of the best things in de Maria’s writing. 

Coming back to a Father Gabriel story after two months was like a visit with an old friend. The book was incredible hard to put down, and I can only hope we will have many more father Gabriel stories in the future. 

This is an intriguing mystery set in a small town in England. The book was incredibly addictive and very hard to put down. I stated of the first Father Gabriel Mystery that “ in some ways feels like a cross between a Blackie Ryan mystery by Andrew M. Greeley and a the Inspector Tom Tyler series by Maureen Jennings. And that sentiment remains, but as much as I enjoyed both those authors and series, this book Far surpasses them. This is the first of two currently available father Gabriel Mysteries, and as stated I hope there are many more to come. A great historical fiction mystery, an excellent read. 

Note: This book is part of a series of reviews: 2019 Catholic Reading Plan

Books by Fiorella De Maria:
The Cassandra Curse
Father William's Daughter
Poor Banished Children
Do No Harm
We'll Never Tell Them
A Most Dangerous Innocence
I Am Margaret The Play
Father Gabriel Mysteries:
The Sleeping Witness
The Vanishing Woman
See No Evil

Death of a Scholar

Skaters Series:
The Second Skater of the Apocalypse

Robert Southwell – CTS Saints of the Isles

Books as Fiorella Nash:
The Abolition of Woman: How Radical Feminism Is Betraying Women

Author Profile and Interview with Fiorella de Maria.

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