Books by Dan Binchy

Released: April 1, 2005

"Binchy's third (after Fireballs, 1994, etc.) is a dead-solid hit with cousin Maeve ('I . . . love this book!'), which is not surprising since it's Binchyesque to the core."
Echoes of Rocky in a sweet-natured tale of golf and small-town Ireland. Read full book review >
FIREBALLS by Dan Binchy
Released: Aug. 16, 1994

Third in Binchy's Brulagh muddle-and-tipple farces (The Neon Madonna, 1992; The Last Resort, 1993), this is another cheerfully shameless float of Irish village caricatures. Fireballs—pelletized peat—is the latest dandy project pushed by that expansively potbellied glad-hander Mick Flannery to bring about prosperity for the dim little Irish town of Brulagh—and re- election for himself to the European Parliament. In spite of the convenient removal of the town banker to a dry-out berth and the resultant easy access to his luscious wife, Mick (married miserably to superpious Maggie) is uneasy about the upcoming election. Having done nothing for the town except build a Leisure Center (named for himself), he needs a money and job bonanza. A Kentucky coal- unloading operation seems the answer, and after a trip to the States—where Mick is feted and reviled by such as ``The Hostile Sons of St. Finians'' as a result of his two conflicting views of the British presence in Northern Ireland—Mick is saved from a con job concerning the Kentucky operation by roving financial wizard Abe Linovitz. It was Abe who had rescued the moldering West African Kingdom of Marabar with a resort enterprise. (But an unfortunate turn of tides and events has forced the erstwhile ruler and son to become citizens of Brulagh.) Also on hand to attempt to raise money by other means, pleasing or distasteful: Father Jeremiah (sprung from his job as troubleshooter for the Vatican); salty-tongued Lady Aphra, whose marriage to dimly Mafia-connected American Luke Divareli has delighted her impecunious father, the 11th Earl of Gallerick, whose home is now a pricey inn called The Orchid Club; Johnny Slattery, whose poteen melts both teeth and tongue; Sgt. Johnson, on his perennial Elmer Fudd, searches for Johnny's still. With riots, jolting treks on mountain and foggy glens, tipsy talk, and discussions in the high decibels, it's all innocent merriment. Read full book review >
Released: March 22, 1993

More pratfalls, pounces, and gaseous protestations emanating from Brulagh, that Irish village of cheerful chicanery, profanity, and strong drink first celebrated hilariously in The Neon Madonna (1992). Now, among some familiar citizens, comes a wealthy young American of a shady banking-family who plans a major taking of the town in the form of a mammoth resort project. It'll all end in a tie—to the satisfaction of everyone. The auld gang from Neon Madonna are present again: expansive manipulator Mick Flannery, who now has the lucrative post of EC representative; Johnny Slattery, aided by dangerous Long John McCarthy, who's still making poteen down where the Little Folk dwell; and Fr. Jerry, who's in the best of health, though his Alpha Romeo, which he'd driven from Rome, where he was a soldier in Vatican politics, has ``committed suicide.'' Featured in this second chronicle is the beautiful, jaunty, loudmouthed Lady Alpha, sole offspring of the poverty-stricken, fox-hunting Eleventh Earl of Gallerick, who, for any money at all, must depend on Aunt Daphne (the Daft). Into Brulagh comes Luke Divareli, in his doomed Porsche, with a plan to make a killing with an improved golf course, hotels, cottages, the works. With the help of Abe, a Bronx- tongued toad—a veteran of smasher development investment—Luke pushes his plans while falling in love with Alpha. But there'll be a price as Luke weathers: a fixed horse-race, a hunt atop a mad mare (supplied by the man he'd thrown downstairs), a hurling pitch, and other local gaieties. Eventually, though, Luke is absorbed into Brulagh like a stray nut in a rummy pudding. Not as tight as Neon Madonna—too many plot threads, perhaps- -but funny indeed, with Dave Barry-like touches (a geezer's flat hat ``looked as if it could only be removed under a heavy anesthetic'') and endemically bloodshot dialogue. Read full book review >
Released: March 18, 1992

A bonanza strike for those readers with a love for farcical comedies set in tight little islands of insular villages. Here the village follies (at the core they're more like canny community survival exercises than folly) are set in the Irish coastal village of Brulagh—``a lackluster gemstone set in an exquisite mounting...It looked best from a distance.'' After a career as a Vatican diplomat in Rome, Father Jerry O'Sullivan contemplates Brulagh—as well as his sunset post as a parish priest—with considerable wariness. But Fr. Jerry, who springs from pothole to pothole in his new Alpha Romeo, is in for anything but a stress-free initiation: he'll eventually find more Machiavellian plotting than he observed in Rome. First, there's trouble brewing when two ladies of the Legion of Mary claim that the statue of the Virgin—installed in a grotto with a blinding ever-lit neon halo—has become thrillingly animated. Then there's a longtime feud bubbling up again (over the naming of a stand) between the local politician, a grand boozer and womanizer (he's about to bed the hated banker's wife), and his rival, who prospers with post office and supermarket. And from urban blight in Blighty, a native son, trading guns, is being followed to Brulagh by two IRA goons. Plus there's the unpleasant revelation that others besides Fr. Jerry know that the uncle who sent him through the seminary was a maker of moonshine. All labyrinthine roads lead to a hideaway cottage on Festival Day: two shameless lovers, an errant boy and his Liverpool cronies, a brace of awful assassins, various police and soldiers, a weaselly maker of moonshine—and a brilliantly manipulating quartet who save the day. With a rave from novelist cousin Maeve Binchy, a first-rate comic novel in a familiar and popular genre. Read full book review >