The brogue is thick, the plot is thin in this undernourishing Irish stew. Quintessential colleen Nuala Anne McGrail in her
fourth appearance (Irish Whiskey, 1997, etc.) continues to be catnip to her husband, the bestselling author Dermot Coyne. " `Tis
good to have a wife, particularly one like mine," gushes Dermot, and in fact they romp together incessantly. Well, perhaps not
as incessantly as they used to now that there’s also Nelliecoyne, their world-class seven-month-old, that "bewitching little girl"
who, it turns out, is as mysterious as her mother. Like Nuala, she’s "a dark one" and sees the past. A doomed schooner, for
instance, that went down off the shore of Lake Michigan a hundred years ago, all souls lost, is sharply visible to Nuala, her own
peculiar form of hindsight. So there they are, the young Coynes, off by themselves, looking to enjoy a period of "sexual
abandonment" before the advent of winter, and suddenly a mysterious five-master sticks its prow in where it doesn't belong.
That's Dermot's view anyhow, but (as ever) it's Nuala's view that matters. And if there’s a mystery, the dark ones among us are
obligated to unshroud it. The schooner isn’t the only puzzler on Nuala's plate. A more conventional conundrum involves the
mean-spirited schlock journalist Nick Farmer, who hated the Coynes until the day he was snuffed out by Chicago's
mafia—Chicago's Balkan mafia, that is. The why behind this must be tracked down too. Both mysteries get solved, of course,
though, oh, neither amounts to much.
The Coynes adore themselves, their baby, their dog, and being Irish, but where's the meat on the bones, Father?