A pub owner has much to teach the police in County Cork.
Maura Donovan left her life in Boston when the canny grandmother who raised her arranged for her to inherit Sullivan’s, a pub in her former hometown of Leap. The pub’s finances have been improved by the addition of some music that attracts the attention of a group of investors who have bought the Crann Mor Hotel and are scouting the area for places their clientele might enjoy visiting. Although Maura has no wish to tart up Sullivan’s, she meets with John Byrne, one of the hotel's new owners, and Helen Jenkins, who handles infrastructure for the company. Maura is unwilling to make changes but is willing to listen to advice from her staff, especially Mick, her oddly unambitious barman. When Byrne’s battered body is found at the foot of a hill in the hotel garden, Maura’s friends in the local police (Cruel Winter, 2017, etc.) are interested in her thoughts. These take a dramatic turn when Helen reveals that she’s the mother who left Maura behind more than 20 years earlier. Maura’s far from certain that she wants a relationship with the woman who abandoned her. Meantime, she’s learned more about Mick’s past from his grandmother, who knows that they love each other. People in Leap have such long memories that talking to them reveals a great deal about Byrne’s past and his connection with the area. A big-city police officer recently reassigned to Leap is pushing to solve the case, but his brash manner is far less effective than Maura’s quiet persistence, which ultimately achieves a resolution of sorts to her problems.
This laid-back mystery combines plenty of puzzles with a strong feeling for life in small-town Ireland.