Stephen Karlson (shkarlson) wrote in 50bookchallenge,
Stephen Karlson

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Andrew Greeley turns auxiliary bishop John Blackwood Ryan loose to investigate a murder at The University of Chicago in The Bishop Goes To The University.  I'm not sure whether there is greater intrigue in the Roman Catholic Church, which secretly ordains a Russian Orthodox monk as a cardinal, or in the Divinity School, where a youngish dean is future spouse of a similarly young tenure track faculty member.  I know just enough about the machinations of universities to find the second sub-plot implausible.  It's more intriguing, though, that Father Greeley, a man of the left, casts a secular socialist-feminist academic as one of the lesser heavies in his plot.  There's enough Russian meddling, threats from U.S. intelligence, and involvement from the people in Cicero to keep the pot boiling.

I'll close Book Review No. 34, which finishes the Bishop Ryan series for the present, with an observation about the possible principal purpose of the novels, namely to provide insights into the value of Catholicism.  In University, it's Bishop Ryan, auditioning for an adjuncting gig at The University, taking questions from skeptical students, delivering the homily.  Summarized (p. 103) this time it's the case for belief.  The believer has to deal with evil happening, the skeptic with joy happening.  That even rates a footnote.  It's less than satisfying, though, as the wise course might be to live this life as if it is the only one that matters, and treating others as you would like to be treated, whether or not the Heavenly Host are taking score.

(Cross-posted to Cold Spring Shops.)
Tags: fiction, murder mystery, religion

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