Illinois State Library

Illinois Center for the Book


Individual Author Record

General Information

Name:  Ralph McInerney  

Pen Name: Monica Quill

Genre: Fiction

Audience: Adult;

Born: 1929 in Minneapolis, Minnesota

Died: January 2010 in Mishawaka, Indiana


-- Ralph McInerney on WorldCat -- http://www.worldcat.org/search?q=ralph+mcinerney


Illinois Connection

McInerney has written books based in Illinois - the Father Dowling series is based in Fox River, Illinois and his Sister Mary Teresa series written under the pen name of Monica Quill is about a 5'2'' 200-lb. nun in Chicago.

Biographical and Professional Information

McInerney is a note philosopher and the author of more than 50 books - including many of the Father Dowling mystery series for which he received a lifetime achievement award from the Mystery Writers of America. He has also written under the pen name of Monical Quill. Writers of America.


Published Works

  • FATHER DOWLING Mysteries - Main Character: Father Roger Dowling, Priest, Fox River, Illinois
  • Her Death of Cold , Vanguard Press, 1977
  • The Seventh Station , Vanguard Press, 1977
  • Bishop as Pawn , Ace Books, 1978
  • Lying Three , Ace Books, 1979
  • Second Vespers , Ace Books, 1980
  • Thicker than Water , Vanguard Press, 1981
  • A Loss of Patients , Vanguard Press, 1982
  • The Grass Widow , Vanguard Press, 1983
  • Getting Away with Murder , Boxtree Limited, 1984
  • Rest in Pieces , Vanguard Press, 1985
  • The Basket Case, St. Martin's Press, 1987
  • Four on the Floor, Worldwide Library, 1994
  • Abracadaver (aka: Sleight of Hand), St. Martin's Press, 1989
  • Judas Priest, St. Martin's Press, 1991
  • Desert Sinner, Worldwide Library, 1992
  • Seed of Doubt, St. Martin's Press, 1993
  • A Cardinal Offense, St. Martin's Press, 1994
  • The Tears of Things, St. Martin's Press, 1996
  • Grave Undertakings, Minotaur Books, 1999
  • Triple Pursuit, St. Martin's Minotaur, 2001
  • Prodigal Father, St. Martin's Minotaur, 2002
  • Last Things, St. Martin's Minotaur, 2003
  • Requiem for a Realtor, St. Martin's Minotaur, 2004
  • Blood Ties, St. Martin's Minotaur, 2005
  • The Prudence of the Flesh, St. Martin's Minotaur, 2006
  • The Widow's Mate, St. Martin's Minotaur, 2007
  • Ash Wednesday, St. Martin's Minotaur, 2008
  • Thou Shalt Not Kill, Signet, 1992 - written with GK Chesterton and John Clifford MortimerThe Wisdom of Father Dowling, Five Star, 2009Written as Monica Quill - SISTER MARY TERESA Series - Main Character: Mary Teresa Dempsey, a 5'2 200-lb. nun in Chicago, Illinois
  • Not a Blessed Thing, Vanguard Press, 1981
  • Let Us Pray, 1982
  • And Then There Was Nun, Vanguard Press, 1984
  • Nun of the Above, Vanguard Press, 1985
  • Sine Qua Nun, Vanguard Press, 1986
  • Veil of Ignorance, St. Martin's Press, 1988
  • Sister Hood, St. Martin's Press, 1991
  • Nun Plussed, St. Martin's Press, 1993
  • Half Past Nun, St. Martin's Press, 1997
  • Death Takes the Veil, Five Star, 2001


Selected Titles At Your Library

Her death of cold /
ISBN: 0814907814. OCLC Number:

Vanguard Press,. New York :. ©1977.

The seventh station /
ISBN: 0814907873. OCLC Number:

Vanguard Press,. New York :. ©1977.

Father Roger Dowling, reluctant detective and weary parish priest, is back. His hopes for a quiet retreat in the country are shattered when one of his companions is murdered. Police Captain Keegan needs his help, so Father Dowling puts his keen mind to work. Will the priest identify the killer before he, himself, becomes a victim?

Bishop as pawn /
ISBN: 0441062865. OCLC Number:

Charter,. New York :. ©1978.

Lying three /
ISBN: 0441505155. OCLC Number:

Charter,. New York :. 1980, ©1979.

