Author Topic: March Feature: Mysteries in or about Ireland (and Scotland, too)  (Read 13791 times)

Becke Davis

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March Feature: Mysteries in or about Ireland (and Scotland, too)
« on: February 29, 2020, 01:22:12 pm »
Happy Leap Day! As we transition from February into March, we leave our cozy feature behind (only chronologically - feel free to post on that thread as long as you want) and head into the month of clover and leprechauns. We started talking about this on the cozy thread, so I'll retrieve some of those comments and share them here.

Rather than stick to a St. Patrick's Day focus, I think we can extend the scope of this feature to include mysteries set in and around Scotland as well as Ireland, and even Wales. The feature is an excuse for us to talk about some of our favorite books and authors, so go ahead and dive in with your recommendations. If you are an author of books set in these parts, please tell us about yourself and your books.

I didn't plan this, but I just started THE LOCH NESS PAPERS by Paige Shelton, which fits in nicely. I have a couple shelves of Loch Ness related books, so I was excited to come across this title.

The next few comments/posts will be copied and pasted from the cozy thread, where we kick-started this feature several weeks ago.

Becke Davis

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Re: March Feature: Mysteries in or about Ireland (and Scotland, too)
« Reply #1 on: February 29, 2020, 01:23:07 pm »
From JRob: Well, we can't forget about Rhys Bowen's Molly Murphy series which does start in Ireland but is mostly set in turn of the century (or thereabouts) New York. It is the first series I read that was tied to Ireland and it is fantastic. I got to meet her at a signing and she signed my copy of the first book in the series!

I'm not sure I know of any other series/books tied to Ireland but not actually set there. At least not off the top of my head. I've never had to go looking for that kind of thematic narrative before.

Becke Davis

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Re: March Feature: Mysteries in or about Ireland (and Scotland, too)
« Reply #2 on: February 29, 2020, 01:24:31 pm »
From me (your moderator):

Jumping ahead to March, some of the books and authors that come to mind (in addition to the authors already mentioned in a previous post):

Tana French's Dublin Murder squad books: http://tanafrench.com/books.html

Stuart Neville's THE GHOSTS OF BELFAST https://www.nyjournalofbooks.com/book-review/ghosts-belfast

Ken Bruen's THE GUARDS https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/298920.The_Guards

Dervla McTiernan's THE RUIN and THE SCHOLAR

Benjamin Black's Quirke series

Sheila Connolly's County Cork series

Erin Hart's Nora Gavin/Cormac Maguire series

Paul Murray's SKIPPY DIES https://www.nytimes.com/2010/09/05/books/review/Kois-t.html

Colin Bateman's DIVORCING JACK https://www.publishersweekly.com/978-1-55970-310-9

Adrian McKinty's Detective Sean Duffy series

John Banville's THE BOOK OF EVIDENCE

Cora Harrison's A SECRET AND UNLAWFUL KILLING https://www.publishersweekly.com/978-0-312-37268-2

Bartholomew Gill's Peter McGarr mysteries https://www.bookseriesinorder.com/bartholomew-gill/

Becke Davis

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Re: March Feature: Mysteries in or about Ireland (and Scotland, too)
« Reply #3 on: February 29, 2020, 01:28:01 pm »
From JRob: I started reading the Carlene O'Connor novel Murder In An Irish Pub. I won a copy of it on Goodreads and now that it showed up in the mail, I finally got to start reading it.

Becke Davis

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Re: March Feature: Mysteries in or about Ireland (and Scotland, too)
« Reply #4 on: February 29, 2020, 01:34:24 pm »
This book was very hard to find for a long time, but now it's available digitally I think it is now also available in print form again. I love it because it is so quirky - if you read the reviews people either love it or hate it. I don't want to give the ending away, but believe me when I say she breaks a lot of the "rules" of mystery.

https://openroadmedia.com/ebook/Fear-by-Night/9781504033503

https://www.abebooks.com/book-search/title/fear-by-night/author/patricia-wentworth/first-edition/

Becke Davis

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Re: March Feature: Mysteries in or about Ireland (and Scotland, too)
« Reply #5 on: February 29, 2020, 02:12:28 pm »
Mary Stewart is one of my favorite authors, and has been since I was a teenager in the Sixties. I think one of her creepiest books is WILDFIRE AT MIDNIGHT: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00GW4OZIQ/ref=dbs_a_def_rwt_bibl_vppi_i8

While looking for reviews of this book, I found a wonderful article about Mary Stewart from Mystery Scene magazine, written by Katherine Hall Page: https://mysteryscenemag.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=2354:mary-stewart-teller-of-tales&catid=38:profile&Itemid=191

Josephine Tey wrote wonderful mysteries and her life was as mysterious as her books: https://www.vanityfair.com/culture/2015/09/josephine-tey-mystery-novelist

Her book THE SINGING SANDS was published posthumously, with her detective being sent to Scotland for his health: https://www.amazon.com/Singing-Sands-Josephine-Tey/dp/0684818922/ref=sr_1_6?keywords=josephine+tey&qid=1583013851&sr=8-6

Loucinda McGary's THE WILD SIGHT combines mystery, romance and the paranormal.
A Booklist review shared on Amazon describes it:
"Haunted by visions of Druid priests and Celtic warriors, Donovan O’Shea left home in Northern Ireland and immigrated to America. With his father ill, he returns to help sell the family property and pub, and now, to his dismay, the “sight” has returned. He inherited the talent from his long-lost mother, who told him to keep it a secret, and he has. He is soon involved in the archaeological excavation on his family’s land and meets American Rylie Powell. Her father walked out on the family when she was a toddler, and she now believes that Donovan’s father is also hers. Donovan knows in his heart this cannot be true as the attraction between them is palpable. In between checking out DNA tests and family histories. the two become involved with murders past and present stemming from the Troubles, a quest that requires Donovan’s gift. Northern Ireland’s violent past combined with supernatural elements add an intriguing twist to this modern love story. --Patty Engelmann"


