"A great mystery"
United States President John Patrick McGurn has enough to
deal with between the eastern established media and the
Republicans. However, the Irish-American from Chicago,
dubbed rancorously by the press as "Machine Gun Jack" and
want to tie him with the Irish Mafia, has a poltergeist
wrecking havoc in his new home, The White House. Jack asks
long time friend and successful amateur sleuth Father
Blackie Ryan to exorcise the spirit by discovering who is
really behind the shake, rattle, and roll in the Oval
Office, West Wing, and Lincoln Room, etc.
Unable to mount more than a weak argument to remain in the
Windy city, Blackie travels to Washington DC upon the
orders of his superior Cardinal Cronin. Blackie quickly
concludes that the ghost is more likely a young female
suffering from unrequited love or vengeance against a
President detested by his enemies as he begins eliminating
the candidates one at a time.
THE BISHOP IN THE WEST WING is the best Blackie Ryan novel
in several years as Andrew M. Greeley provides insight into
the White House from a guest's perspective while satirizing
the seemingly endless attacks on Bill Clinton, obviously
Jack's model. The story line is fun for everyone except
right wing Republicans and the so-called
liberal "muckraking" press as Blackie looks for a more
mundane solution to the poltergeist question. Father
Greeley makes no bones about his feelings towards the
previous president with an engaging amateur sleuth tale
that Mr. Clinton and many other fans will enjoy.
Reviewed by PNR Group Member
Posted June 26, 2002
"See to it, Blackwood," says the Cardinal Archbishop of
Chicago, and Blackie Ryan, the Cardinal's auxiliary bishop,
doesn't exactly jump (he never jumps), rather he moseys
down to Washington, D.C., where one of his friends, Jack
Patrick McGurn, called "Machine Gun McGurn" by the media,
has surprisingly just been elected president and needs his
Blackie's first confrontation is with Washington
bureaucracy; the powers that be don't want to give Blackie
a pass to wander in and out of the Oval Office at will. The
bureaucracy blinks first and Blackie gets his pass.
Blackie, who can do anything, has been called on to deal
with ghosts in the White House. Yes, poltergeists. But
there are more problems in the White House than ghosts. A
conspiracy abroad in the land results in two men trying to
blow up the White House. Happily, Blackie has one of his
intuitive moments and manages to get a picture of the
terrorists, and he didn't forget to take the cap off his
camera. He also got the license number of the getaway car.
Blackie also has to deal with four enchantingly beautiful
women who, without knowing it, may be responsible for the
strange ghostlike behavior of an unhappy spirit. None of
these things does Blackie find daunting. He stumbles about
his business and waits for enlightenment to come.
The Bishop in the West Wing is one of the finest of the
Blackie Ryan stories .We meet again a great cast of
characters: Sean Cronin, the Cardinal Archbishop of
Chicago, who is turning out to be one of the treasures of
modern American detective fiction; Mike Casey, the cop
turned painter, and Dr. Kate Murphy, Blackie's beautiful
and terrifyingly smart sister. With this cast of characters
the poor ghosts deserve our pity.
Andrew Greeley was a guest at the White House three times
during the most recent administration and his keen eye and
powers of observation are put to remarkable use in this
latest Blackie Ryan mystery/adventure.