Tuesday 30 August 2022

Death of a Scholar - Fiorella De Maria - Father Gabriel Mysteries Book 4

Death of a Scholar 
Father Gabriel Mysteries Book 4
Fiorella De Maria
Ignatius Press
eISBN 9781642292008

This was the thirteenth book by Fiorella de Maria I read. I stumbled upon her works a few years ago and I read nine of them in as many weeks. And now eagerly await each new offering from her masterful pen. I was eagerly anticipating this books, since she mentioned it on social media. I have tracked down and read everything by her under the name Fiorella de Maria. And this is the fourth book in her only series. I did not even read the description of the book prior to picking it up. I know that if Fiorella wrote it, it would be worth reading. It did not disappoint.

The description of this book states:

“Father Gabriel spends a few days of relaxation at his old Cambridge College, the guest of friend Arthur Kingsley from his student days. Kingsley is now a respected scientist and a Fellow of St Stephen's College, but after an enjoyable evening dining at High Table, Gabriel receives the shattering news that Daphne Silverton, Kingsley's brilliant young protégée, has been found dead in her laboratory after what appears to have been a tragic accident. Daphne was universally loved, but Gabriel's instincts tell him that her death was a little too perfectly staged to have been an accident.

After an emotional reunion with the parents of his late wife, Gabriel seeks the truth about Daphne's demise. His investigations lead him to the Peace Union and its Ban the Bomb campaign, another member of Daphne's laboratory is found dead. Gabriel struggles to lay aside his personal loyalties and confront the possibility that there are dark secrets lurking behind both deaths.

This fourth book in the popular Father Gabriel series examines the moral minefield of the complicity of scientists in the manufacture of weapons of mass destruction. It also reveals more about Gabriel's past.”

In many of de Maria’s work she deals with moral topics. She has an uncanny ability to write in such a way that the read is drawn in and feels part of the story. And finds themselves reflecting on the moral questions at hand. And she does so without preaching, but really making readers think. We do learn a lot more about Father Gabriel’s background in this work. And his has not been an easy journey. And that journey is at first clouding his insight into the cases at hand. For not only is a young woman dead and the circumstances suspicious, at least to Father Gabriel. But soon it appears his long time friend might be implicated if not in this death, than in something far worse.

As with the three previous novels, it was great to watch Father Gabriel put the pieces together. To see him work out the lock room mystery. But What I loved most about this one was finding out so much about him and his life before he joined the hermitage. 

I have greatly enjoyed everything I have read from de Maria’s masterful pen. And before I even begin this one I found out she has another, a biography of Saint Maximillian Kolbe coming in in about a month. That volume is from Ignatius as well, and is a part of the New Vision Books for young readers, continuing the series they have reprint some 30ish title from. I can only hope that Ignatius will put back into print de Maria’s first two novels.

This is an excellent read in a great series. It is historical fiction at its best. A priest solving mysteries is not new; Father Brown by Chesterton, Bishop Blackie Ryan by Andrew Greely, but my new favourite is Father Gabriel by de Maria.

Note: This book is part of a series of reviews: 2020 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

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