The bestselling priest & novelist Andrew M. Greeley continues the tales of the intrepid Bishop Blackie Ryan with this absorbing & suspenseful mystery, set in France, of a missing beloved television priest.
Not just an ordinary priest but a priest/television superstar, idolized by the people of France, loved by everyone except, of course the French hierarchy, the church, state and the Paris television community.
The Archbishop of Paris, familiar with Bishop Blackie Ryan's impressive sleuthing skills, asks Blackie's boss, the Archbishop of Chicago Sean Cardinal Cronin, for help in finding this missing priest. As usual, Cardinal Cronin resolves the matter with a brusque "See to it, Blackie."
In Paris, Blackie meets a young and beautiful woman begging for money at the door of the church of St-Germain-des-Prés. When he hires her as a translator, she turns out to be an excellent Dr. Watson and a brilliant musician as well. She is at his side as Blackie learns that neither the Church nor the police are eager to have the saintly priest returned, and once the public discovers the disappearance of their beloved priest, the miracles start-and nothing scares the Church more than miracles.
Undaunted, Blackie and his beautiful sidekick defy uncooperative Paris police, an unbending church, and reluctant witnesses to find the bizarre solution to one of the most fascinating puzzles he has ever encountered.
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Full of unexpected turns and twists, Greeley's popular series featuring the wry, resourceful Bishop John Blackwood Ryan continues, with the spiritual sleuth on the hunt for a young, charismatic priest missing in Paris. Blackie, as Ryan is fondly called, is dispatched by Chicago Archbishop Cronin to solve the disappearance of Father Jean-Claude while escorting the church official's sister-in-law Nora Cronin on her vacation to the City of Lights. Distrusted by the church hierarchy for his growing popularity, the telegenic Frenchman vanished without a trace while guiding TV producers through the famed cathedral of Notre-Dame, causing widespread rumors of foul play and unrest among his young followers. Blackie's efforts to gain the cooperation of church officials are thorough (too much so), but Greeley pumps new life into the sometimes sluggish tale with the arrival of the refreshing Celt beggar girl Marie-Bernadette, who acts not only as the bishop's translator but as his savvy interpreter of French culture. A good premise goes to waste here as Greeley appears to run out of steam halfway through this rather slim novel. Lacking much murderous activity, it seeks to satisfy its readers with a sedate blend of modern religious disputes, paired with the usual missing person plot, as well as long, taxing passages discussing French canon history, acts of faith and Gallic arrogance sprinkled with an occasional hint of possible mischief. Unfortunately, even the Greeley faithful may find the mystery's resolution weak and uncharacteristically gimmicky.