Page last updated: November 23, 2018
In Chant of Death, the ‘seven deadlies,’ the Seven Deadly Sins, are fleshed out in a complex, unfolding narrative of suspense, darkness, and deceit…
Straight from the headlines, and drawing from centuries of Christian monastic practice, Chant of Death is a mystery set in a fictional Abbey in southern Louisiana… where Spanish moss veils the landscape, and a murderous soul has found a cloistered refuge.
Everyone acknowledges that Fr. Paul, the handsome and disciplined ascetic choirmaster at St. Andrew’s Abbey, is the genius behind the meteoric success of the monks’ first commercial album of chant recordings, Godspeak. Not only has this enchanting music satisfied deep longings for spiritual communion with God—it has leaped to the top of the popular music charts, going Gold, and bringing the Abbey staggering, unprecedented wealth, far beyond their traditional bread-breaking enterprise.
But perhaps Fr. Paul has gone too far in his modern innovations, flouting the traditional simplicity of plainchant’s seven-note purity, honed through centuries of sincere devotion and prayer? Are the menacing acts of sacrilege plaguing the Abbey a sign they’ve lost God’s favor and proceed toward destruction—as the possibly mad, enigmatic monk Eli-Jah claims? Or is it all part of a network of evil bred in dark corners and darker hearts, spreading to include even murder within the hallowed sanctuary?
Fr. Malachi, the community’s Abbot and a former psychiatrist before taking orders after his wife’s untimely suicide, is clear-headed and idealistic. He has seen the accumulation of sordid, destructive acts poisoning the atmosphere of his beloved Abbey, and is determined to root out the murderer among them before the devil can get his due.
Set in Louisiana Cajun country, where pious faith and superstition often mingle seamlessly, Chant of Death challenges minds and hearts nearly to the breaking point—until the tangled understory powering these malicious acts is revealed.
Read a Sample:
New York Times
READER VIEWS, Victoria Gonzales, December 2010:
This is the PERFECT book. It blends mystery, intrigue, history, and the unexplained into a short, but thrilling book. . . . The book is well written so there are clues to the ending, but I certainly never guessed who the murderer was. . . . Chant of Death is unique and very good. . . . Each character is different and memorable. There are also inspiring quotations at the beginning of each chapter. . . . Diane Marquart Moore and Isabel Anders have provided us with a thrilling mystery, the quality of which compares to Agatha Christie’s stories. Read the full Review
With great insight into the intersection of the sacred and the profane, Chant of Death offers a mystery with a mystical twist. Intelligent, compelling, and fascinating.—CANDY PAULL, Author of The Art of Abundance, School of Theology, University of the South
Who would ever suspect that a monastery where a group of monks make glorious music could be anything less than heaven! But their successful CD, Godspeak, brings them more than wealth, it opens up what can only be imagined as the gates of hell. Don't pick up this mind-grabbing mystery unless you want to be transported into a world of intrigue, psychological fear, and the dark side of human nature. Does goodness win? You find out!—SUSANNA METZ, Dir. of Center for Small Churches, School
Chant of Death is a remarkable piece of storytelling: grounded in the real and the observable but connected as well to the magical and the ineffable. Diane Marquart Moore and Isabel Anders are rare intelligences in the world of mystery writers. They have woven a tale that is at once a traditional mystery with nods here and there to the best of the writers in the genre. But they have also written a thoroughly contemporary work that explores the medieval church as well as the challenges faced by the post-modern church, the vagaries and varieties of every kind of love imaginable, the consolations of both philosophy and modern psychology, the lures and temptations of both monastic life and life on the outside. This work is engrossing and satisfying, a tapestry one can more easily enter than leave behind. Rich, expansive, masterfully plotted to please the broadest spectrum of readers.—DARRELL BOURQUE, Poet Laureate of Louisiana
Set in a Benedictine monastery in Louisiana, Chant of Death is one of those rare novels that examines contemporary issues of the church with candor, erudition, and spiritual insight. It is also an exploration of what it means to live a holy life in the face of spiritual and physical assaults. In the end, Father Malachi becomes not merely an amateur detective in pursuit of a killer, but a consummate investigator of the human heart, probing the failings and frailties of all who surround him.—LISA GRALEY, Poet, Writer, and Professor at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette
Divine unity, pedophilia, love, chant, voodoo, monks and the power of seven. The rousing mystery, Chant of Death, combines spiritual wisdom with incredible real life observation. It's a rare blend of spirituality, intrigue, and psychology. Makes me think: Not ‘Roll Over Beethoven,’ but ‘Move Over Dan Brown!’ An excellent read, I was fascinated.—JO ANN LORDAHL, Author of Secrets and Wolf World
Superstition jousts with metaphysical speculations, religious politics with pure devotion, commercialism with poverty, as two witty and highly literate authors host a delightful sojourn at a Benedictine monastery in south Louisiana. The pious Abbot, a former psychiatrist, finds the Rule a porous shield from secular intrusions, including murder most foul.—ANNE SIMON, Louisiana District Judge, Retired
An intelligent, entertaining murder mystery enhanced by quotes worth contemplating and an education in the spiritual importance of chant, both innovative and traditional. After making the acquaintance of the wise and complex Abbot Malachi, I hope to continue a friendship with him and his brothers in the near future.—MARLENE LEFEVER, Vice President of Educational Development at David C Cook
The forces of God and Mammon collide in a south Louisiana monastery in Diane Moore and Isabel Anders’ compelling narrative. Dramatic, fast-paced, learned without being pedantic, this novel entertains and informs as it shows us a monastic community all too human and plagued with its own secular demons. This novel has it all: religion, politics, sexual intrigue, and a pop culture infiltrating the few sacred spaces left in our world.—MARY ANN WILSON, Endowed Professor of Humanities at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette
Chant of Death, Kindle Edition