Ben O’Keeffe is about to finish a six-month stint working in a legal practice in Florida and is looking forward to getting back to her own practice in Inishowen. She’s also looking forward to seeing Sergeant Tom Molloy again. Molloy had proposed marriage just before Ben left for the States and as yet she hasn’t given him a yay or nay.
Donegal, and in particular the Inishowen Peninsula, is deluged shortly after her return, suffering the worst rainstorms in recorded history and the village of Glendara is completely cut off, as the surrounding roads and bridges either collapse or become impassable. When a body falls from a height onto the local vet’s car, suspicions immediately centre on a charity cycling crowd that arrived in Glendara just as the storm hit and are now unable to leave because of worsening weather conditions. The deceased in this case is the charity organizer responsible for the cycling event, Bob Jameson, and the more Ben digs into Jameson’s past the murkier this guy looks. Curiously, he seems to have died from a snakebite. But there’s been nary a snake in Donegal since St Patrick showed them the door…
This is Andrea Carter’s fifth murder mystery featuring Ben O’Keeffe. Three of her previous four novels have been optioned for TV and she has a large, steady following. What sets her apart from a lot of other crime writers is firstly, she spares the reader the gore-slash details (mercifully) and secondly, she writes with such an acute sense of place. Whether it’s the suffocating humidity of the Miami sun or the wild, wet and windy hills of Donegal, she completely immerses the reader in location, a trick not anything like as easy as she makes it look. A solid, convincing cast and a murder case that the reader can’t guess at makes this another well-deserved winner for Carter.