When Larry and Dolores were freshman sweethearts at Notre Dame, they reserved the university’s Sacred Heart chapel for the wedding they scheduled for June 17, 2002. Now that Larry wants to marry Nancy and Dolores is engaged to Dudley, both couples claim rights to the chapel. Hoping to sweet-talk Dolores into conceding, Larry heads off to Minneapolis, where private eyes Roger and Phil Knight (Book of Kills, 2000, etc.) are trying to sort out a theft of rare items from Joseph Primero’s Newman Collection. Who took the books? Although the disappearance of the collection’s curator, Waldo Hermes, makes him look guilty as sin, the thief is really Dolores’s swain Dudley, acting at the behest of his mistress Bianca, Primero’s long-estranged wife. But then Bianca is found dead, artfully arranged on her bed. Meanwhile, Nancy is reconsidering attending graduate school; Larry is reconnecting romantically to Dolores; Roger and Phil are wondering whether a murder was committed to cover up a suicide; and the archivists at Notre Dame are making plans to house the Newman Collection, which has been willed to them, and seems to be arriving prematurely and piecemeal. Books appear and disappear. Lovers split, reunite, and split anew. Cardinal Newman is quoted at length. And the Brothers Knight, saddled with a plot that might have been conceived by Groucho Marx, leave no campus quad unplumbed in their quest for truth and true love, whatever that is.
Though McInerney provides more romantic folderol than most French farces, the whole confection is amiably goofy if you skim the philosophical bits.