It’s March and I’ll be participating in the Reading Ireland Month for 2019, this cozy mystery being the first.
Genre: Cozy Mystery, Crafts and Hobbies
Print Length: 304 pages
Publication Date: February 26, 2019
- ASIN: B07DBQB82Z
Source: Publisher and NetGalley
Title and Cover: Murder in an Irish Pub – Compelling cover depiction
When competing card sharps stir up Siobhán O’Sullivan’s quiet Irish village, a poker tournament turns into a game of Hangman . . .
In the small village of Kilbane in County Cork, for a cuppa tea or a slice of brown bread, you go to Naomi’s Bistro, managed by the many siblings of the lively O’Sullivan brood. For a pint or a game of darts—or for the poker tournament that’s just come to town—it’s the pub you want.
One player’s reputation precedes him: Eamon Foley, a tinker out of Dublin, called the Octopus for playing like he has eight hands under the table. But when Foley is found at the end of a rope, swinging from the rafters of Rory Mack’s pub, it’s time for the garda to take matters into their own hands. Macdara Flannery would lay odds it’s a simple suicide—after all, there’s a note and the room was locked. But Siobhán suspects foul play, as does Foley’s very pregnant widow. Perhaps one of Foley’s fellow finalists just raised the stakes to life and death.
With conflicting theories on the crime—not to mention the possibility of a proposal—tensions are running high between Siobhán and Macdara. Soon it’s up to Siobhán to call a killer’s bluff, but if she doesn’t play her cards right, she may be the next one taken out of the game . . .
Yes! You know I’m automatically attracted to a book that mentions County Cork, Ireland (thinking I may have a tie there, however small through my grandfather), and this book paints a beautiful but medieval village the author named Kilblane.
A cozy of a different color, protagonist Siobhán O’Sullivan is a rookie garda, member of the Irish police force, along with her favorite fella Macdara (Dara) Flannery. The plot threw me immediately by adding a poker tournament to the little town’s annual Arts and Music Festival. There are descriptions of pubs, music, Irish stew, and brown bread. The merchants have set up festival and craft tents and there is a celebratory air with a great deal of excitement over the world-class poker players expected to compete right there in their little village. The locals add a great deal of wit and blarney to the narrative.
Unfortunately, after the players are whittled to the precious few and the venue moved to a later, more raucous site, the booze and competition gets a tad out of hand. The number one player is found hung in a locked storage closet the following morning with what appears as an air-tight argument for suicide–door bolted from the inside. Garda O’Sullivan, however, feels it must not be a suicide. For instance, where is the man’s wallet or cell phone?
I always appreciate that a cozy will provide “off the page” deductions so there are no gory descriptions or a lot of foul language to trip over. Siobhán and Dara, however, seem to get a little lost in their investigation overlooking details that have you wondering when they’ll get to the next clue. There were a large number of characters to clear, red herrings, and twists, and somewhere in all that became rather apparent who the antagonist would prove to be. In the meantime, the reader enjoys a tourist’s eye view of the countryside and the Irish people who continue to impart lots of ancient wisdom to keep the storyline light.
Siobhán may have been well developed in the previous three of the series, so is not totally fleshed in this novel other than the snarky dialogue she exchanges with herself. It might be of benefit to begin with the first in the series, although I read easily as a standalone. This is my first entry to the series and the author and I did enjoy the author’s writing style. The villagers and Siobhán’s own family are brought into the well-plotted narrative often and creates a pleasing atmosphere of people you’d like to meet. The dialogue runs very natural, conversationally, and makes you the fly on the wall over-hearing some pretty amusing repartee.
“Did you black out?” He grinned. “If I did, I don’t remember.”
“Freud’s alleged quote about the Irish rose to mind: ‘This is one race of people for whom psychoanalysis is no use whatsoever.”
“…You can take a man out of Ireland, but you can’t take him out of the pub.” (My grandfather called it a “public house” back in his day.)
The suicide versus murder business kept an even pace and provided enough suspense to propel the reader through to conclusion. There are some light romantic interchanges between Siobhán and Dara which will be a continuing thread in the next of the series. It’s a light and fast read with a unique plot device (poker tournament) and a location-driven empathetic protagonist.
I was given the ebook download by the publisher and NetGalley and appreciate the opportunity to read and review. Recommended for any who enjoy a clean cozy read.
Rosepoint Publishing: Four of Five Stars
The Author: Carlene O’Connor comes from a long line of Irish storytellers. Her great-grandmother emigrated from Ireland to America during the Troubles, and the stories have been flowing ever since. Of all the places across the pond she’s wandered, she fell most in love with a walled town in County Limerick and was inspired to create the town of Kilbane, County Cork. Carlene currently divides her time between New York and the Emerald Isle. http://www.carleneoconnor.com
©2019 V Williams