When Irish Eyes Aren’t Smiling

Irish countryside
Source: lostajy, Flickr

Ahhh, Ireland.  A country of rich literary tradition—JoyceYeats,Oscar Wilde and Seamus Heaney. Any visitor remembers beautiful rolling hills, foamy Guinness and the legends of the wee folk. But maybe, just maybe, not all the "wee" folk are happy and some of those hills have bodies buried under them! Celebrate St. Patrick's Day by reading a few crime novels set in the Emerald Isle—just to prove not all the snakes have left:

Broken Harbor by Tana French: A family living in an isolated housing division by the sea is attacked. Mick "Scorcher" Kennedy tries to unravel the tragedy while battling his own childhood demons. The latest in French's series about the Dublin Murder Squad, these page-turners can be enjoyed either as standalones or in sequence, beginning with In the Woods.

Vengeance by Benjamin Black: Why would a rich, successful  businessman go sailing with his partner's son, only to shoot himself? Quirke, a boozy and prickly corner, helps investigate the suicide of Victor Delahaye, a crime that dominoes into murder and intrigue. The author is a pen name for Booker Prize-winner John Banville, and his skilled writing creates a glimpse of 1950s Ireland and a leisurely mystery. The first in the series is Christine Falls.

The Book of Killowen by Erin Hart. Pathologist Nora Gavin and archeologist Cormac Maguire investigate an ancient body found in the trunk of a car on top of a recent corpse. Readers interested in Irish folklore will enjoy this blend of mystery and history. This series also discusses Nora's investigation into her sister's death and her relationship with Cormac, so readers wanting to avoid spoilers might want to start with Haunted Ground.

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