Father Dowling has been serving as parish priest and resident sleuth at St. Hilaryís for a while now, but heís no lifer, and thereís plenty that he doesnít know about the old guard. So when a stranger comes to Fox River who isnít 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 Greenís 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. Greenís 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 McInernyís acclaimed and beloved mystery series.