A solicitor can’t help but dig in a small Irish town when unidentified remains are found on the grounds of a local church.
Though she’s no detective, Benedicta O’Keeffe has a way of nosing herself into situations—or maybe it’s more a matter of being at the right place at the right time. In her capacity as a solicitor, she’s helping sell Inishowen’s Whitewater Church when she stumbles on unburied remains loose in one of the crypts. Ben has no idea who the remains could be, but she reports the incident to her kind-of-friend Sgt. Tom Molloy, though Molloy is clear the interaction is business and that Ben is to keep out of any investigation. Ben is too new in town to have a stake in the remains, but the rest of Inishowen is filled with rumors that the body belongs to Conor Devitt, who mysteriously vanished the morning that was to see him wed to Lisa McCauley. Six years after Conor disappeared, his brother Danny became a bit unhinged, and now he shows up at Ben’s office requesting her professional services while in a state too disturbed to convey what seems to be the problem or which services he needs. Ben is also approached by Conor’s former fiancee, Lisa, who’s just returned from her honeymoon and wants to have Conor officially declared dead so she can start her new life in peace. While Ben wants to help Danny and Lisa, she’s distracted by the arrival of a forensic pathologist, who coincidentally knows the secrets of Ben’s own dramatic past. Ben came to Inishowen because it was the furthest she could get from Dublin and the troubling death of her younger sister, and the arrival of the pathologist scares Ben into thinking, like the Whitewater remains, her own secrets may not stay buried.
Writing with Agatha Christie in mind, Carter draws her heroine as curious, if bordering on interfering, and her debut’s pacing as she explores the story encourages readers to seek the same connections she does.