Stodghill Says So

An opinionated posting on a variety of subjects by a former newspaper reporter and columnist whose daily column was named best in Indiana by UPI. The Blog title is that used in his high school sports predictions for the Muncie Evening Press.

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Location: Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio, United States

At the age of 18 I was a 4th Infantry Division rifleman in the invasion of Normandy, then later was called back for the Korean War. Put in a couple of years as a Pinkerton detective. Much of my life was spent as a newspaper reporter, sports writer and daily columnist. Published three books on high school sports in Ohio and Indiana. I write mystery fiction for Alfred Hitchcock Mystery Magazine and others. Three books, Normandy 1944 - A Young Rifleman's War, The Hoosier Hot Shots, and From Devout Catholic to Communist Agitator are now available from Amazon, Barnes & Noble and other booksellers. So are four collections of short mysteries: Jack Eddy Stories Volumes 1 and 2, Midland Murders, and The Rough Old Stuff From Mike Shayne Mystery Magazine.

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Monday, January 26, 2009

Priests - Mysterious People


I sometimes wonder what it is about the priesthood that has led at least three wearers of the collar to write mysteries. One of them, Andrew Greeley, cranks out a book nearly as often as I change socks. He divides his time between churches in Chicago and Arizona but I can't help feeling that his priestly duties consume very little of that time.
Then there is Ralph McInerney, a priest at Notre Dame and a prolific writer of mysteries himself. Quite naturally, the protagonist of a long-running series is a priest, Father Dowling. Greeley frequently writes about a priest known to his friends as Blackie.
I met McInerney, although briefly, at some mystery writers affair twenty odd years ago. The late Joe Hensley, a good friend but not a priest, introduced us. After a quick handshake I hurried away to chase the late Rosemary Gatenby down a hall.
It seems "the late" applies to most people when you reach my age. However, I should explain that I am not and never have been in the habit of chasing ladies down halls although it is possible it happened sometime long ago. I was chasing Rosemary because in her younger days she lived in Muncie, the city where I worked as a newspaper reporter. I had just read her most recent book and wanted to say, "It was set in Tipton."
She was taken aback. "How did you know? I wanted it to be a secret."
"Because I lived in Tipton for a couple of months and know the layout of Indiana."
Back to priests, or in the case of the late William X. Kienzle, an ex-priest. Bill and I got to know each other not long after his first book, The Rosary Murders, became a bestseller. His protagonist was, not surprisingly, a priest named Father Koesler. Bill had the book nearly finished but couldn't come up with an ending. He was lying on the couch one night while the TV set was on when suddenly the subject of the program, incest, provided the ending he had been searching for.
Years later I was in need of a climax for a short story, Nightmare on North Hill. For no particular reason, Bill Kienzle came to mind and the perfect ending hit me. Not his ending, but close.
Sad to say, Andrew Greeley was seriously injured while getting out of a cab last November. Hopefully it did not put an end to his writing career after 120 books. He is 80, and we octogenarians don't take kindly to accidents.
There has to be a moral to this story. Just what it might be escapes me.



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