"A sophisticated and baffling thriller . . . a real bone-freezer." —Publishers Weekly
"Ingenious, witty, literate—at once irreverent and compassionate—an impressive tour indeed for a first-time novelist." —Los Angeles Times
"Well-paced, tightly written, exciting as hell, and, quite possibly, the best mystery I've read in years." —Dallas Times-Herald
The Rosary Murders was William X. Kienzle's first Father Koesler mystery, published in 1978. Twenty-three more books followed, creating a best-selling mystery series mostly set in Detroit and reflecting the personality of its hero, Father Robert Koesler, a diocesan priest with a penchant for sleuthing. The Rosary Murders was named one of the top twenty-five mysteries of the twentieth century in spring 2000 by the Chicago Sun-Times. It was also made into a movie, with Donald Sutherland in the role of Father Koesler.
In The Rosary Murders, Detroit priests and nuns are being methodically murdered; all are found with a plain black rosary entwined between their fingers as a calling card. From Ash Wednesday, when the murderer first struck, the police seem helpless to solve the string of senseless murders. The weeks that follow become a nightmare for the crack homicide team headed by Lieutenant Walter Koznicki, until Father Koesler breaks the madmen's code.
Here is a story with tension, excitement, intelligence, and a rare wit and humor. Kienzle painstakingly leads you through every step in an intensive police investigation of heinous series of murders. Police procedure and Pulitzer Prize-winning newspaper reporting are as much a part of the action as the crimes themselves.
With superb control of the novel's movement, Kienzle can tantalize at a tortoise's pace and torment with a breakneck hare's pace.
The first in a series of great "mysteries in a religious context (Roman Catholic)".