An Irish-American transplant continues her struggle to adjust to a new life in rural Ireland.
Raised by her grandmother in Boston, Maura Donovan has inherited a pub and a cottage in Leap. She’s so uncertain of her plans that she’s done nothing to make her cottage homey, like stocking it with food. But Sullivan’s Pub has a fairly steady business, and with the help of her swain, Mick Nolan, and Rose Sweeney, a talented young cook who plans to add food to the pub’s offerings, Maura is making do. The addition of music has increased business, but the good times are threatened when Maura discovers a dead body under the bridge next to the pub. Maura calls the local Garda, Sean Murphy, whom she’s helped solve several crimes (Many a Twist, 2018, etc.). The victim’s face is smashed, and no one local is missing, so Maura and her little circle of friends think they’d better investigate before the pub’s reputation is ruined. Maura, who’s been concentrating on her own problems, which now include getting someone else to work at the pub, realizes she has no idea where to find help or how much to pay them. Rose introduces her to her cooking teacher, who runs a restaurant and introduces Maura to the shadowy world of undocumented workers. At a crowded music night at the pub, a stranger steps in to help tend bar and later vanishes. Could he be connected to the dead man, whose identity is still a mystery? Maura and her friends wonder if the victim was a hitchhiking tourist or a member of the Irish Traveller community. Slowly awakening from her oblivious state of indecision, Maura realizes that she must take control of her life, beginning with solving the murder.
Although the mystery is cleverly woven into the story, it’s the heroine’s slow awakening and the marvelous local color that make this one of the best in a fine series.