"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 help.
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.
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