Tim McCarthy was a decorated Chicago cop, but in his free evenings he studied law, sociology, and English literature, among other things. Burdened with all those term papers he never had time to take a wife, and now, well into his 40's, he is a credit-rich but lonely man who in his retirement takes on eccentric and challenging investigation work for equally eccentric employers. It is in this capacity that he crosses the pond to Ireland to investigate Nora MacDonaugh.
Nora is either very wicked or very unlucky. She is also very rich. The Dublin Police Department believes she slept her way to the money, its curiosity more than roused by the untimely deaths of both of her husbands, the latter blown to bits in his study. Innocent or guilty, she is extremely smart, and with modest effort this attractive widow becomes emotionally invested in the lovelorn McCarthy.
By happy coincidence the good Bishop John Ryan is vacationing in the safety of his hip nieces on the Emerald Isle. How to describe his role in this caper? Well, he is there, offering an occasional witticism, restaurant review, or forensic jab. He has a "call me if you need me" role to play in this novel. One gets the sense that he knows how this drama will play out from the get-go but that he does not want to ruin McCarthy's fun, so to speak.
There are enough mysteries here to please almost anyone. Will Tim McCarthy lose his objectivity to the charms of the luscious Nora? Will they actually "do it?" Is Nora stringing him along to divert him from the terrible truth? Does she deserve the Dublin Police moniker, "Miss Yo-Yo Pants?" [So help me.] How do two very unhappy families, an Irish terrorist, a Dublin pol, and an upstart Irish cream company play into the picture? And does Bishop Ryan eventually get a bigger role in the story than Zorro's mute compadre, Paco?
It's not MacBeth, but it's a pleasant enough read, with or without the Bailey's.