The wedding of Siobhán O’Sullivan and Macdara Flannery in the village of Kilbane in County Cork, Ireland, comes to an abrupt halt when the skeleton of a groom is unearthed . . .
If only her mother could be here! The entire O’Sullivan brood—not to mention the regulars from Naomi’s Bistro—have gathered at St. Mary’s Church for the wedding of Siobhán and Macdara. It’s not every day you see two garda marrying each other. Only Siobhán’s brother James is missing. They can’t start without him.
But when James finally comes racing in, he’s covered in dirt and babbling he’s found a human skeleton in the old slurry pit at the farmhouse. What farmhouse? Macdara sheepishly admits he was saving it as a wedding surprise: he purchased an abandoned dairy farm. Duty calls, so the engaged garda decide to put the wedding on hold to investigate.
James leads them to a skeleton clothed in rags that resemble a tattered tuxedo. As an elderly neighbor approaches, she cries out that these must be the remains of her one true love who never showed up on their wedding day, fifty years ago. The garda have a cold case on their hands, which heats up the following day when a fresh corpse appears on top of the bridegroom’s bones. With a killer at large, they need to watch their backs—or the nearly wedded couple may be parted by death before they’ve even taken their vows.
Here I am again with a favorite series for the #BEGORRAHTHON in honor of the annual celebration of Reading Ireland Month (March). Of course, this one lands somewhat early in the year, but no problem, I always enjoy these quirky cozy mysteries.
I began with Book 4 of the series and managed to catch each successive entry through Book 7 last year, Murder in an Irish Bookshop. The author’s sense of humor and strong Irish flavor in her writing style never fails to keep me engaged and entertained.
Book 8 finds Siobhan O’Sullivan and Macdara Flannery excited about their wedding day and poised to walk up the aisle when brother James arrives disarrayed and dirty to announce a skeleton has been found on the property Macdara just bought. Rather than proceed with the nuptials or postpone for an hour while they investigate, they totally call off the wedding. Talk about garda dedication—no way on earth I’d have done that! A skeleton?
Has been there for awhile. It’ll keep a few minutes longer.
The skeleton is in a slurry pit—oh UGH! If not before, right there, I’d have bowed out. (Where’s my gas mask?) The problem is that it is the body of a groom (Tommy) intended also to have been wed that same day—50 years ago. Uh oh. I don’t believe in coincidences. (Do you?)
As you can imagine, the storyline takes on a complicated tack and proceeds to become more complex as they find one clue only to have it open fifty more questions. They won’t want for suspects, really, and especially after a second (but fresh) body is found, the clues become more pointed, narrowed, eliminating one then the other from suspicion. (Well, still suspicious, but good alibis anyway.) And did I mention the small but poignant missing or unaccounted for 30 grand (Euros?)?
No matter. My love for this series is the two gardai, their communication with each other, the sense of humor, and the strong large family (keep them together) theme. Yes, Dara knows what he’s getting into. The mysteries are good ones, always interesting and I learn something, but I love the setting, the peek into rural Irish life, the countryside, and the food. My only reservation this time was the extended conclusion wrapping up all loose ends–every one of them.
And did they finally get married? Yes! If I’d spent boo-koo bucks getting there for the one postponed, however, not sure I’d have wanted to do that all over again. Thinking it was smaller than intended maybe? Oh yes, and I miss a pronunciation key—how in the world is Siobhan pronounced?
I received a complimentary review copy of this book from the author and publisher through @NetGalley that in no way influenced this review. These are my honest thoughts.
A 2-22-22 release sure to be a fun, fast hit. Currently on pre-order.
Rosepoint Rating: Four point Five Stars
Genre: International Mystery & Crime, Cozy Mystery
Publisher: Kensington Cozies
Print Length: 322 pages
Publication Date: February 22, 2022
Source: Publisher and NetGalley
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.
©2022 V Williams