31 January 2013

The Luck of the Irish?

Buried in a Bog (County Cork Mystery #1) by Sheila Connolly (Berkley Prime Crime mass market, 5 February 2013).

Resolved to honor the dying wish of her paternal grandmother, Maura Donovan uses her meager inheritance to travel from Boston to the Irish village where her Gran was born. 

After travelling for nearly 24 hours, she disembarks from the bus in Leap, tired and hungry.  The only building she can see through the rain is a pub called Sullivan's, which she enters with some trepidation.  The young woman behind the bar, whose name is Rose, is unsurprised at Maura's arrival, and after giving her a restorative cup of tea, she directs her to a nearby bed and breakfast.

Ellen Keohane, the proprietress of the house, is also unsurprised at Maura's turning up. Apparently, Maura's grandmother Nora had been corresponding with her old neighbor Bridget Nolan, who had spread the word that Nora's granddaughter would be appearing soon.

Maura is overwhelmed by the kindness shown her by the residents of Leap, who know nothing about her except that she claims to be the granddaughter of a woman who'd been born there some 70 years earlier.

The next day, driving a borrowed car back from Bridget Nolan's home, she passes a cluster of vehicles, including a police car.  The young policeman, Sean Murphy, who also seems to know all about Maura, informs that a farmer has found a body has been found in the bog.

As she listens to the elderly Bridget Nolan's stories, and looks at her old photographs, she regrets her younger self's disinterest in her grandmother's past.  And as she learns more about her own history, she begins to realize that the body found in the bog might have some connection with her present.

Connolly has created a charming fictional community, presumably based on the real village of Leap in County Cork, and thrown into it a thoroughly urban American woman.  The story that arises out of this is entertaining, and will appeal to lovers of  Irish history and geography.

FTC Full Disclosure: Many thanks to the publisher, who sent me a copy of the book for review purposes. 

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