St. Martin's Press, July 2008
Father Dowling has been serving as parish priest and resident sleuth at St. Hilary’s for a while now, but he’s no lifer, and there’s plenty that he doesn’t know about the old guard. So when a stranger comes to Fox River who isn’t a stranger to anyone but him, he has to rely on his prying housekeeper to tell him that the mystery man is actually a well-known murderer. Ten years ago, Nathaniel Green’s wife was dying of cancer, and after a short remission she relapsed into a coma. That small sliver of hope so utterly dashed must have been too much for him because when the nurses came to check on her they found that he had taken her off of her life support. Green’s return divides the community, but the more Father Dowling ponders the moral questions and reinvestigates the case, the more he wonders if Green committed any crime at all.
With parishioners up in arms, Father Dowling has to prove beyond a shadow of a doubt that a conviction is no proof of guilt in Ash Wednesday, the newest addition to Ralph McInerny’s acclaimed and beloved mystery series.