The Academic Exercise (Father Petersen Mysteries) Kindle Edition
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In these stories, which can be read alone, but share some similarities, one has the sense that one has entered a cozy world, a world in which things go wrong, but will be made right.
I particularly loved the last story, a Christmas story, in which Father Petersen exhibits exemplary charity towards those on the street. It being Christmas time now, it was the perfect story to read on my Kindle sitting by the hearth on a cold evening.
I also recommend Bruen's other book, Impossible Possibilities (Tales of the Short Bow).
Bruen dedicates the work to Monsignor Michael Farina who was a priest in residence at St. Patrick's. The fictional priest, Fr. Peterson no doubt owes something to Fr. Farina, but also to Fr. Brown. I don't want to summarize the stories because that would not only be a spoiler in the sense of depriving the reader of the adventure, but it would also tend to spoil the atmosphere of these nicely crafted gems. I'll give away only one detail. Fr. Peterson has a friend, Matt Hart, a Catholic University law professor, who features in three of the four stories. He was a high school classmate of Fr. Petersen's and they meet once a month on the first Wednesday for a dinner that Matt cooks. This friendship is part of the context for three of the stories. That's the only hint I'll give you.
The stories are each well done, finely crafted and evoke Washington, D.C. and its landmarks. I suppose I can offer no higher praise than the fact that when I had read the fourth story I experienced an acute pang of disappointment that I was finished. I hope Gerry finds time to write some more of these little gems.
In the interests of full disclosure (something everyone tells me is important), I actually know Gerry because he's a fellow member of the D.C. Chesterton Society which meets at Famous Dave's in Sterling on the first Saturday of each month from 3 to 5. He also pestered me to write a review, but that's the extent of his interference.
In each of these stories, I had an "oh, that's a good twist" moment. I would have given it five stars, but the conversation and some of the narrative is a bit stilted. Bruen has a great idea here and, after a bit of honing, could put GKC's stories to the test!
Wonderful, escapist literature that is also a cerebral read!
Chesterton is quoted as saying, "Thieves respect property. They merely wish the property to become their property that they may more perfectly respect it." In this case, Gerry demonstrates his deep respect for the author by taking Chesterton's wry and whimsical approach to analyzing the human condition and making it his own.
Hey, for 99 cents, you can't go wrong! Read it today.