Matters of succession lead to attempted murder in the latest of Greeley's popular mysteries.
Archbishop Malachi Nolan has designs on the Diocese of Chicago despite the fact the Most Reverend Blackwood Ryan, himself recently appointed an archbishop, is currently in line for the post. Assigned to keep watch on his rival, Blackie travels to the Nolan family estate in Grand Banks, where he soon finds himself immersed in an entirely different dynastic struggle.
Spike Nolan, founder of Aviation Electronics, isn't even dead yet, but his children, grandchildren, and their respective spouses are already feuding over who will inherit control of the multimillion-dollar company. The only family member who doesn't have a stake in the quarrel is the clerical Malachi . . . so why is he the one targeted by an unknown killer?
To get to the bottom of the mystery, Blackie will have to sort through the tangled family dynamics of this highly dysfunctional clan, as well as figure how out his fellow archbishop was nearly stung to death by hornets inside a locked room!
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In Greeley's winning sixth Blackie Ryan novel (after 2006's The Bishop in the Old Neighborhood), Ryan's boss, the archbishop of Chicago, sends Ryan to check up on Malachi Howard-Nolan, a fellow priest who's jockeying for a prestigious appointment. Blackie heads out to the compound where Nolan's extended family has gathered for a reunion and discovers that matters are both simpler and more complex than he'd imagined. Nolan turns out to be obnoxious and ambitious, but also lazy and incompetent, so his ecclesiastical aspirations aren't likely to come to much. When Nolan suffers a life-threatening attack of hornets, Blackie suspects someone in his rich, nutty family wishes him ill. There's also romance afoot: Blackie's strapping nephew finds himself attracted to Nolan's charming niece. A few chapters narrated by the nephew jar, but strong character development, snappy dialogue and a multilayered plot make this one of the better entries in the series.