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Debbie Wiley | Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

March 15, 2019

Senior Reviewer Debbie Wiley has some great book recommendations for the luckiest day of the year! 

St. Patrick’s Day is only a few days away and what better way to celebrate the magic of Ireland than through books! I had the good fortune to visit Ireland several years ago and St. Patrick’s Day brings back those joyous memories. So, let’s dive into the books as the allure of Ireland awaits us.

Carlene O’Connor’s biography indicates she spends time regularly in Ireland and her love for the country shows in her Irish Village series. The first book, MURDER IN AN IRISH VILLAGE, introduces us to Kilbane in County Cork where we are immediately immersed into the life of a small Irish village. I love how Carlene O’Connor incorporates the inflections of speech as it makes me feel as if I’m sitting in the family-owned bistro in Ireland right along with the rest of the O’Sullivan clan. Carlene O’Connor’s sixth book in the series, MURDER IN AN IRISH PUB, delves more into the work of the Garda in a small village and is a real treat for readers. I love the direction this cozy mystery series is taking and recommend the Irish Village series to readers. I’m also looking forward to Carlene O’Connor’s new series, Galway Ireland that starts with MURDER IN GALWAY.

Santa Montefiore writes richly detailed historical dramas that draw you in and make you never want to leave her world. SECRETS OF THE LIGHTHOUSE is perhaps my favorite of hers, as she captures the hauntingly beautiful mystery of Ireland. From the haunted lighthouse to the welcoming Pot of Gold pub, to the long walks Ellen takes along the countryside, SECRETS OF THE LIGHTHOUSE is a vibrant and compelling read. The Deverill Chronicles features three books, THE GIRL IN THE CASTLE, THE DAUGHTERS OF IRELAND, and THE SECRET OF THE IRISH CASTLE and follows several intertwined families and how the past always haunts the present. The series is more of a family saga, but Santa Montefiore incorporates a lot of Irish history into the storyline and it’s fascinating and sometimes horrifying, to see the impact the Troubles had on the lives of both the wealthy and the poor.

I’ve only read one book in Sheila Connolly’s County Cork series so far, but the first book, BURIED IN A BOG, has me captivated. Sheila Connolly’s descriptions of Ireland through the eyes of a young woman visiting her grandmother’s homeland grabbed hold of me from the first page. I love Maura Donovan’s observations about the land and the importance it has to the Irish people. And oh, her trip to see the Druid’s Altar of Drombeg makes me long to visit Ireland again to see it for myself! I’m excited that there are seven books in the County Cork series, including a recent release called THE LOST TRAVELLER. I’m definitely going to be reading more of this series to further visit Ireland!

No article about books set in Ireland would be complete without mentioning Tana French. She has six books in her Dublin Murder Squad series and they are nothing short of brilliant! Whether it’s dealing with the dangerous gossipy world of a private girls’ school, such as in THE SECRET PLACE, or the gender discrimination faced by a female detective, such as in THE TRESPASSER, Tana French draws the reader into her twists and turns as the detectives work hard to solve the murders. Even if you don’t like literary fiction as a general rule, you’re almost guaranteed to enjoy her eloquently written detective novels.

If you prefer books featuring Irish food, how about IRISH STEWED by Kylie Logan? It’s part of her Ethnic Eats series and is a fun cozy mystery. Or maybe you’d rather read a book focused more on St. Patrick’s Day and if so, you’ll be amazed how green beer can be a killer in A CATERED ST. PATRICK’S DAY by Isis Crawford. Whatever you decide to read, I hope you enjoy this St. Patrick’s Day!

Some other books set in Ireland:

The Wild Irish Sea by Loucinda McGary

The Wild Irish by Robin Maxwell

Of Irish Blood by Mary Pat Kelly

The Irishman’s Daughter by V.S. Alexander

An Irish Country Cottage by Patrick Taylor

The Wonder by Emma Donaghue

The Irish Princess by Karen Harper

Gracelin O’Malley by Ann Moore

The Princes of Ireland by Edward Rutherfurd

Chestnut Street by Maeve Binchy

Born in Fire by Nora Roberts

Born in Ice by Nora Roberts

Born in Shame by Nora Roberts

Darkfever by Karen Marie Moning



An Irish Village Mystery #1

Murder in an Irish Village

A little slice of Heaven on the Emerald Isle…

In the small village of Kilbane, County Cork, Ireland, Naomi’s Bistro has always been a warm and welcoming spot to visit with neighbors, enjoy some brown bread and tea, and get the local gossip. Nowadays twenty-two-year-old Siobhán O’Sullivan runs the family bistro named for her mother, along with her five siblings, after the death of their parents in a car crash almost a year ago.

