Forget kindly, selfless Father Flanagan - his antithesis is Father Edmond Music, a priest gone far astray. He finds joy in celebrating the pleasures of the flesh with his housekeeper, Maude, is involved in the disappearance of a thought-to-be Shakespeare manuscript, was born a Jew, and worst of all, he's an unabashed atheist. Let's say up front that some will be offended by what they may consider blasphemy; it's pure Isler who won the 1994 National Jewish Book Award for "The Prince Of West End Avenue." He's satirical, laugh out loud funny, exquisitely literate, and touching. He's also unwilling to be reined in by "popular constraints." Thanks to a much earlier love affair with the robust Kiki, who gave the church her family home, Beale Hall, Father Music is contentedly assigned to be the Hall's director with the stipulation that it be used as a spiritual retreat. Regrettably, the priest's laissez faire attitude has earned him a persistent enemy, one Father Twombly who is determinedly investigating the disappearance of a valuable manuscript from the Hall's library. Thus, at a rather advanced age Father Music is forced to try to outwit his vengeful nemesis. Mr. Isler laces his text with ruminations on life, love, and faith - not longueurs but substantial food for thought offered with sly winks and witty prose pictures. "Clerical Errors" is a rich rabelaisian feast.
Edmond Music, Catholic priest and director of Beale Hall research institute, has a secret: he doesn't believe in God. And that's not all. For the past forty years he has shared a bed with his housekeeper, Maude Moriarty from Donegal. In fact Edmond Music isn't even Edmond Music. He's Edmond Music, French child of Hungarian parents - and a Jew. As he sees out his days in his Shropshire mansion, devoting his time to kabbalistic studies, his buried pasts threaten to end the charade. Fred Twombly, professor of English from Joliet, Illinois, and half-century-long enemy, has arrived, determined to destroy him. What may be Shakespeare's lost masterpiece has disappeared from the Hall's famous library. Edmond must be to blame.