Second vespers /
ISBN: 0441757243. OCLC Number:

Charter,. New York :. 1981.

Thicker than water /
ISBN: 0814908586. OCLC Number:

Vanguard Press,. New York :. ©1981.

The grass widow /
ISBN: 0814908667. OCLC Number:

Vanguard Press,. New York :. ©1983.

Clare O'Leary comes to see Father Dowling claiming that she has run away from her husband because he was planning to kill her.

Getting a way with murder.
ISBN: 1852837063. OCLC Number:

Boxtree,. . 1992.

Rest in pieces /
ISBN: 0814909051. OCLC Number:

Vanguard Press,. New York :. ©1985.

Father Dowling must see through the havoc of Latin American politics, liberation, theology, terrorism, and cocaine in the quiet little town of Fox River.

The basket case /
ISBN: 0312911572. OCLC Number:

St. Martin's Press,. New York :. 1988, ©1987.

Four on the floor /
ISBN: 0373261543. OCLC Number:

Worldwide,. Toronto ;. [1994]

Abracadaver /
ISBN: 0312025335. OCLC Number:

St. Martin's Press,. New York :. ©1989.

Roger Dowling, the compassionate priest of Fox River, Illinois, investigates the complex web of connections behind a ring used in a parish magic show, inscribed with the initials of a missing woman.

Desert sinner /
ISBN: 0373261586. OCLC Number:

St. Martin's Press,. New York :. 1992.

"Desert Sinner is the fifteenth mystery to feature Roger Dowling, the shrewd and compassionate priest of Fox River, Illinois. Ralph McInerny's novels are known for their subtle humor, humanity, grasp of religious issues, and Dowling's instinctively accurate sleuthing. In Desert Sinner, a former Las Vegas showgirl named Stacey Wilson is jailed for the murder of her husband, Marvin, a rich playboy whose marriage to the showgirl was a local scandal. Stacey staunchly claims innocence; despite a life sentence, she refuses to disclose her whereabouts on the murder day. While the police see the case as closed, Father Dowling, uncomfortable with the verdict, privately seeks the truth. Sin, innocence, and their linked consequences are played out by a varied cast of characters, in an absorbing plot that Father Dowling's readers will enjoy"--Dust jacket flap.

Seed of doubt /
ISBN: 0312093810. OCLC Number:

. .

While Father Dowling investigates the death of a wealthy dowager, a second death occurs as the family squabbles over the contents of her will.

A cardinal offense /
ISBN: 0312112831. OCLC Number:

St. Martin's Press,. New York :. 1994.

In St. Hilary's rectory, Father Dowling meets with a husband seeking an annulment of his marriage. Then he meets with the wife who opposes it--they have been married 30 years. The husband is murdered and Father Dowling goes to work. By the author of Seed of Doubt.

The tears of things /
ISBN: 0312147465. OCLC Number:

St. Martin's Press,. New York :. 1996.

In the 17th Father Dowling mystery, the plot deals with adoption and murder. At its center is a woman born out of wedlock. The mother gave her up for adoption and she may have been adopted by the father.

Grave undertakings :
ISBN: 0312203098. OCLC Number:

St. Martin's Minotaur,. New York :. 2000.

When the body of a murdered mobster is stolen from its grave, Father Roger Dowling tries to discover whether the body's disappearance is related to the mobster's mysterious death.

Triple pursuit :
ISBN: 031226948X. OCLC Number:

St. Martin's Minotaur,. New York :. 2001.

St. Hillary's Father Dowling investigates the death of a young woman killed in traffic. Meanwhile, the rivalry between elderly suitors threatens to disrupt the peaceful parish.

Prodigal father :
ISBN: 0312291299. OCLC Number:

St. Martin's Minotaur,. New York :. 2002.

During a spiritual retreat on the grounds of a declining religious order, Father Dowling finds himself investigating the murder of a man on the property and discovers that the case is complicated by a long-standing real-estate dispute.

Last things :
ISBN: 031230899X. OCLC Number:

St. Martin's Minotaur,. New York :. ©2003.

Enlisted by the head of a local family to help her niece relinquish her ambitions for more earthly pursuits, Father Dowling becomes enmeshed in the family's edgy interrelations, which are marked by an unsolved murder.

