Picture a place in Ireland where a farmer is cutting turf in a peak bog on a chilly April morning. Something catches in the man's cutting tool and when he finds it is the head of a young woman. The setting is in the Galway area in the western part of Ireland.
Cormac Maguire is an archaeologist working at the National Museum and is asked to examine the head to see if a crime has been committed. He asks Nora Gavin, an American pathologist to help.
The reader learns that other young women have been disappearing from the area, including the wife of a wealthy landowner, Hugh Osborne.
After finishing their examination, Hugh asks Cormac to help in an archaeological survey, which Cormac agrees to and again asks Nora to join him. That way, they can do their own investigation into the girl whose head they found.
This is a wonderfully descriptive novel full of the emotions of the locals, the music that gives meaning to their lives and the history of the bog which has provided the livelihood of many of the people for generations.
When Cormac and Nora continue their investigation, they learn something that tells them the date of the girl's death, 1652. They ask a teacher what was going on in this area at the time and are told that this was when there was an ethnic cleansing in Ireland similar to modern Bosnia.
The characters are memorable as is the setting. The reader hopes that Cormac and Nora will return in another novel to follow their romance.
I understand that this book is to be the first in a series, and I do look forward to the next one. The tale is excellent, with finely-drawn characters, and just the right touch of eerie Irish countryside atmosphere to set the nerves tingling. There are two msyteries in this book, one several centuries old, and one more recent, but by the end of the book, with all of its twists and turns, both cases are solved. I enjoyed this book very much, and I think that anyone who likes mysteries with a touch … more
Cutting turf in the peat bogs of his Ireland farm, Brendan McGann occasionally finds old oak beams, oxcarts or tubs of butter and cheese buried ages ago and forgotten. But he's hardly prepared for the gruesome discovery he makes one pleasant April morning: the perfectly preserved head of a woman. So begins Hart's debut thriller, which follows archeologist Cormac Maguire, maverick local detective Garret Devaney, and Nora Gavin, an American anatomist lecturing at Trinity College Medical School, as they investigate the farmer's grisly finding, which could date back quite far, given that peat bogs can preserve bodies for centuries. Cormac and Nora stay in the house of Hugh Osborne, the owner of a decaying manor who also happens to be the prime suspect in the unsolved disappearance of his wife and infant son two years ago. The accommodations are not quite the Ritz. Osborne's dour cousin, Lucy Osborne, is the housekeeper, and her son, 17-year-old Jeremy, who drinks too much, also lurks around the estate. Nora finds a filthy, dead crow on her bed, as well as broken glass littering her bathroom floor. What's going on in this malevolent household? In addition to a complex, multilayered plot that involves both contemporary and historical crimes, Hart's novel is rich in local s at the pub, the petty feuds and jealousies of the townspeople and the traditional music and folk culture of Ireland are evocatively rendered. Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc.--This text refers to an ...