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Cruel Winter By Sheila Connolly: Review/Giveaway


FROM THE 2017 Articles,
andMysteryrat's Maze,
andSandra Murphy

by Sandra Murphy

Details at the end of this post on how to enter to win a copy of Cruel Winter. We also have a link to order it from Amazon, and from an indie bookstore where a portion goes to help support KRL.

Maura left Boston after her grandmother’s death, just to visit Ireland. Gran wanted her to see the old country and let distant relatives know she’d died. What was to be a visit, has turned into a new life. Moira inherited a pub, three employees, a daily storytelling fixture of a customer, and a house too. It seems she’s here to stay, at least for now.

It’s her first winter in Ireland. Mick had to arrange for the heat in her house and show her how to use it. Peat in a fireplace is also a mystery, smoky, but warm, if you can stay close enough to the fire. When the telly reports a snow storm is on the way, and it will be a big one, she’s at a loss as to what to do. With the help of neighbors and friends, the pub is fixed up to be a haven for the stranded.

That would include Gillian, who is pregnant, Old Billy the storyteller, groomsmen from a wedding, a former policeman, musicians, and a few regulars as well as the employees. They’re able to scrounge a bit of food, just the basics, eggs and toast for breakfast, the makings of soup. Boredom might be a problem as these are all practiced drinkers. book

Diane is the anomaly. She’s quiet, off in a corner, even though it’s colder there. Finally, one of the men recognizes her. Years ago, she was the main suspect in a neighbor’s murder. The two women were acquainted, but not friends, each staying alone that night with husbands out of the country. To complicate matters, Diane’s husband had an affair with the victim, giving Diane a motive, at least in the minds of the police. No strangers were about, everyone had alibis, but there was never enough evidence to arrest Diane.

Diane is in Ireland to sell the house. Her friends in England don’t know about the murder, and it’s finally time to move on. As a way to pass the time, she tells her side of the story. As she’s questioned and responds, Maura keeps track of who did what and when. Is it possible they could solve a cold case? At least Diane will feel like she’s been able to set the record straight from her point of view.

Maura may still feel lost as to the ways of the Irish, but she’s learning, and as she does, so does the reader. Ireland has snow, but not the likes of this storm which is so well described as to be a character and as important as the rest of the clues. Jimmy, the laziest employee at the pub, has a new lady friend. She’s an ambitious woman, the opposite of Jimmy, and should make for interesting changes in his life in the future. Rose, his daughter and a great employee, has such a good time cooking for the snow-trapped customers, she’s apt to go to culinary school once Jimmy is settled. Mick remains mysterious as ever, but readers will have hope for him and Maura.

This is book number five in the County Cork series. Connolly also writes the Museum mysteries (seven), the Orchard book (ten), the Relatively Dead series (five), and the Glassblowing mysteries as Sarah Atwell (three).

Connolly is a truly prolific writer, who has a tale to tell and tells it well. Be ready to pack your bags for Ireland—although maybe not in the winter.

To enter to win a copy of Cruel Winter, simply email KRL at krlcontests@gmail[dot]com by replacing the [dot] with a period, and with the subject line “cruel,” or comment on this article. A winner will be chosen March 18, 2017. 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 & 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:


Sandra Murphy lives in the shadow of the Arch, in the land of blues, booze and shoes—St Louis, Missouri. While writing magazine articles to support her mystery book habit, she secretly polishes mystery books of her own, hoping, someday, they will see the light of Barnes and Noble and a Kindle. You can find several of Sandra’s short stories at Untreed Reads including her newest, “Arthur,” included in the anthology titled, Flash and Bang, available now. Look for Denali, in the anthology Dogs and Dragons.

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.

{ 25 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Debbie Price March 11, 2017 at 7:59am

I have read a few books in this series and would love to add this one to my collection. Thank you.


2 Lynn March 11, 2017 at 9:57am

Sounds interesting – like the cover! Would love to win a copy! Thanks for offering!


3 Kathleen Kendler
Twitter: @Kathleen
March 11, 2017 at 10:13am

The saga continues.
kckendler at gmail dot com


4 Cynthia Bkain March 11, 2017 at 10:50am

I am truly looking forward to getting Sheila’s release as I follow her other series and really enjoy those so know this series will be awesome too. I like to follow New England authors and also read books about New England and that is why I have been a fan of the Orchard Mystery series.
Such a good write up and keep up the great work. Congratulations, Sheila.


5 Donamae
Twitter: @donamaekutska
March 11, 2017 at 1:07pm

Wow! This book has me interested. I can’t wait to read it. Thanks for the chance.


6 holdenj
Twitter: @.
March 11, 2017 at 2:54pm

I have been looking forward to Maura’s new story! Thanks for the chance to win!


7 Debbie Lubbert March 11, 2017 at 4:41pm

I am looking forward to reading this book.


8 Jennifer Hansen March 11, 2017 at 6:58pm

Have been wanting to read this book.

parkeremma2003 at yahoo dotcom


9 Marilyn Watson
Twitter: @MarilynWatson18
March 11, 2017 at 11:02pm

A Pub in Ireland and a mystery…sounds delicious.
Marilyn ewatvess@yahoo.com


10 Faith March 12, 2017 at 12:44am

One of my favorite series! Hope I win!?


11 Donna Gantt March 12, 2017 at 5:40am

I saw a review of this book on a mystery blog and it was a good one. Thank you for a chance to win a copy!


12 Nora-Adrienne
Twitter: @Nora-Adrienne
March 12, 2017 at 7:41am

I love the series and am happy for Sheila that its found a new home. I’m not only a fan, but a friend.. (who else could literally bump into her at RWA-NY and have her ask for a hug.

I’d love to be your lucky winner so I can add the book to my home library collection of her works.
A recent post from Nora-Adrienne: Another month gone, so here are the March Releases for your viewing pleasure.My Profile


13 Annette Naish March 12, 2017 at 9:13am

This book would be absolutely wonderful to read. Thanks for the opportunity.


14 Doward Wilson March 12, 2017 at 9:38am

I really enjoy this author’s other series & can’t wait to start this one. Thanks for the giveaway.


15 Debbie E
Twitter: @debbi_erickson
March 12, 2017 at 10:31am

This book looks good! Haven’t read any from this series but have read many of her other series! Thanks for the great review.


16 Donamae
Twitter: @donamaekutska
March 12, 2017 at 11:52am

Can’t wait to read this book!


17 Connie Saunders
Twitter: @cps1950
March 12, 2017 at 12:01pm

This sounds like a great read!!


18 Pam Priborsky March 12, 2017 at 1:38pm

This sounds like a fun read!


19 Jess D March 13, 2017 at 3:37am

Sounds like a great read. Maceoindo(at)yahoo(dot)com


20 Linda Herold
Twitter: @Linda
March 13, 2017 at 6:34am

Thanks for the chance of winning a book by this author!! lindaherold999(at)gmail(dot)com


21 Lorraine Bowen March 13, 2017 at 1:41pm

raineybird at yahoo.com


22 Valerie Hoynacki March 15, 2017 at 7:23pm

YES! IVe always enjoyed Connolly’s books!


23 Dianne Casey March 16, 2017 at 6:08pm

I haven’t read this series yet yet, but it’s on my TBR list. Thanks for the chance.


24 Lorie
Twitter: @mysteryrat
March 28, 2017 at 10:29am

We have a winner!


25 Carrie Pitt April 4, 2017 at 5:24pm

Thank you so much for the book. I can’t wait until it arrives so I can find out whether Diane truly was the murderer or someone else in the town. My ancestors are from Cork and I was there two years ago for a visit. Very excited for this book to take me back there in my mind.


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