Becke Davis

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Re: March Feature: Mysteries in or about Ireland (and Scotland, too)
« Reply #6 on: February 29, 2020, 02:21:18 pm »
If it's atmosphere you want, you can't go wrong with Erin Hart's books: https://www.erinhart.com/books.php

Becke Davis

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Re: March Feature: Mysteries in or about Ireland (and Scotland, too)
« Reply #7 on: February 29, 2020, 02:25:00 pm »
I'm surprised Bartholomew Gill isn't better known. I have read several of his books and enjoyed them all. I'm always on the lookout for more! https://www.fictiondb.com/author/bartholomew-gill~series~a-peter-mcgarr-mystery~1454.htm

Brian

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Re: March Feature: Mysteries in or about Ireland (and Scotland, too)
« Reply #8 on: February 29, 2020, 02:27:03 pm »
I never miss a chance to talk about John Dickson Carr, and his The Case of the Constant Suicides is a Scotland mystery.

It takes place in the Highland castle of the Campbells, has some of the best drinking scenes in mystery fiction, and features two of Carr's best practical locked room problems. (I wonder if later in life, when he was running low on good problems--even re-using some--if he wished he had saved some of them up.)

Anyway, in this one it seems that anyone who stays overnight in the tower room of the castle is forced to commit suicide by hurling themself out the window. The room is locked from the inside each time, and completely inaccessible. The second problem has an apparent suicide-by-hanging-which-is-really-murder in a cabin on the castle grounds with both door and window locked from the inside.

Carr changes the mood from serious to humourous at will, there's a screwball romance, and the murderer is well-hidden. Even Barzun and Taylor, Carr's harshest critics, enjoyed it. What more could a mystery reader want?

Brian

Becke Davis

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Re: March Feature: Mysteries in or about Ireland (and Scotland, too)
« Reply #9 on: February 29, 2020, 03:02:03 pm »
I never miss a chance to talk about John Dickson Carr, and his The Case of the Constant Suicides is a Scotland mystery.

It takes place in the Highland castle of the Campbells, has some of the best drinking scenes in mystery fiction, and features two of Carr's best practical locked room problems. (I wonder if later in life, when he was running low on good problems--even re-using some--if he wished he had saved some of them up.)

Anyway, in this one it seems that anyone who stays overnight in the tower room of the castle is forced to commit suicide by hurling themself out the window. The room is locked from the inside each time, and completely inaccessible. The second problem has an apparent suicide-by-hanging-which-is-really-murder in a cabin on the castle grounds with both door and window locked from the inside.

Carr changes the mood from serious to humourous at will, there's a screwball romance, and the murderer is well-hidden. Even Barzun and Taylor, Carr's harshest critics, enjoyed it. What more could a mystery reader want?

Brian

I've read a lot of Carr books but not this one - I'm terrible with titles, but THE CASE OF THE CONSTANT SUICIDES would definitely stick with me.

JRob

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Re: March Feature: Mysteries in or about Ireland (and Scotland, too)
« Reply #10 on: February 29, 2020, 05:39:05 pm »
By the way, I finished that Carlene O'Connor book and it was superb.

Also, I just picked up the THE LOCH NESS PAPERS by Paige Shelton today.

There's a dark thriller (serial killer I believe or at least a stone cold killer) called Little Bird by Sharon Dempsey. I heard about from reading a panel blurb that was taking place at a book festival in Boston last year. I read up on the book and it does sound right up my alley.

I also picked up the first book in the new Dublin Driver cozy series called DEAD IN DUBLIN. The author is Catie Murphy.

Becke Davis

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Re: March Feature: Mysteries in or about Ireland (and Scotland, too)
« Reply #11 on: February 29, 2020, 06:55:29 pm »
I now keep a notepad next to my computer so I can keep a running list of the authors you all recommend. I read pretty fast normally but I'm going to have to up my game or I'll never make a dent in the dangerous TBR pile. I mean, I never make much of a dent in it, but it is really scaling the heights these days!

Becke Davis

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Re: March Feature: Mysteries in or about Ireland (and Scotland, too)
« Reply #12 on: March 01, 2020, 04:11:25 pm »
From JRob: I started reading the Carlene O'Connor novel Murder In An Irish Pub. I won a copy of it on Goodreads and now that it showed up in the mail, I finally got to start reading it.

JRob - I went to a local Barnes & Noble today, armed with my list of authors you and others here have recommended. There is more selection online, but I try to support brick-and-mortar bookstores whenever I can. I found two books that fit in with our March feature: MURDER IN AN IRISH VILLAGE by Carlene O'Connor and THE HUNTING PARTY by Lucy Foley (a new release).

At the moment I'm going back and forth between two books - I try not to do this, but sometimes while flipping through books in my TBR pile, I find myself trapped in a story. So I'm still reading Paige Shelton's Loch Ness cozy, but I'm also reading M.L. Longworth's Death at the Chateau Bremont. I really like the way both of these authors write. I didn't have any luck finding more of their books or more Jane Langton books, but I know I can find more online. Now I just have to shut out the world and READ.

JRob

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Re: March Feature: Mysteries in or about Ireland (and Scotland, too)
« Reply #13 on: March 01, 2020, 08:01:58 pm »
I think you are going to love the Carlene O'Connor series!