When Fred Neville of the Notre Dame athletic department winds up dead under mysterious circumstances, amateur sleuth and academic Roger Knight, and his brother, Phil, a P.I., investigate the apparent murder. The trouble: no suspects. No suspects, that is, until the day of Fred's funeral, when several likely candidates suddenly appear at the poor man's wake.
First, Mary Schuster, daughter of a faculty widow, shows up at the event dressed all in black, with the startling announcement that she and the deceased were secretly in love. Then the controversy doubles when another woman arrives with a huge diamond ring on her finger, claiming to have been Fred's intended. Could it be that unassuming Fred Neville was actually involved with two women, in secret and at the same time? Roger thinks not, and finds a notable piece of evidence to back up his hunch when a secret stash of Fred's poetry turns up, clearly written with a single woman in mind. Unfortunately, the object of Fred's intense love remains unnamed in his verse. Suddenly, both women are suspects in a vicious crime. But it's up to Roger to plug into the campus gossip grid and, with a little help from Phil, not to mention his vast knowledge of just about everything that happens on campus, determine the exact chain of events that led to murder.
Set against the backdrop of an exciting Notre Dame basketball season, Irish Coffee will delight fans of both Notre Dame lore and of Ralph McInerny's impeccably plotted mysteries.