cover image The Bishop in the Old Neighborhood: A Blackie Ryan Story

The Bishop in the Old Neighborhood: A Blackie Ryan Story

Andrew M. Greeley, . . Forge, $24.95 (304pp) ISBN 978-0-7653-0334-9

The first half of Greeley's fifth Bishop Blackie Ryan book (after 2003's The Bishop Goes to the University ) drags a bit, but the pace picks up when Blackie starts digging into the past of Father Mikal Wolodyjowski, the charismatic priest at St. Lucy's, a Chicago church where three corpses have turned up in the sanctuary. Blackie discovers that Wolodyjowski was peripherally involved with the odd deaths of six college kids 60 years earlier, a mystery that proves to be more engaging than the initial deaths at St. Lucy's. Unfortunately, the novel's other main subplot—the blossoming romance between a cop and a lawyer—borders on the far-fetched. The pace, melodrama and gravitas with which young love blooms will strike any reader under 40 as laughable. And Greeley spends too much time musing on the tensions that separate Polish, Irish and Italian Catholics from one another. Still, Blackie, with his quick wit and his fondness for Bushmill's, is his usual delightful self, and his many fans will enjoy this sojourn in the old neighborhood. Agent, Raphael Sagalyn . (Nov.)