No Strangers Here (A County Kerry Novel Book 1) by Carlene O’Connor
Rosepoint Publishing: Five Stars
In the powerful tradition of Ann Cleeves and Louise Penny, USA Today bestselling author Carlene O’Connor’s new series set in Ireland brings together complex characters and a fascinating setting, focusing on a female vet who returns home to the village where she grew up and must reckon with her past while untangling mysteries in the present.
On a rocky beach in the southwest of Ireland, the body of Jimmy O’Reilly, sixty-nine years old and dressed in a suit and his dancing shoes, is propped on a boulder, staring sightlessly out to sea. A cryptic message is spelled out next to the body with sixty-nine polished black stones and a discarded vial of deadly veterinarian medication lies nearby. Jimmy was a wealthy racehorse owner, known far and wide as The Dancing Man. In a town like Dingle, everyone knows a little something about everyone else. But dig a bit deeper, and there’s always much more to find. And when Detective Inspector Cormac O’Brien is dispatched out of Killarney to lead the murder inquiry, he’s determined to unearth every last buried secret.
Dimpna Wilde hasn’t been home in years. As picturesque as Dingle may be for tourists in search of their roots and the perfect jumper, to her it means family drama and personal complications. In fairness, Dublin hasn’t worked out quite as she hoped either. Faced with a triple bombshell—her mother rumored to be in a relationship with Jimmy, her father’s dementia is escalating, and her brother is avoiding her calls—Dimpna moves back to clear her family of suspicion.
Despite plenty of other suspects, the guards are crawling over the Wildes. But the horse business can be a brutal one, and as Dimpna becomes more involved with her old acquaintances and haunts, the depth of lingering grudges becomes clear. Theft, extortion, jealousy and greed. As Dimpna takes over the family practice, she’s in a race with the detective inspector to uncover the dark, twisting truth, no matter how close to home it strikes . . .
Dingle is a peninsula in Ireland where the wealthy, like all cream, rise to the top and the O’Reilly family was the cream. They owned a good part of the peninsula and had many of the residents working for them. The patriarch of the family was Jimmy O’Reilly. Well dressed, he is found wearing a tie, dragged up on a beach from the ocean and very dead!
Cormac O’Brien is assigned to the case. The tie around Jimmy’s neck is tied correctly and looks almost new. He is in a very well-designed suit that does not look like it came out of the sound! The well-connected Mr. O’Reilly’s death must be solved and as quickly as possible.
A tarot card and vial of a strong sedative is found on the body indicating a veterinarian may be involved. Why would one of the wealthiest men in Dingle wind up on the shores of the sound murdered?
The local veterinarian is Dr. Wilde. He is well known throughout the community and everyone is concerned because he exhibits signs of advancing dementia, which has left him befuddled and confused. His practice is suffering and his daughter, Dr. Dimpna Wilde, also a very good veterinarian, decides to return to her hometown to help her father.
It has been 27 years since Dimpna left Dingle for college and founded her own veterinary practice. Since the death of Mr. O’Reilly was presumed to be by someone with access to veterinary medications, the suspicion fell on the Wilde family.
The author weaves a very fascinating tale of duplicity, jealousy, and avarice. I found myself glued to the dialogue which shifted around identifying many suspects. But could the vet have been the perpetrator? 5 stars – CE Williams
[I’ve read many books by this author following the Irish Village Mystery series, including Murder on an Irish Farm, Murder in Connemara, and Murder in an Irish Cottage, all delightful 4.5 star reads. I thought the CE would enjoy starting this one. He did!]
Many thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for providing me with the opportunity to read and review this book. Currently on pre-order.
Genre: International Mystery & Crime, Murder
Publisher: Kensington Books
Print Length: 320 pages
Publication Date: October 25, 2022
Source: Publisher and NetGalley
Title Links: No Strangers Here [Amazon]
Barnes & Noble
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 – CE Williams – V Williams