A newly minted member of the Garda finds her first case is murder in more ways than one.
Siobhán O’Sullivan’s decision to become a police officer may have cost her a special relationship with Macdara Flannery, a garda who seemed upset by her decision to join without consulting him. Even before her first day on the job, she receives a call from the Kilbane parish priest, who heard a shot and discovered a dead man aboveground in the church graveyard. She gets in trouble for looking at the scene before calling the station and worries even more when Macdara, who is now a detective sergeant, is called in to run the case. Before she can give a report, she’s sent out to investigate the theft of cranky old George Dunne’s woolly socks—as soon as she can stuff herself into the uniform that was purposely ordered too small for her. Surprisingly, it’s Macdara who makes sure she has a new uniform and a decent spot to work and chooses to work with her himself after warning her they can have no personal discussions. The dead man, wealthy American Peter Mallon, had come to Ireland in search of some family history and, according to a witness who overheard him, to right a great wrong. He’s been accompanied by his third wife, his brother, the daughter who’s trying to get him declared incompetent, his gambling-addicted son, a nurse, and a filmmaker documenting the trip. Siobhán’s quick peek with the priest reveals that Mallon had been shot and lay with his hand pointing at the grave of one John Mallon, 1828-1903. Since Mallon had recently changed his will, both his relatives and his hangers-on may have a motive for murder. But Siobhán thinks the answer may lie in the past and Mallon’s search for a lost ancestor.
The third in O’Connor’s series (Murder at an Irish Wedding, 2017, etc.) freely dispenses quirky Irish charm as you scramble to find the truth.