Bad things come in threes when pathologist Nora Gavin (Haunted Ground, 2003) is called to examine an ancient corpse buried in the peat at Loughnabrone Bog.
Bog excavation is part archaeology, part commerce, and those who harvest peat often come across unexpected treasure. The Loughnabrone hoard of Iron Age artifacts netted Dominic Brazil and his younger brother Danny $20,000, although rumors persist that they didn’t turn over quite everything they found to the National Museum. But sometimes the earth yields up treasures with no monetary value—like an Iron Age body, preserved by its immersion, and showing signs of triple death: garroted by a leather cord, throat slashed, and drowned in a ritual associated with Celtic human sacrifice. Nora, an expert on bog bodies, has no sooner arrived from Dublin than another multiply murdered victim turns up in the peat, this time wearing a wristwatch that indicates a somewhat later demise. Manager Owen Cadogen is livid, not only at having to stop work but also because of unfinished business with Ursula Downes, the head archaeologist. When a third victim appears, Nora must put aside her torn feelings about her imminent return to the States—and the prospect of leaving her Irish lover, Cormac Maguire—to catch a ruthless killer with a taste for triple death.
Myriad twists and turns juice the plot and deepen the atmosphere in Hart’s moody second offering.