Cecilian Vespers

Hard Cover

Publisher: ECW Press
Price: $24.95
ISBN: 9781550228618
Purchase at Amazon
Anne Emery at ECWPress


Publisher: ECW Press
Price: $14.95
ISBN: 9781770410237
Purchase at Amazon


Publisher: ECW Press
Price: $8.69
Purchase at Kobo

Lawyer and bluesman Monty Collins is used to defending murderers, and occasionally investigating murders himself. But he’s never come up against anything like the case of Reinhold Schellenberg, a world-renowned German theologian whose blood-drenched body has been found on the altar of a church during Vespers on Saint Cecilia’s day. The controversial priest, once a top Vatican insider, provoked strong feelings in Catholics of all ideological stripes. Now those feelings have overflowed with horrifying results.

Schellenberg was in town for a course on the glorious music of the Church’s past, in company with students from around the world. So Monty has before him an international cast of suspects: a flamboyant Sicilian priest who left the Vatican under a cloud; an eccentric English monk who penned scathing attacks on Schellenberg’s actions during the Second Vatican Council; a disgruntled American ex-priest who can’t quite let go; a church lady with a history of violence; and, most perplexing of all, a cop from the former East Berlin. The case lifts the lid on fascinating episodes of Church history, thwarted ambitions, old grudges and long-simmering disputes. Somewhere in all this lies a motive so powerful it compelled the killer to take an axe to the elderly priest, nearly severing his head from his body.



Anne Emery has already won one Arthur Ellis Award for her first Monty Collins mystery, and this one should get her on the short list for another. Cecilian Vespers is slick, smart and populated with lively characters. It's also a nicely crafted mystery.

Globe and Mail

... Emery has once again done well to bridge the gap between education and entertainment, bringing her core protagonists to the forefront and skilfully crafting a cast of convincing characters around them in supporting roles. And the strong depth of plot, setting, mood and tone is evidence that the author has grown in her capacity to capture and convey a solid story - one that even makes going to church seem like it could be fun.

Atlantic Books Today

The first ... books, especially the first one, were great successes: crisp writing, well-drawn characters and intricate plots that left the reader going in all directions. As well, the books, in an entertaining way and with great humour, used the hierarchy of the Roman Catholic Church as cornerstones. Cecilian Vespers, the finest of the books, again puts the church in the starring role and continues with characters we have grown to love. Burke [has] a stunning grasp of church music ... Collins and Burke are on the case as it leads through Halifax, Rome and Germany. This is a sparkling novel. The church and its priests don't receive a free ride. In fact, some of what is done may shock you. Emery has continued her winning ways.

The Waterloo Region Record

A finely plotted crime novel ... Readers who enjoy ecclesiastical mysteries by William X. Kienzle and Julia Spencer-Fleming may want to try this one.

Library Journal (Starred Review)

Emery has increased the complexity of her plot this time out, and Monty, as always, is endearingly flawed ... The strongest reason to read Cecilian Vespers is for its expansive yet playful nature ... Mystery readers need not cry 'Miserere' at Monty and Father Burke's not-so-sacred adventures; 'Gloria in Excelsis Deo' is a far more fitting exclamation, sung with full voice.

Quill & Quire

Compelling ... The suspense mounts ... The large pool of suspects from around the globe helps ensure a challenging whodunit.

Publishers Weekly

This remarkable mystery is is flawlessly composed, intricately plotted, and will have readers hooked to the very last page. ... Cecilian Vespers is the most arresting and complex of the four [novels].

The Halifax Chronicle Herald

Well-researched and original ... wheels within wheels and plot twists aplenty.

The Sherbrooke Record