Wayward guests and a dead entrepreneur plague the owners of an Irish bed-and-breakfast.
When Nessa McDermott left Dublin and her job as a reporter to open a guesthouse with her husband, Patrick Latif, she was expecting a quieter lifestyle. Their inn, Cnoc Meala (Honey Hill), is on the picturesque Beara Peninsula in West Cork. It seems a perfect place to raise their two children and guide walking tours. But when a neighbor finds Maureen Scurlock, Nessa’s guest, unconscious on an old trail, Maureen isn’t dressed for walking; she’s wearing teetery high heels and smells of alcohol. Her blatant flirting with a wealthy businessman, in fact, has made her husband so angry that he gets drunk and attacks Nessa. As if the poor innkeeper didn’t have enough to deal with while Patrick’s off visiting a relative in Africa, the businessman disappears. Then Redmond Joyce, a cop impatient with country living, is dispatched on a routine search for a dead animal and instead finds a human body in a garbage bag. The corpse may be grisly, but Joyce gets the adrenaline he craves from the case, which he sees as his ticket to a job in Dublin. Husbands, wives and children come under his zealous scrutiny as he searches the beautiful Irish countryside for ugly secrets.
Although this debut’s slow exposition, like many of its characters, could use a pick-me-up, Sweeney fits the pieces together competently and even manages a surprise or two.