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The Glory of St. Ebans

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260 pages3 hours

Summary

In the Italian alpine village of St. Ebans, named for the patron saint of the local church, a main local industry, such as it is, involves a somewhat elaborate scam to shake down tourists in his name. The ploy uses guilt to loosen the purse strings of foreigners who would never return there anyway rather that robbing them at gunpoint or holding them hostage for ransom. Many of the villagers are active players and the rest know what is done any time a potential donor to the local economy comes down the steep hill from the highway.
Then a man claiming to be St. Ebans returned from heaven arrives to take back his crown - a major feature of the local tourism trap that sits barely visible in a niche near the ceiling of the old church above a painting supposed to be of the saint. He said he is taking this action because his name is being abused in the polite rip-offs.
News of that brings mobs of tourists to the village while the local priest (an opponent of the scam but unable to stop it), the Mayor, the Bishop, the diocese’s problem-solver Sister Sneakers, and the Vatican’s trouble-shooter Brother Changepurse try to sort things out while doing the least damage to the Church.
Things get even stickier when two spies from a rival village try to expose the claimant as a fake to embarrass this village and redirect attention - and tourists with their money - to their place.
The topper is the arrival of the only five members of the monks of St. Ebans to meet their patron and celebrate what they call a Glory, a festive song and dance ceremony supposedly based on such events promoted by the saint in his lifetime.

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