by Sandra Murphy
& Carlene O’Connor
In honor of St. Patrick’s Day we have several Irish mysteries this week, including a review of Murder in an Irish Churchyard by Carlene O’Connor aka Mary Carter. We also have a great St. Patrick’s Day guest post by Carlene. Details at the end of this post on how to enter to win a copy of Murder in an Irish Churchyard, and a link to purchase it from Amazon, and an indie bookstore where a portion of the sale goes to help support KRL.
Murder in an Irish Churchyard: An Irish Village Mystery By Carlene O’Connor
Review by Sandra Murphy
Siobhan O’Sullivan has helped a bit with past murders in the village of Kilbane, in County Cork and that gave her the idea of becoming a Garda (police officer) herself. Now she’s graduated after two years of study. Her friend, and almost more, Macdara Flannery has moved to Dublin although he still has jurisdiction over Kilbane when needed.
In the middle of the night before Siobhan’s very first day, she’s summoned by Father Kearney about a dead body in the churchyard. She doesn’t even have time to change into her uniform before the good Father is pulling her toward the door. Worse, it’s started snowing. She hurries to the scene before snow buries any evidence.
Before backup arrives, she’s able to take a few photos with her phone, not that her efforts are appreciated by her superior, Garda O’Reilly. Macdara is on the case which is awkward for him and Siobhan, until they agree to keep things strictly professional.
Siobhan is frustrated since she’s not freely able to investigate, being the newbie officer. O’Reilly sends her to take a report about missing socks of all things! There are a few people who are willing to talk to her—and more who aren’t. Adding the bits and pieces together won’t be easy.
The dead man was from Dublin, but Dublin, Ohio, which makes learning who had a motive that much harder. He’s in town to trace his family roots and film the search as a documentary. His entourage include his third wife, hardly the trophy variety, his brother, his adult son and daughter, and the filmmaker.
There’s something fishy going on between the brother and the wife, the son and daughter might have been written out of the will, and the filmmaker seemed to have turned up at a very convenient time. A missing gun, a mysterious woman seen in the cemetery, and rumors about Macdara and Siobhan’s best friend are enough to make Siobhan wonder why she ever wanted to be a Garda.
In the end, secrets always come out, no matter how long it takes or who gets hurt.
This is the third book in the series. Siobhan has grown as a character, separate from her family and their bistro. It makes her appreciate them even more. Her relationship with Macdara is further complicated by their working relationship which must come first. For a glimpse into Irish family life, the ins and outs of village living and the complicated relationships families have, readers will thoroughly enjoy time spent in Kilbane.
Lá Fhéile Pádraig: The Day of the Festival of Patrick
By Mary Patricia Carter aka Carlene O’Connor
I would begin with “Top of the Mornin’ to ye,” but an Irishman would be horrified if I tossed out that old cliché. So…”Hiya. What’s the craic?” (Craic – Irish word for fun. Loosely translated “What’s up—anything good going on?”)Instead I’ll start with my name, but I warn you, that’s a tad confusing too. I write the Irish Village Mysteries under the pseudonym Carlene O’Connor. And since people ask me all the time—why the name change? Let me begin there. In the publishing industry, it’s a matter of branding. “Apples and oranges,” my editor said. “Just tell people that.” I tried:
“Why the name change?”
“Apples and oranges.”
(Insert bewildered look and tilt of the head).
Let me try again. My previous novels weren’t Irish mysteries so with a new genre comes a new name. But don’t panic. It’s still me. My great grandmother emigrated to America from Ireland. One of those nifty DNA kits showed I’m 74% Irish. But I’m still somewhat of a wannabe, except for one day a year where instead of Queen for a Day, I get to be Irish for a day. We all do. Lucky us!
And for this conversation, I must out myself. My real name is Mary Carter, Mary Patricia Carter, named after my mother Mary Patricia, who went by Pat, named after her mother Mary Patricia, who went by Mary, and I was supposed to go by Mary Pat. (If you’re confused, believe me, so was I). I started saying my name was Mary Pat Matricia Carter, and after driving everyone nuts with that, supposedly I came home from school one day, threw my exhausted four-year-old self to the floor and said, “Just call me Mary!” (I don’t remember that at all, I must have blocked out the trauma.) In a normal world, having the middle name Patricia wouldn’t make me any kind of expert on Saint Patrick’s Day, but given that the day makes us all go a little bonkers, I can admit I do feel a kinship with my ancient namesake: Saint Patrick.
So here are some fun facts about my BFF and his special day: (Wikipedia)
Saint Patrick’s Day is celebrated in more countries than any other national festival. (Take that Festivus for the Rest of Us!)
The first St Patrick’s Day parade in Ireland was held in Waterford in 1903.
The first official, state-sponsored St Patrick’s Day parade in Dublin took place in 1931.
But wait..Did you know that Ireland wasn’t the first to throw a parade? Wikipedia strikes again:
The first recorded St. Patrick’s Day parade was held in New York City in 1762. I’m a New Yorker like I’m Irish—a wannabe. I first moved to NYC at 18 years of age and lived there on and off for 15 years, so the following graphic gives me an inflated sense of pride, just like Saint Patrick’s Day.
I was honored in 2015 when they asked me to write an essay for the NYC Saint Patrick’s Day parade on We’re Irish. At least Today. (Here’s a shameless plug: www.nycstpatricksparade.org/2015/03/17/were-irish-at-least-today) Since that article came straight from the heart, I wondered if I had anything to add. I started thinking.
Do Americans do Paddy’s Day better than the Irish? Some dear Irish friends sorted me out straight away (Thanks Bridget, Fiona, and Sarah!)
In Ireland, they drink and watch the Ireland final hurling on the telly. We just drink and finally hurl.
They spend weeks making costumes and posters for the parade. We wake up that morning, throw on anything green(ish), make our faces look like The Hulk, and order a green shake at Mickey D’s.
They go to mass in their costumes and meet outside the church to march through the town with crowds cheering and clapping. We stroll down to a parade while strangers shove us out of the way pinching our behinds as we pass.
They dance and sing the night away with a band, kids allowed ’til all hours of the night. We leave our little Leprechauns with babysitters and think we might have done some dancing and drinking but can’t prove it given we have no memory past sundown.
They sleep in the following day…Ah, we do too!
Sleeping patterns aside, THEY WIN. Because no matter how much we blow it out, dye it green, or march it up, the next morning, they’re still Irish. We are back to being wannabes, eagerly waiting, like Leprechauns-on-the-shelf, for another 364 days…It’s no wonder we make the most of it. I hope you will as well.
Happy Saint Patrick’s Day! Slanté. (Cheers).
To enter to win a copy of Murder in an Irish Churchyard, simply email KRL at krlcontests@gmail[dot]com by replacing the [dot] with a period, and with the subject line “irish,” or comment on this article. A winner will be chosen March 17, 2018. U.S. residents only. If entering via email please include your mailing address, and if via comment please include your email address.
Check out other mystery articles, reviews, book giveaways & mystery short stories in our mystery section.
Use this link to purchase the book & a portion goes to help support KRL & indie bookstore Mysterious Galaxy:
You can also use this link to purchase the book on Amazon. If you have ad blocker on you may not see the link:
Disclosure: This post contains links to an affiliate program, for which we receive a few cents if you make purchases using those links. KRL also receives free copies of most of the books that it reviews, that are provided in exchange for an honest review of the book.