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Andrew M. Greeley was a famous American author of the mystery & thriller, religion & spirituality, and literature & fiction genres. Apart from being an established author, he was a sociologist, journalist and a Roman Catholic priest. During his writing career, Greeley has written about 50 bestselling novels and more than 100 nonfiction stories. He is known to have entertained the readers for decades with popular characters such as the priest Blackie Ryan, who likes to solve mysteries and an amateur sleuth called Nuala Anna McGrail. Most of the books written by Greeley are based on the Irish-American Roman Catholics, or the ones who work in Chicago. Author Andrew Greeley was born on February 5, 1928 in Oak Park, Illinois, United States. He died on May 29, 2013 at the age of 85 in Chicago, Illinois. Before becoming a full-time author, Greeley used to work as a sociology professor at the universities of Chicago and Arizona. He was also a research associate for the NORC and used to write a weekly column for the Sun-Times, other than being a regular contributor to The New York Times, Commonweal and the National Catholic Reporter, America. Greeley was born into an Irish Catholic family and grew up in the Austin neighborhood during the time of the Great Depression. He attended the St. Angela Elementary School and from the 2nd grade onwards, he began to think of becoming a priest.
Later, he went on to study in a seminary in Chicago and obtained his AB degree in the year 1950. In addition to that, Greeley also received the STB and STL degrees in the years 1952 and 1954 respectively, and eventually got ordained in the Archdiocese of Chicago. For the next 10 years, he worked as an assistant pastor in a parish in Chicago and at the same time studied sociology in the state university. In the years 1961 and 1962, Greeley completed his MA and PhD and began working at the university as the professor of sociology. Greeley was expecting that he would be granted tenure, after teaching for around a decade, but was denied because of cantankerous temperament. It was during this time that he decided to change his course towards writing as a full-timer. He went on to write novels on a variety of subjects such as amateur mysteries, priest stories, and political thrillers. The success of his novel allowed him to have an illustrious career as a novelist. Later, during the fall of 2008, Greeley suffered several skull fractures after his clothing got caught in a taxi door and pulled away. He received several injuries apart from the skull fractures and was hospitalized in a critical situation. Although, he survived the accident, but his health remained poor throughout the rest of his life and finally he died at the age of 85. Greeley was the recipient of a number of honorary degrees from several prestigious institutions such as the Bard College, New York; the University of Arizona; and Ireland’s National University in Galway. His popular writing career also allowed him to receive a few prestigious awards such as the F. Sadlier Dinger Award in the year 1981. The award was given to him for his outstanding contribution to the religious education in America.
The Blackie Ryan series written by author Andrew M. Greeley consists of a total of 17 novels published between the years 1985 and 2008. The novels of this series are based on the mysteries surrounding the life of the main character, Bishop Blackie Ryan. In the all the novels of the series, Blackie Ryan works for the Archbishop of Chicago, Sean Cardinal Cronin, who is haughty, aristocratic and sometimes humorous and arrogant. Father Blackie travels to various places of the world at the Cardinal’s charge in order to solve the mysteries involving the Roman Catholic Church. The first novel of the series was published by the Warner Books publishing house in the year 1985. It was titled ‘Happy Are the Meek’ and depicted a mysterious and murderous plot. In the opening sequence of the plot of the novel, a character named Wolfe Quinlan is found dead in a proverbial locked room. His dead body is found lying on his study table, with just a single key in his pocket and the suit of armor over his body. It was clear that he murdered by crossing a sword through his ribs. Wolfe Quinlan was considered to be a man who loved his life and enjoyed living every bit of it, however, he also had many enemies. On the night before his death, he had angered many people, including his abused wife, his mistress, his alienated children, his business partner, his dishonest lawyer and a psychic priest whose devil worship was disavowed by him. Father Blackie Ryan is asked to investigate the murder by questioning all those who knew Wolfe Quinlan as a person. Also, Blackie Ryan is required to catch the killer very soon before he kills someone else.
One of the other initial novels of the Blackie Ryan series written by author Andrew Greeley was titled ‘Happy Are Those Who Thirst for Justice’. It was published in the year 1987 by the Mysterious Press publishing house. The plot of the novel deals with the brutal murder of a wealthy man in the calm waters of Lake Michigan. The plot of the novel opens up with the introduction of a wealthy dowager, who is sailing through Lake Michigan on his luxurious yacht. Soon, the voyage seems to turn into a stage for murder scene when the wealthy dowager becomes the victim of the bullet of the murderer and gets killed brutally. Father Blackie Ryan is once again called for investigating the murder of the wealthy person. As Father Blackie Ryan is a clerical detective, he is joined by the contemporary priest of Chicago, Father Brown. The two begin to look for clues together in order to solve the fascinating and complex case. The case had become even more complicated as the murderer was done on a yacht sailing on Lake Michigan. Had it happened on land, things would have been easier to investigate. No matter how complex the case looks, Father Blackie Ryan is required to find the murderer as soon as possible in order to stop the other people from becoming his victims.
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