Excerpted from an online obituary at Zenit.org:


       Ralph McInerny Dies at Age 80

SOUTH BEND, Indiana, JAN. 29, 2010 – Prominent Catholic author, professor and cultural commentator Ralph McInerny died today at the age of 80.

Ralph McInerny was a professor of philosophy and the Michael P. Grace Professor of Medieval Studies at the University of Notre Dame

He was an acknowledged expert on the writings of St. Thomas Aquinas, and a prolific author. He penned over two dozen scholarly books, many more scholarly essays, and over 80 novels.

He wrote the popular book series Father Dowling Mysteries, which became a successful television program starring Tom Bosley and Tracy Nelson.


   Here’s a list of his Father Dowling books. There isn’t much doubt that in our world of mystery fiction, these are the ones he’ll be remembered for the longest:

     The Father Dowling series

1. Her Death of Cold (1977)


2. Bishop as Pawn (1978)


3. The Seventh Station (1977)
4. Lying Three (1979)
5. The Second Vespers (1980)
6. Thicker Than Water (1981)
7. A Loss of Patients (1982)
8. The Grass Widow (1983)
9. Getting a Way with Murder (1984)


10. Rest in Pieces (1985)
11. The Basket Case (1987)
12. Abracadaver(1989)
13. Four on the Floor (1989)
14. Judas Priest (1991)
15. Desert Sinner (1992)
16. Seed of Doubt (1993)


17. A Cardinal Offense (1994)
18. The Tears of Things (1996)
19. Grave Undertakings (2000)
20. Triple Pursuit (2001)
21. Prodigal Father (2002)
22. Last Things (2003)
23. Requiem for a Realtor (2004)
24. Blood Ties (2005)


25. The Prudence of Flesh (2006)
26. The Widow’s Mate (2007)
27. Ash Wednesday (2008)
28. The Wisdom of Father Dowling (2009)
29. Stained Glass (2009)


   As Monica Quill, he wrote 10 books in a series of equally light mysteries solved by Sister Mary Teresa, and under his own name: six books about lawyer Andrew Broom, 13 mysteries with the University of Notre Dame as the background if not an active participant itself, two books with Egidio Manfredi as the leading player, and most recently (2009) two books in his Rosary Chronicle series. Not to mention another long list of standalone novels and story collections, and three anthologies edited, including Murder Most Catholic (2002) with Martin H Greenberg.


   The television series Father Dowling Mysteries of the TV series (and add Mary Wicke to Tom Bosley and Tracy Nelson as one of the continuing stars) was first aired as an NBC made-for-TV movie in 1987 and its weekly run did not begin until 1989. After one season the show moved from NBC to ABC, where it lasted another two season.

   Tom Bosley played Father Dowling, while Tracy Nelson played his assistant in solving crimes, Sister Stephanie ‘Steve’ Oskowski. Also appearing in all 44 episodes was Mary Wicke as Father Dowling’s always fussing housekeeper, Marie.

   The series has not yet been released on commercial DVDs — and why not?