The Unexpected Death of Father Wilfred

Julius Falconer (2009)

Crime & Mystery   Fiction

One February evening, Fr Wilfred, the parish priest of the Sacred Heart Catholic church in Droitwich, tumbles out of his confessional, stabbed to death. His sister demands the best detective in the force, and Stan Wickfield is appointed to the case. Unfortunately he cannot identify the means, motive much less the perpetrator of the murder.

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About this book

One February evening in the year 1968, Fr Wilfred, the parish priest of the Sacred Heart Catholic church in Droitwich, tumbles out of his confessional, stabbed to death. His older sister demands the best detective in the force, and Stan Wickfield is appointed to the case. Unfortunately he cannot identify either the means or the motive of the murder, much less the perpetrator.

His investigation leads him through the highways and byways of tensions in the Catholic Church in the wake of the Second Vatican Council and brings him face to face with anti-Catholic sentiment in the local population. His suspects include an eccentric and learned septuagenarian spinster who spouts d’Azeglio every time they meet, a school technician rejected for the priesthood because of his sexuality, the custodian of Kenilworth Castle and a bookmaker with a taste for anti-papal sentiment. Motives for the priest’s death waver confusingly between contempt for his office, disapproval of a teenage indiscretion, personal hatred and suicide. Wickfield is at his wits’ end until his wife’s reading – a novella by Nicholas Montserrat – prods him towards a triumphant solution.

The story comes to a dramatic climax in two sermons preached by the dead priest’s curate, Fr Gabriel.

About Author

Julius Falconer

Julius Falconer completed six enjoyable years of university studies abroad (particularly slow, our Julius) before working as a translator back in the UK. Thinking that he could earn more as a teacher, to fund his lavish life-style, he took a PGCE at Leeds University and duly turned to teaching. He slaved away at the chalk-face for twenty-six long years in both Cornwall and Scotland before retiring to grow cabbages in Yorkshire, where he still lives. His wife of thirty-three years unfortunately died suddenly in 2000. He has one daughter, married. In 2009, looking to fill his new-found leisure profitably(?), he started to write detective novels and is still happily scribbling away seventeen books later. His interests include music, reading, walking, gardening and genealogy. Julius Falconer is a member of the Crime Writers’ Association. As well as some booklets and several dozen papers in professional journals, he is the author of eighteen murder mysteries featuring the diffident and cultured Inspector Wickfield. Because some of the stories are set in Worcestershire, he has featured in the Worcester News, on BBC Radio Hereford and Worcester and in the online Newsletter for the Worcestershire tourist board.

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