A long-buried corpse lies patiently waiting to be discovered in this slow-moving tale.
After more than a year in Ireland, Boston transplant Maura Donovan is still trying to get her public house ready for serious business. Michael Sullivan, an old friend of the American grandmother who raised Maura, left her a cottage, a pub, and bits of property in the West Cork village of Leap. Although Maura’s main concern is whether to serve food in the pub, she can’t help being intrigued when Ciara McCarthy, a grad student in archaeology, wants to explore Maura’s property for ring forts, early Middle Age monuments otherwise known as fairy circles. Although Maura’s skeptical about those fairies, she allows Ciara to explore. Then Maura’s mother, Helen, who’s fulsomely and frequently apologetic about abandoning Maura as a child, arrives with her other daughter. While Maura’s getting to know her half sister and trying to work out her tentative romance with the pub’s barkeep, one of the two students working with Ciara on the fairy-ring project disappears. Joining the search for him and finally visiting one of the rings, Maura digs down and finds a skeletal hand. After she calls in the local garda, Sean Murphy, with whom she’s worked on previous cases (The Lost Traveller, 2019, etc.), all he can tell her from the autopsy of the hand and the rest of the body is that it’s male and 40 or 50 years old. However, two of Leap’s older residents seem to know something about the corpse, and they and Maura talk about how they’re going to talk about it, and then talk some more about talking, until they finally reveal all in a denouement that makes you wonder if Connolly, in her eighth County Cork installment, is running out of inspiration.
Most likely to appeal to readers who love Irish settings, Irish folklore, and Irish chatter.