Bishop Blackie confronts another locked-room mystery, this one with hornets.
Chicago’s coolest cleric is dispatched to posh Grand Beach, enclave of the rich and contentious Nolan clan, under orders to sniff around. The recent, possibly sneaky behavior of Archbishop Malachi Nolan, son of the progenitor, has piqued the interest of Sean Cardinal Cronin, Blackie’s boss. Ever alert to the surge of others’ ambition, the Cardinal is concerned about the precise shape of Malachi’s. Opportunities for sniffing, however, vanish when Malachi is ferociously attacked. His whole family knows Malachi’s unfortunate history with hornets, whose bites have led to severe allergic reactions. Someone has managed to introduce and unleash a swarm of them into the locked room in question, and the result is nearly lethal. Is it a case of attempted murder? Is the Pope Catholic? “Well, you better solve that locked-room mystery, or your perfect record will be ruined,” the Cardinal enjoins Blackie, who solves it, of course—as will many, many readers, since it’s not all that mysterious. Or interesting. As for the internecine war among the Nolans, here too the author has done better.
As usual, Father Greeley serves up heaping helpings of the Irish goo (Irish Linen, 2007, etc.) that his audience has always found yummy.