Requiem for a realtor :
ISBN: 0312324170. OCLC Number:

St. Martin's Minotaur,. New York :. 2004.

Father Dowling confronts an ethical dilemma when one of his parishioners reveals information in confidence about a troubled marriage, and the parishioner's spouse later becomes the victim of a brutal hit-and-run "accident" that could be murder.

Blood ties :
ISBN: 031233690X. OCLC Number:

St. Martin's Minotaur,. New York :. 2005.

When an adopted young woman's search for her birth parents leads to murder, Father Dowling and attorney Amos Cadbury risk the heartbreak and peace of two families as they seek the killer of Martha Lynch's biological father.

The prudence of the flesh /
ISBN: 0312351445. OCLC Number:

St. Martin's Minotaur,. New York :. 2006.

Father Dowling comes to the aid of Gregory Barret, a former classmate who had left the priesthood twenty-five years earlier, when he is sued by a woman alleging that he had sexually exploited her as a child, a case that is complicated by the son she claims is his.

The widow's mate :
ISBN: 0312364555. OCLC Number:

St. Martin's Minotaur,. New York :. 2007.

The discovery of the mangled body of Wallace Flanagan in one of his father's cement mixers sends Father Dowling on an investigation into the secret past of the victim, the heir to a lucrative concrete business, who supposedly had left town more than a decade earlier.

Ash Wednesday /
ISBN: 0312364563. OCLC Number:

St. Martin's Minotaur,. New York :. 2008.

Father Dowling becomes entangled in a decade-old crime when he meets Nathaniel Green, returning home after being convicted of killing his terminally ill wife, and suspects that Green may not have committed the crime to which he confessed.

Thou shalt not kill :
ISBN: 0451172981. OCLC Number:

Signet,. New York, N.Y. :. ©1992.

The wisdom of Father Dowling /
ISBN: 1594146799. OCLC Number:

Five Star,. Detroit, MI :. 2009.

Presents fifteen short stories featuring amateur sleuth Father Dowling.

Not a blessed thing! :
ISBN: 0814908497. OCLC Number:

Vanguard Press,. New York :. ©1981.

And then there was nun :
ISBN: 0814908799. OCLC Number:

Vanguard Press,. New York :. ©1984.

Nun of the above :
ISBN: 0814908993. OCLC Number:

Vanguard Press,. New York, N.Y. :. ©1985.

Sine qua nun :
ISBN: 0814909264. OCLC Number:

Vanguard Press,. New York :. ©1986.

The sister investigates the murders of a sleazy author and a tv interviewer.

The veil of ignorance /
ISBN: 0312023081. OCLC Number:

St. Martin's Press,. New York :. ©1988.

Sister Hood :
ISBN: 0312046022. OCLC Number:

. .

"When Donna Moran leaves Chicago, it's as the daughter of Iggie Moran, a businessman with a shady background and a reputed drug kingpin. When she returns, she is Sister Mary Magdalene of the reclusive Carmelite order, called to testify before a grand jury in a sensational murder trial that touches her father. Sister Mary Teresa Dempsey of the declining order of Martha and Mary offers to shelter the controversial nun. But the M & M's Frank Lloyd Wright--designed home on Walton Street becomes a madhouse, besieged by the media, police, and curious onlookers. When her guest disappears after an early-morning Mass, Emtee Dempsey and her sister nuns Kim and Joyce mount their own investigation--only to unravel a tangled family history that may expose a murderer."--Book jacket.

Nun plussed :
ISBN: 0312098901. OCLC Number:

St. Martin's Press,. New York :. 1993.

A former student of Sister Mary Theresa has been murdered, and her estranged husband pleads guilty, to the surprise of their friends, but when a second related murder occurs, the Chicago nun sets out to trap the true killer.

Half past nun :
ISBN: 0312155417. OCLC Number:

St. Martin's Press,. New York :. 1997.

Sister Mary Teresa hunts a serial killer in Chicago. The novel is as much about murder, as about feminism, the use of computers in convents and the aging of the orders. By the author of Let Us Prey.

Death takes the veil and other stories /
ISBN: 0786231432. OCLC Number:

Five Star,. Waterville, Me. :. 2001.

A collection of short stories featuring septuagenarian nun Sister Mary Teresa Dempsey of the Order of Mary and Martha, better known as "Emtee" or "Attila the Nun."


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