This novel, the third 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 ??? 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. In “The Well Of Ice” a man from Ben’s past threatens her comfort and security in Inishowen – the place that has been her refuge, her sanctuary, and her home. Also, the town of Glendara has been wounded by the loss of their local pub by arson. When Ben and Molloy discover a body on their walk, it seems that Glendara is plagued by trouble.
“I couldn’t face the possibility of seeing Luke Kirby’s face every day. If he didn’t leave, then I would have to.”
Having read the first two novels in this series I was more than happy to meet up with Ben O’Keefe again for another small town mystery. I saved this one to read during the holiday season as the book is set in December.
The aspects that I like most about this mystery series are: Ben herself who makes for an interesting and credible protagonist; Ben’s lovely friends Maeve and Phyllis who make for an excellent support system; and of course, Guinness, who is a wonderful feline sidekick. Plus, I enjoyed reading of Ben’s evolving relationship with the local Garda sergeant.
Because the protagonist is a small town local solicitor, the locals seem to think they can tell her things that they wouldn’t ordinarily share with anyone. This serves Ben well in that she is very nosy, and also she can find out things that will help Molloy in his police work. Molloy is frustrated that they won’t come to him – they view him as unapproachable.
“People tell me stuff. Maybe it’s because I’m a solicitor.” “I wish they’d tell me stuff”.
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 book speaks to feelings of guilt and remorse, the long-lasting effects of childhood trauma, and the importance of friends and family.
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 the fourth novel “Murder at Greysbridge” loaded on my Kindle. Recommended. ♣
I purchased “The Well of Ice” for my own reading enjoyment and the writing of this review. The novel was published on November 10, 2020 by Oceanview Publishing.
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