by Sandra Murphy
This week we have reviews of 3 more Irish mysteries for your St. Patrick’s Day reading-Murder at an Irish Bakery: An Irish Village Mystery by Carlene O’Connor, Irish Knit Murder: A Knit & Nibble Mystery by Peggy Ehrhart, and Death in Irish Accents: A Dublin Driver Mystery by Catie Murphy. Details at the end of this post on how to enter to win a copy of all 3 books and links to purchase them at the end of each review–you may not be able to see the Amazon links if you have ad blocker on.
Murder at an Irish Bakery: An Irish Village Mystery by Carlene O’Connor
Review by Sandra Murphy
In Kilbane, if you want great pastries, go to the bakery at the old flour mill. They used to grind their own, but it’s been years since the wheel turned. Still, the pastries are to die for.
Now a reality baking show has come to film in the historic mill. There are a few contestants: Ethan who says he’s Parisian-trained, Barry nicknamed the Sponge, Sophie who is the least experienced, Aoife the most experienced and well known, hardly in need of winning a baking show, Trisha whose mother was friends with Aoife, and Martin who calls himself a baking sculptor.
Before they can even start, a loud protester disrupts the filming with shouts of “Sugar kills!” Siobahn and Aretta, both Garda, are on hand to keep the peace. He’s quickly dispatched but returns in a matter of minutes. Everyone is surprised when Aoife comes outside and powders his nose! Can’t be shiny when on the news, she says. It’s not long after, he collapses and is rushed to the hospital.
Filming, with townspeople on hand, is stopped and started as problems are found. When word comes the protester has died, it becomes a murder investigation with the added complication of so many people on hand. Then, there are the sabotage instructions given to each of the contestants just to add hysteria to the mix.
A second death complicates things further. Siobahn and her new husband, Macdara, a senior Garda, are on the case, but it seems the killer is one step ahead at every turn. Will they be able to solve the case before everyone leaves town?
This is book nine in the series. Siobahn and Macdara are finally married, moved into their new home, her family is undertaking a new challenge, and their future is rosy, except for the murders. They are a good couple, obviously in love, and circumspect about it, most of the time. The town itself, with the abbey ruins, quaint shops, and friendly people is a character itself.
At the back of the book, find a recipe for chocolate Guinness cake courtesy of Nigella Lawson.
Irish Knit Murder: A Knit & Nibble Mystery by Peggy Ehrhart
Review by Sandra Murphy
It’s St. Patrick’s Day and the senior center has asked Isobel Lister to sing some of the old Irish standards. Her performance is well received by all but two of the audience members who walk out on the show: one seemingly after a pointed remark Isobel makes and the other, in protest although no one knows of what.
When Isobel is expected to return for an encore but doesn’t show, the program director goes to find her and does — dead on the floor in the office. The window of opportunity for death to occur was only a matter of minutes. Considering the wound on her head, it was unlikely to be an accident.
Bettina is at the event to cover it for The Advocate, the local newspaper. Pamela, her friend and neighbor across the street, came along. Now, they’re both involved in the possible murder of one of the town’s wealthiest families. Isobel had always gotten away with antics no one else would dream of trying and is now seeing two men. Has her past caught up with her or is it her present love life that led to her final performance?
In her personal life, Pamela lives alone with three cats, that is. She hadn’t dated for years after her husband’s sudden death but lately has been seeing Brian. They get along well but are taking the relationship slowly, until he springs a sudden change on her. A second death puts ideas of romance out of her head as she finds a clue that will lead to a killer and feels she has to follow up.
This is book nine in the series, plus two collaborations with other authors. Pamela is finally seeing her life can be more than her editing work for a fiber magazine. I expect book ten will have some surprises. I’m looking forward to it.
At the back of the book, find a recipe for Irish Coffee Trifle and a pattern for a cozy egg cozy, formerly used to keep soft boiled eggs warm but it can double as a small nest to keep baby birds or squirrels warm after they’ve fallen from their own nests.
Death in Irish Accents: A Dublin Driver Mystery by Catie Murphy
Review by Sandra Murphy
Megan Malone has been involved with a few murder investigations. Not as a suspect, but as connected to the victim, usually because of her job. She’s a driver for Leprechaun Limos. An American by birth, an Irish-ish lass by choice, she’s been in Ireland for a few years now. Americans often request her since the local accent can be a bit strong for those unfamiliar with it.
This time, Megan can’t be blamed. She and her girlfriend Jelena were just out for coffee and breakfast when a dead body falls into Megan’s lap — right out of the supply closet next to their table. With strong encouragement from Jelena and Detective Paul Bourke, she promised to stay out of the investigation.
Easier said than done. Her newest client is famous and wealthy romance novelist, Claire Woodward. Things went well for a while — nice tours of ruins. When Claire announced she wanted to go to a coffee house and meet with a writers group, it’s the very coffee house where the murder took place. Even worse, the person she wants to meet is the one who died earlier in the day. Claire was the girl’s literary mentor.
Detective Burke is taken off the case due to a conflict of interest — which is not Megan’s fault! Detective Reese is now in charge, and she seems to be perfectly competent but … she’s no Paul Bourke. Even Jelena has to admit, Megan’s in the thick of it. Surely, it wouldn’t hurt to just ask a few questions here and there.
When a second death occurs, things at the writing group are in a full turmoil. One suspect stands out, but is it just too easy?
This is the fourth book in the series, meaning Megan’s fourth dead body, through no fault of her own, of course. In the meantime, she’s acquired a girlfriend and two dogs, celebs as clients and friends, and a reputation as ‘the murder driver.’ Some clients ask for her for that reason. They should be afraid.
Megan and Jelena are a good couple, especially when double dating with their friends: Paul Bourke and his movie star girlfriend. The dogs always add a bit of humor. There’s enough history doled out to give readers the flavor of Ireland without overwhelming the story.
A series I always look forward to. You will, too.
To enter to win a copy of all 3 books, 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 18, 2023. U.S. residents only, and you must be 18 or older to enter. If entering via email please include your mailing address in case you win, it will be deleted after the contest. You can read our privacy statement here if you like.
Check out other mystery articles, reviews, book giveaways & mystery short stories in our mystery section. And join our mystery Facebook group to keep up with everything mystery we post, and have a chance at some extra giveaways. Also listen to our new mystery podcast where mystery short stories and first chapters are read by actors! They are also available on Apple Podcasts, Google Play, and Spotify. A new episode went up last week.
Disclosure: This post contains links to an affiliate program, for which we receive a few cents if you make purchases. 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.