I wish I'd written to William X. Kienzle while he was alive. He was one of my favorite authors, writing not just mysteries, but mysteries that included a strong religious component.
Kienzle's final book, The Gathering, was not his strongest work and, frankly, it isn't much of a mystery. As usual, Kienzle uses the backdrop of the story to illustrate some of the changes Vatican II precipitated.
Regrettably, I found the most interesting part of this story Koesler's reading of a column in the Washington Post written by Sally Jenkins in response to the heatstroke death of pro football player Korey Stringer. At the time of Stringer's death, Minnesota's coach contented that the death was 'unexplainable;' experts, however, unanimously agreed that the death was preventable. "One expert," Jenkins writes, "called it 'inexcusable.' 'No pro football player,' he said, 'should die of heatstroke . . . if the most basic attention is paid and precautions are taken.'"
Jenkins continues, "Unexplainable. Inexcusable. Stand those two words side by side and you see why [the coach] clings so hard to his. If Stringer's death was explainable, it was preventable. And if it was preventable it was inexcusable."
Jenkins addresses the mystique of football and its insistence on the players pushing themselves byond ordinary human endurance, concluding:
"Stringer's death was all to explainable: He was killed by an old idea. He was the victim of an archaic concept of toughness."