A nun is found murdered on the steps of the Quality Couch, Sydney’s most expensive house of ill repute. She is Sister Mary Magdalene, an idealistic young woman who previously had worked at a mission in Nicaragua. Detective Inspector Scobie Malone, that most human of cops, picks up the trail when he discovers that her real name was Teresa Hourigan—the illegitimate granddaughter of Fingal Hourigan, one of Australia’s most powerful businessmen, who is currently entertaining some rich contras at his palatial home. The case leads Malone deep into Hourigan’s murky past and threatens to expose the secret the old man has kept since 1929: the reason he hurriedly left Chicago in fear for his life. It also threatens to destroy his ambitions for his son, Archbishop Kerry Hourigan: to become the first-ever Australian pope. But Kerry’s fanatical anticommunism has already led him to acts that will fatally endanger his standing in the Vatican.
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