Review

The Bishop in the Old Neighborhood

by Andrew M. Greeley



Longtime favorite sleuth and priest Father Blackie Ryan is now a
bishop who is quite possibly headed for retirement. He is called to
one of his inner city neighborhood parishes where three bodies are
found in front of the altar, brutally murdered and mutilated. The
church and school, old as they are, contain a state-of-the-art
computerized surveillance system that is supposed to be
unbreachable by the most sophisticated hackers. How were the bodies
of the three illegal aliens, who had been killed elsewhere, dragged
into the sanctuary without tripping the alarms or being seen on the
cameras?


A special ops squad of the Chicago Police Department, headed by
Dragon Lady Captain Huong, is assigned the covert task of
discovering the hacker and tracking down the unknown suspects.
Suspicions arise, pointing to possible Al Qaeda terrorists, local
drug lords, illegal alien smugglers, or revenge. Dashing young
police lieutenant Declan O'Donnell, the Dragon Lady's Number One
Boy, is assigned to the undercover electronic search for the
murderers.


The community is in the throes of gentrification. The mid-1970s had
experienced white flight as blockbusting drove middle class whites
into the suburbs. The nature of the neighborhood changed but
successfully settled into a racially diverse community with
thriving businesses and good schools. Pockets of crime were
beginning to develop in some areas, however, and enterprising
developers were creating plans to tear down older buildings and
homes to appeal to younger, white, successful business people who
wanted to live closer to their work in Chicago's loop. Huge
condominium clusters, upscale McMansions, and rehabilitated older
homes would drive the racially mixed community out to the suburbs
because they couldn't afford the higher rents and property taxes.
Tensions were high, and the confusion caused by the grisly killings
were resulting in upheaval in the local police department, Chicago
PD, FBI, and even Homeland Security.


Blackie's Cardinal dispatches him to investigate the atrocities and
reconsecrate the church and school. Threats are directed at Blackie
and the parish priest, a former Polish prince with great charisma
and power in the parish. The plot thickens as Blackie is directed
to a long-sealed letter from his late father, detailing events of
over sixty years ago that may shed light on the perpetrators.


THE BISHOP IN THE OLD NEIGHBORHOOD is a satisfying, page-turning,
locked door mystery that finds Andrew Greeley in his prime. All the
elements of his longtime bestselling mysteries are present --- a
touch of romance and Blackie's own self-effacing humor and sense of
place are all here. St. Lucy's was the church where Andrew Greeley
was baptized, and while the community in the book is fictional,
effects of gentrification on inner cities is as current and
accurate as the front pages of your newspaper.



   











Reviewed by Roz Shea on December 22, 2010

The Bishop in the Old Neighborhood
by Andrew M. Greeley

  • Publication Date: November 28, 2006
  • Genres: Fiction, Mystery
  • Mass Market Paperback: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Forge Books
  • ISBN-10: 0765342359
  • ISBN-13: 9780765342355