The Sleeping Witness

A Father Gabriel Mystery

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In this unusual murder mystery, the tranquility of Saint Mary's Abbey is shattered by the discovery of a gruesome crime in a cottage on the abbey grounds. A foreign artist and war hero seeking refuge from the world has been murdered. Marie Paige, the frail, sickly wife of the village doctor, lies beside him beaten into a coma.

The police arrest Marie's husband, convinced that they are looking at a crime of passion. But Dr. Paige finds himself with an unlikely champion: Fr. Gabriel, a blundering but brilliant Benedictine priest who believes in his innocence and feels compelled to search for the truth.

In a country struggling to come to terms with the devastation of the Second World War, even a secluded English village has its share of secrets and broken lives. It is not long before Fr. Gabriel and his companions find themselves embarking on a dangerous journey into the victims' troubled war histories and a chapter of Europe's bloodiest conflict that is almost too terrible to be acknowledged.

Fiorella De Maria

Fiorella De Maria was born in Italy of Maltese parents. She grew up in Wiltshire, England, and attended Cambridge University, where she received a Bachelor’s in English Literature and a Master’s in Renaissance Literature. She lives in Surrey with her husband and children.  A winner of the National Book Prize of Malta, she has published four other novels with Ignatius Press: Poor Banished Children, Do No Harm, We'll Never Tell Them and the first Father Gabriel mystery, The Sleeping Witness.


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by Kim
on 9/1/2019
Not what I was expecting...
I was expecting a whimsical murder mystery, ala Agatha Christie or Chesterton. There was of course a likeable, somewhat bumbling priest in an English countryside, but that's where the similarities end. Instead I became engrossed in a thriller, love story, political intrigue, horrors and betrayals of post WWII England. This  book was satisfying on many levels in less than 200 pages. I read it in close to one sitting without being fired from my job and am ready to start the second book. I hope there are more to come!
Review and Rate this Item

"Catholic writer De Maria deserves a wide audience."
Publishers Weekly

"This exciting murder mystery set in a peaceful English village has a satisfyingly tangled story, and its uncannily perceptive detective, an aging Benedictine monk, is always one step ahead of the police."
— Lucy Beckett
, Author,  A Postcard from the Volcano

"This marvelous mystery is not a formulaic reworking of an established genre but a wonderful work of detective fiction in its own right. I hope that this lovable Benedictine detective might have many more mysteries to solve in the future. More of the same please!"
— Joseph Pearce
, Author, Literary Converts

"De Maria's clear and confident writing produces a 'can't put it down' effect. This story will stay with you for a long time."
— Michael Richard
, Author, Tobit's Dog

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