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Death of a Sacristan

A Rebel Bishop Mystery

Paul A. Barra


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Death of a Sacristan is a historical mystery that tears away the veil of secrecy covering slave ownership by antebellum Catholics in the South, including the notorious third bishop of Charleston, Patrick Lynch--who owned eighty slaves and reigned during, and for twenty years after, the War of Northern Aggression. Lynch rationalized the institution on biblical grounds and explained his own reasons for opposing abolitionism so strongly that Horace Greeley labeled him The Rebel Bishop in the NY Herald. The diocese kept Lynch under wraps for one hundred and fifty years.

When a wealthy volunteer sacristan is murdered in the cathedral in April 1861, Lynch acts as a sort of Nero Wolfe--interpreting clues uncovered by his aide, Tom Dockery, a priest and former NYPD officer. As Dockery works to unravel the mystery, with Charleston devolving into civil war, he explores his own attitude toward slavery. But before he can decide what his true feelings about slavery and the brewing conflict are, he and Lynch must first stop a very determined killer...

Black Opal Books, 9781626948938, 302pp.

Publication Date: April 28, 2018