Yes, I was that kid 😀
Author: Andrew Greeley
Born: February 5, 1928, Oak Park, Illinois
Died: May 29, 2013, Chicago, Illinois
Quote: Andy Greeley once said of the nation’s Catholic Bishops that they are “morally, intellectually, and religiously bankrupt.”
Andrew Greeley has definitely turned into one of my favorite authors. I found his books completely by accident, roaming around the aisles of my library looking for something to catch my eye. I believe it was a book from his “Irish” series, and the word Irish is indeed what caught my attention. What turned into reading a couple books over a weekend (yes, over a weekend; life was simpler then!) turned into me reading every single book I could find at my library and buy from Barnes and Noble. That these Irish stories also took place in Chicago, with references to real places in Michigan was just an added bonus for me. He wrote over 120 books, and had 10 that were on the New York Times Bestseller list, starting with The Cardinal Sins, which was published in 1981.
He wrote numerous stories and short series with different priests in the main role, and his stories were very open and honest about how he really felt God felt about his followers. These books had swearing, and sex, and even murder, as they were fiction, but I cannot imagine anyone of any religious background, or none at all, as being offended by what these stories told.
Mr. Greeley was a Priest, Scholar, Social Critic, and avid storyteller. He was very outspoken about demanding punishment for priests who abused children, often finding himself in hot water. He became wealthy from the publication of his stories, and donated his first earned million to charity, and continued to support numerous charities throughout his lifetime.
I have to say, I am not Catholic, I have only witnessed a Catholic wedding once, I have never been to a Catholic Mass, and am only familiar with the fact that Catholics say “Hail Mary’s”, use rosary’s, and confess their sins to a priest. I in no way mean any disrespect what-so-ever. I am a Lutheran (Protestant) and was raised that way, so that is what I know. I am only pointing this out because I grasped these stories with both hands and couldn’t bear to set them down. The storytelling is incredible, and when you finish one, you cannot wait to get your hands on the next. Reading about a priest who solves murders, and has a sense of humor, is fun and refreshing. I can honestly say I was deeply saddened when I began looking into information on Mr. Greeley and discovered that after suffering a stroke, he was no longer able to write, and was incapacitated for several years. I was even more saddened to learn of his passing when it happened last year, and thinking about the happiness his stories have brought me is making this difficult to write as well. There are many, many authors whom I deeply enjoy and will read their numerous books, but there are indeed only a few who truly get their words and stories wrapped around my brain and leave an indelible mark on me forever.
I think since I haven’t been a bit confused enough (no, that does not make sense, but it makes my point exactly), Mr. Campbell x 2 are going to throw in some more characters. So, into the character pool we dive, and boy is it getting crowded in here!
Venhi does the deed, and Eleanor is no more; just a Jane Bloggs (the British version of America’s Jane Doe) on a slab in the morgue, waiting for someone to figure out who she is. The clever assistant technician doing the autopsy catches the hole in her neck from the needle rather quickly.
Edwin returns home, waiting for the phone to ring; some type of news that Eleanor is eliminated.
Into the story comes David Morton; Detective Chief Inspector. We also meet Peter K. Sugden-Jones, so far not connected to anyone else in this story. Seems to be well-to-do, and have a bit of a snobbish attitude to go right along with it. We learn he trades in the market, but that’s about all we know about him so far.
And we see Chelsea, waiting for her mum to pick her up, but obviously she is going to be a bit late since she’s in the morgue, waiting for someone to ID her. Edwin eventually gets a call, and can barely contain his glee as he goes to pick up his daughter. He does everything necessary to look like the concerned husband; sends messages, leaves voicemails, calls friends. He figures he covered his bases, and once Chelsea goes to sleep, he sends Vanhi a message, asking if it is OK if he takes care of his end of the deal in a couple weeks.
Now we get to enter Mr. Peter Sugden’s home, where his wife is waiting for him with dinner ready. (I am not the one who made the huge typo error here, I went back and looked and a few pages ago, he was Mr. Sugden-Jones, now it is Mr. Sugden and Mrs. Sugden. hmmm). Mrs. S lets him know that she saw all 3 of the new neighbors, and he is not going to be happy. Why won’t he be happy, you ask? Because they are foreigners. And yes, he is that bigoted, racist, idiot neighbor that everyone seems to get to experience one of in their lifetime, right? (Hopefully only 1).
And Mr. David Morton (remember, the Detective Chief Inspector?) is over at the park where Eleanor was found, looking for anything and everything that could help him solve this case.
I absolutely love this one!
The beginning of Chapter 2 introduced Yosef, and his first born son. We learn that as time passes, at a very young age, his son is diagnosed with Tay-Sachs disease. It is incurable, and his son will slowly lose his sight, hearing, and the ability to move and breathe on his own. He will die very young. They will make him as comfortable as possible, but he vows to himself he will not let his son suffer in agony. (We all see where this is going, right?)
Back to Edwin, who decides to not off his wife, because of course he is going to get caught. Yet as the debt piles up, he again revisits the idea, and posts a straight-to-the-point post looking for someone to do the deed for him. He gets a reply rather quickly, and starts figuring out how he would pay for this service. In between all of this, he is job-searching, and has a great prospect lined up.
Realizing he cannot pay cash or touch any money in his bank, he decides the best option is to trade one favor for another. He now has to post a new advert on the internet.
At the beginning of chapter 4 we are introduced to Vanhi, a prostitute in central London. (Did I forget to tell you that this story takes place across the “big pond”? Sorry about that.) After she takes care of a client, she cleans herself and her apartment up before Jaison, her boyfriend?, gets back from work. He is a cleaner.
I am sensing an Alfred Hitchcock story going on here. Strangers on a Train, anyone? I love that movie 🙂
So I will keep plodding along on this story. Apparently it was written in less than 90 days (intentionally) and has seriously mixed reviews online. Apparently numerous spelling and punctuation errors as well, which I haven’t seen yet.
It doesn’t get truer than this! (Is truer a word? LOL)