Mystic Sketches, the fourth installment of The Beadle Files, begins during a sweltering August heatwave in Chicago. A body is fished out of Lake Michigan. Detective Joe Bower, combating the bile of heartburn, is on the scene. LC Beadle is dispatched to investigate. His initial inquiries put him on an evidently uncomplicated trail, but soon there are serpentine twists and turns that keep his instincts alert and on edge.
Sonny Trego joins the inquiry and follows clues to Revelations Church, which is led by Sister Beulah, a strong-willed matriarch who has an iron-fisted hold on her flock--he gets into deep trouble with her. Beadle does a follow-up visit, and immediately discerns that the theology is a skewed interpretation of Scripture based on the proclamation on the sign: "Where God Almighty Makes His Plans and Purposes Known." Tanya Larue, an innocent devotee referred to as the Chosen One, is caught in a web of convoluted doctrines, but in a courageous act of defiance she escapes with Sonny Trego.
On the organized crime front, the Irish mob takes a hit with the sudden death of one of its pivotal leaders. Was it natural causes or the treachery of a sanctioned hit? Either way there are questions to be answered and options to explore.
LC Beadle also reconnects with an old friend--his shock at meeting Sylvia Bower at the Chicago Mission momentarily rendered him speechless. Her story of hope and redemption thrills him, and the bonds of their relationship are quickly reconstructed.