It’s been a rough year for the O’Sullivans, but it’s about to get rougher. One morning, as they’re opening the bistro, they discover a man seated at a table, dressed in a suit as if for his own funeral, a pair of hot pink barber scissors protruding from his chest.

With the local garda suspecting the O’Sullivans, and their business in danger of being shunned—murder tends to spoil the appetite—it’s up to feisty redheaded Siobhán to solve the crime and save her beloved brood.

Mystery Cozy [Kensington, On Sale: January 31, 2017, Mass Market Paperback / e-Book (reprint), ISBN: 9781617738463 / eISBN: 9781617738456]



Secrets Of The Lighthouse

Set in Ireland on the wild coast of Connemara, this hauntingly romantic novel tells the story of a young woman who goes in search of her family’s past and ends up discovering her future.

Ellen Trawton is running away from it all. She hates her job, she doesn’t love the aristocratic man to whom she is engaged, and her relationship with her controlling mother is becoming increasingly strained. So Ellen leaves London, fleeing to the one place she knows her mother won’t find her, her aunt’s cottage in Connemara. Cutting all her ties with chic London society, Ellen gives in to Ireland’s charm and warmth, thinking her future may lie where so much of her past has been hidden. Her imagination is soon captured by the compelling ruins of a lighthouse where, five years earlier, a young mother died in a fire.

The ghost of the young wife, Caitlin, haunts the nearby castle, mourning the future she can never have there. Unable to move on, she watches her husband and children, hoping they might see her and feel her love once more. But she doesn’t anticipate her husband falling in love again. Can she prevent it? Or can she let go and find a way to freedom and happiness?

The ruggedly beautiful Connemara coastline with its tightknit community of unforgettable characters provides the backdrop for this poignant story of two women seeking the peace and love they desperately need. For each, the key will be found in the secrets of the past, illuminated by the lighthouse.

Romance Paranormal [Simon & Schuster, On Sale: August 5, 2014, Hardcover / e-Book, ISBN: 9781476735375 / ]

Hauntingly beautiful story of love, loss, and finding one’s self


BURIED IN A BOG by Sheila Connolly

County Cork Mystery #1

Buried In A Bog

National bestselling and Agatha Award-nominated author Sheila Connolly introduces a brand-new series set in a small village in County Cork, Ireland, where buried secrets are about to rise to the surface…

Honoring the wish of her late grandmother, Maura Donovan visits the small Irish village where her Gran was born—though she never expected to get bogged down in a murder mystery. Nor had she planned to take a job in one of the local pubs, but she finds herself excited to get to know the people who knew her Gran.

In the pub, she’s swamped with drink orders as everyone in town gathers to talk about the recent discovery of a nearly one-hundred year-old body in a nearby bog. When Maura realizes she may know something about the dead man—and that the body’s connected to another, more recent, death—she fears she’s about to become mired in a homicide investigation. After she discovers the death is connected to another from almost a century earlier, Maura has a sinking feeling she may really be getting in over her head…

Mystery | Mystery Cozy [Berkley, On Sale: February 5, 2013, Paperback / e-Book, ISBN: 9780425251898 / eISBN: 9781101619124]

Maura Finds a Mystery and Roots in Ireland

Are two dead bodies enough to make Maura leave Ireland and never look back?



Dublin Murder Squad #5

The Secret Place

The photo on the card shows a boy who was found murdered, a year ago, on the grounds of a girls’ boarding school in the leafy suburbs of Dublin. The caption says: I KNOW WHO KILLED HIM.

