Thursday 28 March 2024

Missing, Presumed Lost - Fiorella De Maria - Father Gabriel Mysteries Book 5

Missing, Presumed Lost
Father Gabriel Mysteries Book 5
Fiorella De Maria
Ignatius Press
eISBN 9781642292909

Missing, Presumed Lost - Fiorella De Maria - Father Gabriel Mysteries Book 5

This was the seventeenth book by Fiorella de Maria that I have 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 book, 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 fifth 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 has finally returned to St Mary's Abbey, but all is not well in the sleepy Wiltshire village of Sutton Westford. Joseph Beaumont, a former village boy turned London property developer, has returned to build a row of houses on the grounds of a disused mine. A local opposition group - led by Joseph's boyhood nemesis - campaigns to stop the development, and Joseph finds himself the target of increasingly menacing threats. Then, workmen make a gruesome discovery on the building site: the skeleton of a child who went missing thirty years before, while the Great War was raging. Fr Gabriel is called in to investigate, but the task seems impossible. How can he uncover a secret that has been carefully hidden for three decades? Is the killer even still alive? Worse, as the tragic details emerge of a lost little girl's final moments, Gabriel is tormented by the memory of his own daughter and the life that was stolen from her many years before.

Missing Presumed Lost explores the themes of childhood innocence, guilt, and the responsibilities faced by society to protect the young. The book also delves deeper into Gabriel's own troubled past and the need to lay it to rest.”

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. In the last story we learned a lot more about Father Gabriel’s background. In this one the pain and impact of his wife’s and child’s murder comes home in powerful and moving ways. His own painful journey is drawn to the forefront as a body is found and it has the power to destroy the whole town. Father Gabriel is invited to cooperate with the inspector on trying to solve this cold case. Between Father Gabriel’s own pain from his past, and the case before them, will he pick up on the clues in time to prevent disasters. By the ends of the story there has been a suicide, a new murder and still the truth might now come out. Can the pains of the past finally come to light and maybe bring healing? To find out you will need to read this excellent mystery.   

As with the four previous novels, it was great to watch Father Gabriel put the pieces together. In this he knew early on who had key pieces of information, but it takes a long time and some tragic events to bring them to light. To see him work out the details of the cold case, and some to slowly to save other lives was moving. 

I have greatly enjoyed everything I have read from de Maria’s masterful pen. I still hold out hope that Ignatius will put back into print de Maria’s first two novels.

This is another 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. I can easily recommend this book and series!

Note: This book is part of a series of reviews: 2024 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

No comments: