Program Details

Divine Justice: The Clerical Detective Novel

Margery Marcus
Arts & Letters / Storytelling

Course Description

English Writer, G.K. Chesterton invented the clerical detective in 1910 when he created Father Brown, a Roman Catholic priest who uses his observational and philosophical insights to solve crimes in his small parish in the Cotswolds. Fifty years later, American writer Harry Kemelman, inspired by Chesterton, wrote Friday, the Rabbi Slept Late, introducing Rabbi David Small, a Talmudic scholar dealing with temple politics and murder. The first Rabbi Small book won the coveted Edgar Award for Best First Novel in 1964, attesting to its universal appeal. Marcus examines the reasons for the popularity of clerical detective novels. She discusses a variety of fictional sleuths from different religious backgrounds including Methodist minister, Reverend Randollph; army pilot turned Episcopal priest, Clare Fergusson; intrepid Celtic nun, Sister Fidelma; and Shaker sleuth, Sister Rose Callahan. Marcus’ lecture is accompanied by a PowerPoint presentation and a reading list aligned with the lecture.

About the Instructor

  • Margery Marcus, PhD, an award-winning English teacher, retired from Broward County Public Schools after a long and successful career, both as a district-level administrator and as a teacher. She has taught English at every grade level from middle school through graduate school, currently focusing on lecturing to adult audiences. Her career has been guided by a deep love of learning, and a passion for literature ignited when she read the very first page of Charlotte’s Web as a child. Her enthusiasm for sharing great stories told by great writers motivates her to bring literature to life for her audiences. Marcus holds a Bachelor of Arts in English from The College of New Jersey, a Master’s in Education from The University of North Carolina, and a Doctorate in Education from Nova Southeatern University.

Upcoming programs presented by Margery Marcus.

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