Matters of succession lead to attempted murder in the latest of Greeley's popular mysteries.
Archbishop Malachi Nolan has designs on the Diocese of Chicago despite the fact the Most Reverend Blackwood Ryan, himself recently appointed an archbishop, is currently in line for the post. Assigned to keep watch on his rival, Blackie travels to the Nolan family estate in Grand Banks, where he soon finds himself immersed in an entirely different dynastic struggle.
Spike Nolan, founder of Aviation Electronics, isn't even dead yet, but his children, grandchildren, and their respective spouses are already feuding over who will inherit control of the multimillion-dollar company. The only family member who doesn't have a stake in the quarrel is the clerical Malachi . . . so why is he the one targeted by an unknown killer?
To get to the bottom of the mystery, Blackie will have to sort through the tangled family dynamics of this highly dysfunctional clan, as well as figure how out his fellow archbishop was nearly stung to death by hornets inside a locked room!
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About the Author
Priest, sociologist, author, and journalist, Father Andrew M. Greeley (1928-2013) was the author of over 50 bestselling novels and more than 100 works of nonfiction. His novels include the Bishop Blackie Ryan series, including The Archbishop in Andalusia; the Nuala Anne McGrail series, including Irish Tweed; the O’Malley Family Saga, including A Midwinter’s Tale; and standalones such as Home for Christmas and The Cardinal Sins.
A leading spokesperson for generations of Catholics, Father Greeley unflinchingly urged his beloved Church to become more responsive to believers’ evolving concerns. He chronicled his service to the Church in two autobiographies, Confessions of a Parish Priest and Furthermore!
Priest, sociologist, author and journalist, Father Andrew M. Greeley built an international assemblage of devout fans over a career spanning five decades. His books include the Bishop Blackie Ryan novels, including The Archbishop in Andalusia, the Nuala Anne McGrail novels, including Irish Tweed, and The Cardinal Virtues. He was the author of over 50 best-selling novels and more than 100 works of non-fiction, and his writing has been translated into 12 languages.
Father Greeley was a Professor of Sociology at the University of Arizona and a Research Associate with the National Opinion Research Center (NORC) at the University of Chicago. In addition to scholarly studies and popular fiction, for many years he penned a weekly column appearing in the Chicago Sun-Times and other newspapers. He was also a frequent contributor to The New York Times, the National Catholic Reporter, America and Commonweal, and was interviewed regularly on national radio and television. He authored hundreds of articles on sociological topics, ranging from school desegregation to elder sex to politics and the environment.
Throughout his priesthood, Father Greeley unflinchingly urged his beloved Church to become more responsive to evolving concerns of Catholics everywhere. His clear writing style, consistent themes and celebrity stature made him a leading spokesperson for generations of Catholics. He chronicled his service to the Church in two autobiographies, Confessions of a Parish Priest and Furthermore!
In 1986, Father Greeley established a $1 million Catholic Inner-City School Fund, providing scholarships and financial support to schools in the Chicago Archdiocese with a minority student body of more than 50 percent. In 1984, he contributed a $1 million endowment to establish a chair in Roman Catholic Studies at the University of Chicago. He also funded an annual lecture series, “The Church in Society,” at St. Mary of the Lake Seminary, Mundelein, Illinois, from which he received his S.T.L. in 1954.
Father Greeley received many honors and awards, including honorary degrees from the National University of Ireland at Galway, the University of Arizona and Bard College. A Chicago native, he earned his M.A. in 1961 and his Ph.D. in 1962 from the University of Chicago.
Father Greeley was a penetrating student of popular culture, deeply engaged with the world around him, and a lifelong Chicago sports fan, cheering for the Bulls, Bears and the Cubs. Born in 1928, he died in May 2013 at the age of 85.
Read an Excerpt
The Bishop at the LakeA Bishop Blackie Ryan Novel
By Greeley, Andrew M.
Forge BooksCopyright © 2007 Greeley, Andrew M.
All right reserved.
“You’re looking a little peaked these days, Blackwood.” Sean Cronin, Cardinal Prince of the Holy Roman Church and by the patience of the apostolic see still Archbishop of Chicago, leaned against the door-jamb of my study.
The game was afoot, Sherlock Holmes would have said, only I had a sinking feeling that I was part of the game. It was the nature of our relationship that I worry about the Cardinal and he does not worry about me. Moreover I didn’t feel peaked at all. The Cardinal for his part was the picture of health in his crimson robes. A tall, trim man with white hair and a quick and charming smile, he looked like a Cardinal should look, a movie star portraying, for example, Armand Jean du Plessis Richelieu. Under the stern supervision of Nora Cronin and his harmless Coadjutor Archbishop, he now consumed only one cup of coffee and one glass of Irish whiskey per day. He also exercised every day and swam in the Chicago athletic club twice a week. He was, I venture to say, the healthiest-looking Cardinal in the world.
