A visit to the verdant Irish countryside is marred by murder.
Architect Jordan Mayfair is accompanying her uncle, Alex Carlyle, to Thurles, where they plan to stay at Shepherds, a B&B owned by their old friends Colin and Grace O’Toole. Alex, a retired college professor now writing travel books, and Jordan, a widow whose children are grown, are delighted at the prospect of spending some time with the pair they knew in Georgia, when Colin was one of Alex’s students. But their hosts aren’t present to greet them because they’re out searching for a missing toddler. Little Jimmie is the child of Colin and Grace’s daughter Bridget, who’s under treatment for mental problems. At first Jordan thinks Jimmie is the son of Patrick and Enya, the O’Tooles’ son and unhappy daughter-in-law who live at Shepherds. But Grace explains that Bridget, who’s refused to name Jimmie’s father and spends most of her time living in a cottage in the deep woods with a witchy old woman named Magdala, sometimes gets the urge to have Jimmie and just takes him. Jordan and Alex enjoy their fellow guests, the historical buildings, the stunning countryside, and the great food until Bridget’s doctor is found stabbed to death near Magdala’s cottage. Although Bridget appears to be in the clear, Jordan wants to help her and another guest, Ian Haverty, who was shot in the arm while walking home from a pub with Jordan and Alex. Though solving a murder isn’t what Jordan (Pursuit in Provence, 2015, etc.) had planned for her trip, her bump of curiosity won’t let her ignore all the mysterious circumstances.
The second in Gobbell’s travel series is filled with delightful descriptions of Ireland and offbeat characters, though some judicious pruning could have kept the story moving more smartly along.