When Father Bredder gets involved with murder—Heaven only knows what will happen next…


Named “A Red Badge Novel of Suspense” alongside Agatha Christie, Michael Innes, and Hugh Pentecost, The Father Bredder Mysteries, written by Leonard Wibberley under the pen name Leonard Holton, inspired a television show starring George Kennedy.

Father Joseph Bredder was a decorated sergeant in the U.S. Marine Corps. before becoming a Franciscan priest and amateur detective who both solves crimes and saves souls—all with a sense of humor.

“All the reader could ask... adventure, warm humor, and provocative nuggets of wisdom.”—The Los Angeles Times

“There is an ingenious interplay of violence and death, but the best part is the humorous portrait of the priest.”—Kirkus Reviews


“The Father Bredder stories are notable for their warmth of characterization and the wit and wisdom which grace their pages.”—Dodd, Mead & Company


There are eleven books in series.

Leonard Wibberley
The Saint Maker (Book 1)

In the first book in the series, Father Bredder makes a most ungodly discovery—a woman’s decapitated head has been left in a pew in the back of his church.


“Father Joseph Bredder is one of the most satisfactory of religious detectives, with commendably greater interest in saving a soul than in solving a case.”—The New York Times


“Amazing.”—Los Angeles Herald Express


“Father Joseph Bredder is a fascinating investigator; full of suspense and good humour.”—John O’London’s

A Pact With Satan (Book 2)

Father Joseph Bredder thought Mrs. Wentworth must be deranged. How could a sane woman expect him to believe that her dead husband was trying to burn her to death? Dr. Wentworth had died in a road accident when his car had crashed into a pylon and burst into flames. Now his widow heard his voice at night, threatening her with the same fate…


“All the reader could ask… adventure, warm humor, and provocative nuggets of wisdom.”—The Los Angeles Times


“There is an ingenious interplay of violence and death, but the best part is the humorous portrait of the priest.”—Kirkus Reviews


“There's lots of humor in the story and the result is highly entertaining.”—Clerical Detectives

Leonard Wibberley
Secret of the Doubting Saint (Book 3)

To solve two murders and find a missing diamond, Father Bredder must turn for help to a saint who has been dead for nearly 2,000 years.


“The priest-sleuth is a warm, human figure and a welcome newcomer to the amateur detective ranks.”—Manchester Evening News

Leonard Wibberley
Deliver Us From Wolves (Book 4)

When Father Bredder leaves his California parish for a visit to the shrine of Fatima in Portugal, he gets asked by the local bishop to investigate a murder blamed on werewolves by the superstitious locals in a remote village, complete with medieval castle and an elegant countess with a passion for racing cars.


“…this was a lot of fun, a very well told and surprisingly suspenseful ‘werewolf’ tale, set in the usual, overly superstitious, isolated mountain village, home to a handful of shady characters / red herrings, as well as a cunning Countess high up on the hill in her creepy castle (complete with torture chamber dungeon.) … it kept me guessing up to the end, and now I'm looking forward to more adventures with Father Bredder...”—Goodreads Review

Leonard Wibberley
Flowers By Request (Book 5)

When Father Bredder sets out looking for bass section to add to his convent choir, he becomes embroiled in a cold case investigation of the murder of a wealthy financier found with a hunting arrow in his back, lying in a bed of white gladioli in the garden of his Beverly Hills home...

“Another wonderful read from Leonard Holton. His writing is a joy and the story is up lifting and suspenseful at the same time.”—Amazon Review



Leonard Wibberley
Out of the Depths (Book 6)


The catch was supposed to be halibut, but what Father Bredder reeled in was a corpse in a scuba suit.


The police called it accidental drowning…


The catch was, both air tanks were full…


Father Bredder decided to unravel the mystery on his own, and suddenly he himself was the prime suspect…


The catch was, he was also to be the next victim.

Father Bredder and his friend Lt. Minardi of L.A. look below the surface to snag triple killers. Will delight scuba fans.The Saturday Review



Leonard Wibberley
A Touch of Jonah (Book 7)


This time, Father Bredder finds himself embroiled in a mystery reminiscent of Murder on the Orient Express set on a boat during the Transpac Yacht Race to Honolulu.

Father Bredder joins the crew of the Fair Maid to determine if the captain of the boat is cursed or if someone is trying to kill him.

A Touch of Jonah gives us landlubbers the next best thing to being part of that exhilarating, grueling and wonder-filled obstacle course that is the Transpac ocean race without our having to run its dangers. This is a superior piece of craft--the transference of the actual sensate quality of race sailing to words on paper. And Holton has done it, surprisingly enough, in the form of a mystery book, one of his Father Bredder seriesThe Los Angeles Times



Leonard Wibberley
A Problem in Angels (Book 8)


When Father Bredder was persuaded to attend a concert by a string quartet, he expected an evening without much excitement. But when the first violinist dies of an apparent heart attack, Father Bredder can't help but take note.


As he conducts his investigation, he uncovers a history of murder and revenge dating back to World War II, all intermeshed with the story of an old and valuable violin.

“Father Bredder's eighth secular excursion into the world of murder and mystery begins with a death at a string quartet concert. The background of violins and their makers and repairers is fascinating.”—Saturday Review

“The atmosphere is seductive. Father Bredder is the kingpin of the narrative, and then there is a perpetual chorus composed of nuns, who bear modest witness; assorted onlookers and suspects; corpses; and, of course, the murderer, mysterious as the graves he is busily filling, one by one.”—The New Yorker


Leonard Wibberley
The Mirror of Hell (Book 9)

When Lt. Minardi’s 16-year-old daughter attends a summer drama and cheerleading program at a local college, students begin turning up dead. While investigating the case, Minardi and Father Bredder uncover a conspiracy of drug-dealing and murder.

“The Mirror of Hell is a hard-hitting fast-moving story about Lieutenant Minardi's 16-year-old daughter Susan's experiences at a summer course where murder and drugs turn out to be on the agenda.”—Clerical Detectives


Leonard Wibberley
The Devil to Play (Book 10)


When a baseball player is shot in the middle of a big game, Father Bredder is hired by the team to solve the case. Before he is done, he has to clear the name of a murdered priest accused of dealing drugs and save the soul of a young girl—all before the opening pitch of the World Series.

“You can get hooked on God,” Father Bredder says, “like you can on heroin. You can’t get away from Him.”

“The writing moves with the speed of a line drive from the bat of Duke Snider.”—The New York Times

“...who can miss with a priest-detective who loves baseball and a parish housekeeper who is a basketball fan.”—The Washington Post


Leonard Wibberley
A Corner of Paradise (Book 11)


In the 11th and final book in the Father Bredder series, Pierce Pearson, a condescending art collector and playwright is robbed by King Diamond, who has a long police record, who’s searching for “A Corner of Paradise.”

But things go horribly wrong when Diamond ends up dead, and Pearson wounded.

All clues lead to Father Bredder’s good friend Lt. Minardi’s estranged daughter and new husband (whom Minardi does not like).

Because he’s too close to the suspects, Minardi is taken off the case, and it’s up to Father Bredder to decipher the clues that will lead to the real killer and reunite Minardi with his daughter.