“My sainted mother, the worthy Catherine Collins Ryan, said I was born looking piqued.”
“I suspect the dual obligations of a pastor at the Cathedral parish andof my designated successor has been just a little too much.”
Patently this was absurd. The pastor of any contemporary Catholic parish clings to his sanity only by his fingertips. However, as Milord Cronin well knew, the work of a Coadjutor Archbishop with the right to succession was nonexistent. He often said he would retire when he was eighty and I better pay close attention to the responsibilities that went with being Archbishop of Chicago. I would just as routinely respond to that if said Archbishop had the sense to appoint competent staff he would be able to play golf every afternoon in the week and spend three months in Florida as once was the custom among Chicago pastors.
He poured a cup of tea from my teapot and returned to the doorjamb.
“I’d look very bad,” he observed with his manic grin, “if you die before I do. Therefore you really ought to go down to Grand Beach for a couple of weeks and get to know your family better.”
“Arguably I already know my family too well.”
Teacup in one hand he removed the computer output from my easy chair with the other and made himself comfortable—the Renaissance prince at his leisure.
“I am told that it is being said on LaSalle street that your very good friend the Bishop of Laramie is currently in residence there.”
“I barely know the virtuous Malachi Howard-Nolan, save for the intelligence that he is one of those persons who part his name in the middle, that he is alleged to speak with a noticeable upper-class English accent, and that he is in fact an Archbishop ad personam as we say in the mother tongue.”
“There is a reason for that,” Milord Cronin observed as he sipped his tea.
“When I picked up my markers over in Rome and arranged the situation we currently have, among my other motives, was the fact that Malachi had set his sights on this archdiocese. I was not about to let that happen to Chicago or to the Church in the United States. Therefore, I intervened. Now he doubtless blames me for his failure to succeed here. I don’t think he’s quite given up yet.”
“Heaven forefend,” I murmured.
“So they gave him Laramie for which they intended you and the personal title of an Archbishop to soothe his pain. Malachi is, I suppose, harmless enough, despite his close relationship with the Companions of Jesus. Moreover, his campaign strategy has always been one of pernicious gossip and large gifts to curial officials such as a one-thousand-dollar mass stipend. He is in fact a pompous man as perhaps most of us are, but worse than that he’s lazy. Chicago would be a reward for his great virtue and his lifelong service of the Church, by which he means the Roman Curia. He would enjoy wearing these goofy robes and parading around in a limousine but he wouldn’t do any work. As I do not need to tell you, Blackwood, one must work very hard to keep this archdiocese from disappearing into the Chicago River.”
“In which it would be freed of all its impurities by the good efforts of the Chicago Sanitary District as we used to call it.”
“Moreover, you’d be walking down the streets of Laramie like a lonely cowpoke.”
“This song suggests in fact that it would be the streets of Laredo.”
“Regardless!” The Cardinal put aside his empty teacup and rose to his full seventy-four inches of height.
“Mal is up there at Grand Beach surrounded by the Ryan family and campaigning against you and Chicago and worst of all against me.”
“I doubt that. Much more likely he is in the safe confines of Nolan’s Landing, an enclave of the ineffable Spike Nolan. Grand Beach, or to call it by its more proper name Grand Beach Springs, has nothing to do with Nolan’s Landing. We are loathe to associate with them and they don’t associate with us.”
“Reverse snobbery!” my Lord Cronin exploded. “Typical of your Southside Chicago Irish haute-bourgeoisie.”
That comment was inappropriate and, sad to say, dangerously close to the truth.
“Besides,” he continued, “as I’ve said before you wouldn’t survive west of the Des Plaines River.”
“As a point of fact,” I responded, “you suggested that I wouldn’t survive west of Bubbly Creek.”
“That’s why I want you to go down to Grand Beach and find out what Malachi is up to. Then you will report to me and I’ll make calls to certain friends in Rome and that’ll be the end of that.”
“It may be that the new man in Rome will have some reservations about the deal you struck.”
“The new man is on your side. In fact, he described you to me as being very interesting. That’s the way you academics stick together.”
I considered disputing the point but patently it would be a waste of my time. It would be similarly unwise to ask how I was supposed to spy on Nolan’s Landing and its denizens from the perspective of Grand Beach. Perhaps I was supposed to send a mob of Ryan teenagers and young adults down the beach to assault Nolan’s Landing in the dark of night.
That they would enjoy.
Milord Cronin turned at the doorway to my room and pointed his finger at me, the gesture which usually accompanies his final commands.
“Get down there and find out what Mad Malachi is up to and stop him. As long as I’m Archbishop of Chicago I don’t want somebody messing around with my archdiocese. Is that clear?”
“Good! See to it, Blackwood!” Copyright © 2007 by Andrew M. Greeley Enterprises, Ltd.
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Excerpted from The Bishop at the Lake by Greeley, Andrew M. Copyright © 2007 by Greeley, Andrew M.. Excerpted by permission.
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