This is the cover of "The Day of the Lie" by William Brodrick. (CNS)
WASHINGTON (CNS) -- Even though William Brodrick gave up the monastic life in the Augustinian order, just before priestly ordination, to be a lawyer, another call also had been tugging at him. It was persistent, and it didn't let go.
Finally, after 10 years as an attorney, he put pen to paper and started writing what would be the first of six "Father Anselm" novels, which have proven popular in Europe and are only now gaining a toehold in the United States.
Father Anselm is a Gilbertine monk in England, but he often gets the approval of the monastery's superior to travel throughout Europe as long-dormant issues rise to the fore, causing great dilemmas for nearly all parties years later. Two novels in the series, although set in the present, deal with the Holocaust and with Soviet oppression in Poland.
"His task is as much to understand as it is to solve," said the British-born Brodrick, 57, in a telephone interview with Catholic News Service from France, where he and his family live across the street from a cathedral whose patron is the book series' namesake. The books are called "thrillers," to distinguish them from other crime and detective genres, although Brodrick noted the Father Anselm books might be a different breed altogether.