source for free and affordable eBooks


Powered by FreeFind

Site search
Web search

    Review of THE BISHOP AT THE LAKE by Andrew M. Greeley (see his website)


    Forge, September 2007

    With a rival archbishop visiting the Chicago area, Chicago's Archbishop/Cardinal sends his right-hand man, Bishop Blackie Ryan (now Archbishop and Coadjudicator) to investigate and determine if his plotting is a threat. The rival, son of an extremely rich family, is certainly interested, but Blackie determines he is little threat--he talks too much and drinks too much. In fact, Blackie doesn't think he's a threat to anyone, which is why it's a surprise that someone tries to kill him.

    Instructed to stay and solve the mystery, Blackie must first head off the local police who seem intent to arrest a young woman, Margaret Anne Nolan, Blackie regards as a mystic close to god--with Margaret's own mother throwing accusations at her. It doesn't hurt that Blackie's sister has determined that Margaret is going to be her daughter-in-law. And Blackie's sister has excellent taste.

    In general, locked room mysteries come down to oppportunity. How could anyone have killed (or attempted murder) and yet managed to do so in a room that seems sealed. In this case, the how is no problem for Blackie. The motive, however, seems obscure. In fact, as Blackie points out, he just might be the only person in the area with a real motive for the murder. After all, Blackie's right to succession is what's really threatened by the rivalry.

    Author Andrew M. Greeley (see more reviews of novels by Greeley) fills his story with family--both functional (his own) and dysfunctional (the Nolans). A few red herrings spice things up, and the mad rivalry between the saintlike Margaret and her mother (a rivalry that exists only in her mother's head and in the heads of those her mother has poisoned against Margaret) adds to the story's emotional stakes. I'm not sure Greeley has his youthful dialogue quite down, but then again, perhaps kids speak differently in Chicago than in Dallas. Still, his writing is engaging and draws the reader into the story, making us care not only about who attempted to kill the archbishop, but about the post-college romance between Margaret and Joseph, Blackie's nephew.

    In addition to being an author, Greeley is a Catholic priest and questions of faith are woven through the story. That Greeley accomplishes this without being heavy-handed (although Margaret might just be a little too perfect) is a mark of what a capable author Greeley has become. THE BISHOP AT THE LAKE is a bit of an old-fashioned mystery, about clues and thinking, rather than about fights and violence. Maybe that's part of what made it such a joy to read.

    Four Stars

    Reviewed 2/28/08

    Ready to buy it now? Click the buy now button.

    Visit to read more reviews or to purchase THE BISHOP AT THE LAKE from

    Rather buy it from Barnes and Noble?

    Buy the eBook version from

    What do you think? Too generous? Too stingy? Or did I miss the entire point? Send your comments to Give me the okay to use your name and I'll publish all the comments that fit (and don't use unprintable language).

    Check out the Alexa toolbar. It blocks pop-ups (you get to choose), it's free, and it tells you about what websites are popular and who owns them.