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FALSE MERMAID by Erin Hart Kirkus Star


by Erin Hart

Pub Date: March 1st, 2010
ISBN: 978-1-4165-6376-1
Publisher: Scribner

A forensic archaeologist returns home from Ireland in search of evidence that her brother-in-law was responsible for her sister’s murder, long deemed unsolvable by local police.

Cormac Maguire is in Donegal, reuniting with the father who abandoned him as a child to chase wild dreams in South America. But his heart is in Minnesota with his lover Nora Gavin (Lake of Sorrows, 2004, etc.), who spent the last two years with him in Dublin unearthing the mysteries of bodies found preserved in peat. Now a more pressing mystery brings her home. Her sister Tríona was murdered three years ago. Nora is sure that Tríona’s slick, handsome husband, Peter Hallett, bashed her face in and stuffed her body in the trunk of her car. But no one, not even Nora’s parents, will believe her—except Frank Cordova, the brooding police detective Nora shared more than her suspicions with before Cormac came on the scene. As Cormac chases ghosts—like Mary Heaney, thought by Glencolumbkille folk a selkie, a half-seal, half-human who disappeared from her family to return to the sea—Nora finds a real body. Police discover Natalie Russo, a sculler at the Twin Cities Rowing Club, in a shallow grave at Hidden Falls Park. Seeds in Natalie’s hair, including those from a rare plant called false mermaid, are similar to those found in Triona’s. If only Nora and Frank can make the connection before Peter’s upcoming second marriage puts his new wife Amanda and his daughter Elizabeth in mortal danger.

Pinpoint plotting and sure sense of place make this tale a winner.