This mystery, the second in a series set in Inishowen, is a well written mystery with likeable characters. The protagonist is Ben O’Keeffe a country solicitor. Her law practice is the most northerly solicitor’s office in Ireland. ‘Ben’ is short for Benedicta, though that is not her real name… She has been in this small rural community for the past seven years following a family tragedy. Here she has made friends. Leah, her secretary/office manager, Maeve her best friend who works as a veterinarian, Phyllis, who runs the bookshop, and of course Tom Molloy, a local Garda. Ben lives just out of Malin town in a cottage which she shares with her black tomcat whose name, fittingly, is Guinness. The reader is made aware that before she came to this small place, she worked in a large law firm in Dublin – and that she suffered a personal tragedy. Even after all this time she feels like an outsider, as the village is peopled with folk who have lived there for generations.One evening, just as Ben is preparing to leave her office for the day, a woman named Marguerite Etienne comes to her to ask to have a will drawn up. In a hurry, Ben fobs her off and tells her that she will see to it the following day. But the following day, Marguerite’s body is found on the beach.
Ben is then riddled with guilt that she did not take the time to do what Marguerite had asked her. As time goes on, despite the fact that the local Gardai have deemed Marguerite’s death a suicide, Ben is convinced that Marguerite was murdered.Without consulting with Molloy, she begins doing what she does best…. snooping around…
Having read the first novel in this series back in 2018, I’m ashamed to say that it has taken me three years to get to the second one. After reading “Treacherous Strand” I realized that I shouldn’t have waited so long. I blame my lengthy TBR.
With themes of infidelity, bloodlines, redemption, and doomsday cults, this novel will keep you interested and the flow of the narrative is smooth. The setting is atmospheric, and the characters likeable.
My only personal quibbles with the story are 1) Ben should have known better than to put herself in some of the circumstances she found herself in; and 2) I’m not comfortable with reading about cults.
The author is a solicitor herself, so that part of the narrative is knowledgeable and convincing. Not gritty by any means, yet somehow more serious than a ‘cozy’. The frisson of romantic tension between Ben and policeman/Guard Tom Molloy only slightly impact the story, but in a good way.
I can see how Ben’s ‘nosiness‘ coupled with her line of work and her romantic interest in the town’s policeman will engender many more interesting stories for this series. It is a series I intend to follow when time permits and I have just purchased the third novel “The Well of Ice” which I am greatly anticipating. Recommended. ♣
I received a complimentary digital copy of this novel from Oceanview Publishing via Edelweiss – at my request, for my own reading enjoyment and the writing of this review.
Andrea Carter graduated in law from Trinity College, Dublin. She qualified as a solicitor and moved to the Inishowen Peninsula in Co. Donegal where she lived and worked for a number of years. In 2005 she transferred to the Bar and moved to Dublin to practise as a barrister. She grew up in Ballyfin, Co. Laois.
Follow Andrea Carter on Twitter @andysaibhcarter