Madonna Red-James Carroll (1976)

Nice of the publishers of the hardback edition to put the pay off on the back cover. The book has 261 pages and they printed some of page 240. Getting to that point was a dull ride in Carroll’s first novel.

An assassin for the IRA lands in Washington, D.C. Her mission is to kill the British ambassador Sir Alisdair Ferris-Cogan. He’s to be the first Catholic Minister for Northern Ireland. The assasin is code named Janus. No one has ever seen her or knows that Janus is a woman.

Justin Cardinal O’Brien is dealing with the rebellious Sister Sheehan. She attempted to say Mass and O’Brien wants her excommunicated. He assigns Father John Tierney to head the effort. Tierney is also to officiate the ceremony where Ferris-Cogan is to receive the Order of Gregory the Great at St.Matthew’s Cathedral on orders from the Pope.

Only a few people know of the pending assassination attempt. One is English Brigadier Frank Cameron. By the way, Father Tierney is a former Vietnam commando.

All of these elements combine for the showdown at St.Matthews. The reader is tipped off immediately to the identity of Janus. The suspense is minimal.

In 1978 Carroll wrote “Mortal Friends”‘ It’s about the Doyle family and incorporates the history of Boston up to the present day. Carroll did a sequel in 1994 called “The City Below.”  Both are excellent.


About vintage45

I'm a big fan of vintage books,movies,TV shows and music. I encourage everyone to patronize your local used book/record store and pick up some of the good stuff. My posts are capsule reviews of some favorites that you may want to investigate. The albums posted aren't really reviews but items from my collection that are still available. I try and point out highlights of each one and let the music speak for itself. Thanks to all for checking out the blog.
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