I just finished reading Murder in an Irish Village the first book in the next series that I am highlighting as one of my posts about the most popular and recommended Cozy Mystery series. This book, written by Carlene O’Connor, follows Siobhán O’Sullivan, the young (she is in her early twenties) and beautiful heroine sleuth. Siobhán (pronounced Shi-vahn according to the very useful “Pronunciations and Glossary” provided at the beginning of the book), has been the adult guidance for the rest of the O’Sullivan six — her brothers and sisters — since her parents’ untimely death in a car accident that happened a year before the story begins. Her brother James is older but for various reasons is not the guardian of his and Siobhán’s younger siblings.
The story is set in the small Irish village of Kilbane, County Cork. The O’Sullivan clan runs a small bistro that is open for breakfast and lunch. Siobhán has given up (at least temporarily) her dream of moving to Dublin to pursue her higher education because somebody needs to take care of her younger siblings.
Soon after the story begins, there is a body found in the bistro. James is quickly determined to be the main suspect, and the sleuthing begins with Siobhán following every lead in her attempt to discover the murderer and clear her family’s name.
If ever there were a cozy setting for a mystery series, the small village of Kilbane is it. This is a truly small town. Everybody knows everybody else and has done so all their lives. But, as Siobhán discovers in the course of her sleuthing, despite having known just about everyone in the town for her whole life, almost all of them harbor a secret or two that may or may not be relevant to discovering who the real killer is.
In the story, Siobhán is romantically pursued by two handsome young men. One is the local policeman (garda), and the other is a mysterious stranger from America. This element of the book is treated rather lightly — the romance is more potential than real and it never dominates the storyline (which I, at least, appreciated).
Our intrepid sleuth finds herself in quite a few difficult situations since she insists on turning over every rock in the village and discovers so many secrets her fellow townspeople have been keeping. Some of these situations are quite funny — when she is investigating the local undertaker, for example, there is a scene where I just had to laugh out loud.
I really liked Murder in an Irish Village and I can’t recommend it highly enough if you are looking for a modern Cozy set in a picturesque location with a real page-turning and satisfying mystery and with some very likable characters.
I have to warn you all, however, that the book contains a bit of strong language and some (non-graphic) adult situations.