Detective Stephen Moran has been waiting for his chance to get a foot in the door of Dublin’s Murder Squad—and one morning, sixteen-year-old Holly Mackey brings him this photo. “The Secret Place,” a board where the girls at St. Kilda’s School can pin up their secrets anonymously, is normally a mishmash of gossip and covert cruelty, but today someone has used it to reignite the stalled investigation into the murder of handsome, popular Chris Harper. Stephen joins forces with the abrasive Detective Antoinette Conway to find out who and why.

But everything they discover leads them back to Holly’s close-knit group of friends and their fierce enemies, a rival clique—and to the tangled web of relationships that bound all the girls to Chris Harper. Every step in their direction turns up the pressure. Antoinette Conway is already suspicious of Stephen’s links to the Mackey family. St. Kilda’s will go a long way to keep murder outside their walls. Holly’s father, Detective Frank Mackey, is circling, ready to pounce if any of the new evidence points toward his daughter. And the private underworld of teenage girls can be more mysterious and more dangerous than either of the detectives imagined.

The Secret Place is a powerful, haunting exploration of friendship and loyalty, and a gripping addition to the Dublin Murder Squad series.

Mystery | Thriller | Mystery Police Procedural [Viking, On Sale: September 2, 2014, Hardcover / e-Book, ISBN: 9780670026326 / eISBN: 9780698170285]

Another stellar book from Tana French!


IRISH STEWED by Kylie Logan

Ethnic Eats

Irish Stewed

The national bestselling author of the League of Literary Ladies Mysteries introduces an all-new cozy culinary mystery series featuring ethnic eats.

After flopping as a personal chef to a Hollywood movie star, jobless Laurel Inwood finds herself humbled in Hubbard, Ohio, helping her aunt Sophie run her restaurant. Much to Laurel’s dismay, Sophie’s Terminal at the Tracks is not the cozy bistro her aunt would have had her believe—it’s a run-down greasy spoon in an old railroad station. To save the dingy diner, Laurel cooks up a plan to feature alternating ethnic cuisine as specials.

But first there’s the problem of the body in the booth. Slumped over a table with a receipt spike in his back is Jack Lancer—”the Lance of Justice”—an investigative reporter for local TV news. Assisted by the drop-dead gorgeous owner of the neighboring Irish store—who may or may not be a suspect—Laurel sets out to track down a killer who had no reservations about impaling a newshound. But as she turns up the heat, will she end up in the soup herself?


Mystery Cozy | Mystery Culinary [Berkley Prime Crime, On Sale: May 3, 2016, Paperback / e-Book, ISBN: 9780425274880 / eISBN: 9780698159204]

Tasty start to a new cozy mystery series!



A Mystery with Recipes #8

A Catered St. Patrick's Day

Catering sisters Bernie and Libby Simmons wade into a Celtic knot of malice and mayhem when a St. Patrick’s Day celebration goes terribly wrong, in this eighth installment of Crawford’s cozy series.

Gastronomical dream team Bernie and Libby Simmons wade into a Celtic knot of malice and mayhem when a St. Patrick’s celebration goes terribly wrong…

To most of the people of little Longley, New York, St. Paddy’s Day means good food, great music, and plenty of Guinness. But when the lifeless body of Mike Sweeney floats to the top of a vat of green beer, it looks like the luck o’ the Irish has just run out.

Unfortunately for the Simmons sisters, the number one suspect is related to one of their best catering customers, the pampered and powerful Bree Nottingham. When Bree visits A Little Taste of Heaven to beseech them to clear her nephew’s name, they just can’t say no.

But the more information Bernie and Libby stir up, the more Duncan Nottingham looks like a killer. Known for his hot temper and love of the drink, Duncan and the deceased were both part of the Corned Beef and Cabbage Club, a group with more buried history than the Emerald Isle. And each member- especially Duncan- had a motive to sing Sweeney his last Irish lullaby. A motive they don’t want anyone revealing.

For Bernie and Libby, the situation is deadly and in danger of boiling over. And they can’t count on good old Saint Pat to drive out the snake in their midst…they’ll have to do it themselves, before a murderer strikes again.

Mystery Cozy [Kensington, On Sale: February 1, 2012, Hardcover / e-Book, ISBN: 9780758247407 / ]

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