Author: André K. Baby

ISBN: 9780988087217

Retired Canadian lawyer André K. Baby's debut novel, Dead Bishops Don't Lie consists of a potpourri of Russian mafia assassins, Moscow's horrendous Lubyanka prison, a tenacious Interpol inspector from France, corrupt Vatican officials, an animal mythologist, a follower of the gnostic text of the Pistis Sophia, political corruption, money laundering and several decoys or red herrings, all making for quite a busy yarn.

The story is jump-started when two Archbishops are gruesomely murdered, one in Switzerland and the other a few days later in Italy. Around the first victim's neck hung a small plaque with the inscription The Lion is dead, the Dragon is wounded while the second victim likewise had a similar plaque wrapped around his neck with the inscription The Ox has fallen, the Dragon is wounded. Found in the second archbishop's correspondence on a desk located in his hotel room where he was staying prior to his murder was a letter that, as we will discover, seems to have originated with followers of Pistis Sophia.

Local police authorities realize they are over their heads and two Interpol inspectors, Thierry Dulac and Daniel Lescop from France take over the case. Little did these two realize that their investigation would lead to astounding ramifications affecting higher up officials in the Vatican as well as the French Government.

The most obvious questions the inspectors pose are what do these inscriptions mean? Are these serial killings with a political-religious agenda? Why were the archbishops crucified? Why was their a ritual cruelty? Why was there a reference to animals? To whom were the messages addressed to? It is here  where animal mythologist, Dr. Karen Dawson is called upon to try and make sense of the messages which may throw some light on the puzzling murders.

As the investigation unfolds, Dulac, Lescop, and Dawson decide to call upon a strong believer in Pistis Sophia who enjoys publicizing her views on Gnostic Christianity, the Marchioness of Dorset. Apparently, according to Dawson, after further studying the messages, she believes there may be some association with Pistis Sophia and the murders of the two archbishops, however, she can't put her finger on exactly what is the connection. In addition, the letter found in the hotel room of the murdered seconded archbishop was drawn up on the stationary used by the Marchioness- a letter demanding the Vatican sell certain paintings and the proceeds from the sale to be donated to UNESCO.

Dulac begins to believe that the two murdered victims knew something very important that eventually cost them their lives. What was their secret and why were they murdered in such a sinister fashion? Were the assassins trying to send a message to anyone else that may attempt to follow in their footsteps?

The ingredients of Dead Bishops Don't Lie hold a great deal of promise, particularly the red herrings that are thrown in that keep the reader off balance until the very end. In addition, Baby has cleverly kept his audience in the dark as the solution to the mystery is not apparent or predictable wherein readers would be able to easily put the pieces together without the benefit of the lead character's detecting skills. However, the novel is far from flawless and doesn't quite make the leap from being “good” to “a gripping thriller.” This is mainly due to the myriad of characters that at times prevented me from following the storyline. I look forward to reading more from this author.

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