See No Evil

See No Evil

"See No Evil: A Father Gabriel Mystery" by Fiorella Da Maria, Ignatius Press, 2020, 225 pages, $16.95

In England, shortly after the end of World War II, Father Gabriel is absent from St. Mary’s Abbey. He has been sent to the Church of Saint Patrick to assist Father Foley, recovering from a heart attack. The Irish Catholic priest isn't up to running a parish.

“See No Evil: A Father Gabriel Mystery” by Fiorella Da Maria, opens with Gabriel hoping to return to his beloved abbey. It ends with his wishing to stay at St. Patrick’s, out of a sense of duty. In between, a murder takes place.

Father Gabriel is sent to attend Christmas at the household of wealthy parishioners the Martins. It's the late 1940s. The family’s annual custom is to host St. Patrick’s priest at Christmas. Using his heart condition as an excuse, Father Foley begs off, sending Gabriel instead.

Father Gabriel soon finds why Foley ducked the party. The family, whatever their surface appearance, are not nice. They made their fortune on the black market during the war and increased it post-war seemingly through shady transactions. They're at each other’s throats.

As it turns out, one of the guests, Victor Gladstone, is found dead on the grounds the next morning. His daughter, who escaped from a nearby nursing home the night before is found by the body, claiming she has killed him. Father Gabriel soon realizes the case is not nearly so open and shut.

Victor Gladstone has numerous enemies who might want him dead. He was a muckraking journalist with an odious personality. He drove his daughter to insanity. Rigidly atheistic, Gladstone disinherited his son when the son became Catholic.

Gabriel’s investigations also reveal Gladstone had witnessed a war crime in the final days of World War II. Gladstone was writing a book about it, a book that could potentially endanger people associated with the perpetrators. And everyone associated with the Martin family seems to have dangerous secrets to hide.

“See No Evil” is the third Father Gabriel mystery. As with the earlier books, the plot quickly captures readers, presenting questions involving morality and ethics as well as crime.

Mark Lardas, an engineer, freelance writer, amateur historian, and model-maker, lives in League City. His website is marklardas.com.

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