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Posts Tagged ‘Ben O’Keeffe’

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Description:

December in Glendara, Inishowen, and solicitor Benedicta ‘Ben’ O’Keeffe is working flat-out before the holidays; the one bright spot on her horizon is spending her first Christmas with Sergeant Tom Molloy.

But on a trip to Dublin to visit her parents, she bumps into Luke Kirby – the man who killed her sister – freshly released from jail. He apologises to her; remorseful, conciliatory … but as she walks away, he whispers something that chills her to the bone.

Back in Glendara, there is chaos. The Oak pub has burned down and Carole Kearney, the Oak’s barmaid, has gone missing. And then on Christmas morning, while walking up Sliabh Sneacht, Ben and Molloy make a gruesome discovery: a body lying face-down in the snow … Soon it becomes clear that these events are part of a plan for revenge that will have devastating consequences for Glendara’s residents.

 

My Thoughts & Review:

The Inishown Mysteries series has been one I’ve followed for a wee while now, and have to admit that I’ve taken a shine to Ben O’Keeffe.  She is a warm and compassionate character who seems to attract trouble regardless of her good intentions.  In this instalment of the Inishowen Mysteries, Ben has found some happiness.  A blossoming relationship with Sergeant Tom Molloy has her beaming with happiness and the promise of time off over the Christmas period is another reason so smile.

Ben’s past is something that is interwoven throughout the series, and the aftermath of her sister’s death has shaped the person she has become.  So when she hears that Luke Kirby, her sister’s killer has been released from prison she is understandably shocked.  Even with logic and legal experience, her gut feelings of being close to the victim mean she cannot comprehend his release from prison.  A chance meeting with him in Dublin throws her, he approaches her with an apology, shows remorse and almost pulls of a genuine act until his mask slips and he shows his true menace, but only Ben witnessed it.

As if the threat of Luke Kirby isn’t enough to keep Ben occupied, there is also the daily business of her legal practise to tie up before the Christmas break, various property sales and court appearances taking up her time.  But the local residents of Glendara have plenty to keep Ben from becoming bored, scandal is afoot when the local pub is burned down and the barmaid goes missing.  Is there a connection between these events? What is the connection to the body discovered upon up Sliabh Sneacht?  Ben’s relationship with Sergeant Molloy gives her a chance to puzzle over the cases, but instead of her getting information from him, she is the one feeding him titbits of information from the locals.

As with the previous books, Andrea Carter really spoils readers with some wonderfully vivid descriptions of the picturesque settings and atmospheric writing.
I would say that this book verges more towards cosy crime, slowly building up the pace and tension, hinting that something more sinister may be up ahead but never actually turning nasty.

On the whole an enjoyable read that brings the series a little more up to date and leaves me wanting to know what the future holds for Ben.

You can buy a copy of The Well of Ice via:

Amazon UK

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Published: 4 April 2017

Description:

A woman’s body washes up on a remote beach on the Inishowen peninsula. Partially-clothed, with a strange tattoo on her thigh, she is identified as Marguerite Etienne, a French woman who has been living in the area.

Solicitor Benedicta ‘Ben’ O’Keeffe is consumed by guilt; Marguerite was her client, and for the second time in her life Ben has failed someone who needed her, with tragic consequences. So when local Sergeant Tom Molloy dismisses Marguerite’s death as the suicide of a disturbed and lonely woman, Ben cannot let it lie.

Ben uncovers Marguerite’s strange past as a member of a French doomsday cult, which she escaped twenty years previously but not without leaving her baby daughter behind. Disturbed by what appears to be chilling local indifference to Marguerite’s death, Ben pieces together the last few weeks of the French woman’s life in Inishowen. What she discovers causes her to question the fragile nature of her own position in the area, and she finds herself crossing boundaries both personal and professional to unearth local secrets long buried.

 

My Thoughts & Review:

When I heard there was a follow up to Andrea Carter’s “Death at Whitewater Church” I was instantly curious, having thoroughly enjoyed the first book of the Inishowen Mystery series I was keen to see if the second instalment would live up to the standard in place and I should never have doubted the author, once again she has penned an amazing novel that grabbed my attention from the first page.

Solicitor Ben O’Keeffe really should have looked into a career as a rally driver, indeed when we first encounter her in this book she is driving at breakneck pace along the coast roads of Inishowen to where a body has washed ashore.  Fearing the worst, Ben wants to find out if it is her client Marguerite Etienne and sadly Ben is able to identify the body as being Marguerite.  The Guards write it off as suicide, especially after hearing from Ben that Marguerite had been to see her to draw up a will, thinking that she was putting her affairs in order before taking her own life.  Ben is not so sure and demands answers.

Ben is a tenacious character, her determination to do the right thing for those she cares about can often lead her into dangerous situations and at times she seems to have a reckless regard for her own safety.  But her kindness and compassion towards others offsets this, always taking the time to speak to the locals in the village she works and lives in, visiting the bookshop to chat with Phyllis (and rehome a few bundles of orphan books – good lass!), and being an integral part of the local community.
The chemistry between Ben and Guard Tom Molloy is wonderfully scripted, as the reader only sees their interactions from Ben’s point of view it’s hard to tell is the gruff and stoic Molloy feels the same way, but you do get a feeling there is ‘something’ between them, but both have their secrets and won’t open up to each other.

The clever way that the plot is woven means there are links and clues that the reader will try to piece together to preempt where the tale is heading (unsuccessfully in my case),  but Andrea Carter masterfully draws it all together with a fantastic conclusion.

As I mentioned, this is the second instalment in the Inishowen Mystery series, and this book is perfectly readable as a standalone, there are hints to previous events and Ben’s past before she settled in Glendara but the author includes enough detail so that you don’t feel you’ve missed out on anything pertinent.  I would however recommend reading the series in order purely for enjoyment if nothing else.  This is a wonderfully atmospheric setting for a crime thriller, the windswept beaches, the jagged coastal settings and the small villages make for a brilliant backdrop and add to the tension that builds throughout the plot.

Now to wait patiently for the third instalment……….

You can buy a copy of “Treacherous Strand” via:

Amazon
The Book Depository
Wordery

My thanks to Helen at Little, Brown Book Group for the opportunity to read and review this book.

 

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