Murder at an Irish Christmas by Carlene O’Connor Murder at an Irish Christmas by Carlene O'Connor
Narrator: Caroline Lennon
Series: Irish Village Mystery #6
Published by Dreamscape Media on October 27, 2020
Source: Purchased
Genres: Mystery
Length: 9 hrs 19 mins
Pages: 304
Format: Audiobook
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three-stars

The O'Sullivan clan of County Cork, Ireland, are back to investigate another case of murder--this time at Christmas!

Garda Siobhán O'Sullivan's holiday plans hit a sour note when murder rearranges the yuletide carols into unexpected eulogies..

This December in Kilbane, if you’re planning to warm up with a cuppa tea at Naomi’s Bistro, you may have a bit of a wait - the entire O’Sullivan brood has gone off to West Cork to spend the holidays with brother James’s fiancée Elise’s family, including her grandfather, the famous orchestral conductor Enda Elliot. Siobhán is so happy for James and Elise, but she’s also quietly disappointed that she must put her own wedding to fellow garda Macdara Flannery on hold. Mac will have to join them later, so he can spend part of the holidays with his mam.

When the O’Sullivans learn everyone will choose a name from a hat to buy a music-related Christmas gift for someone else at the gathering, it seems like their greatest concern - until the cantankerous conductor is discovered crushed under a 90-pound harp in a local concert hall.

With the extended family - including Enda’s much-younger new wife Leah, a virtuoso violinist - suspected in his murder, it's up to Siobhán to ensure the guilty party faces the music. But as a snowstorm strands both families in a lavish farmhouse on a cliff, Siobhán had better pick up the tempo before the killer orchestrates another untimely demise...

Murder at an Irish Christmas is the 6th installment in the Irish Village Mystery series, but the first I’ve read. It worked fine as a stand alone. I felt like I got to know the characters well and was given enough of the backstory but not too much.

Siobhán and her family are spening Christmas with the family of James’ fiancé, Elise. Siobhán is a bit apprehensive about her brother’s engagement, but is still looking forward to a peaceful Christmas with all of them together. Of course, that’s before the murder is discovered. Elise’s grandfather, Enda Elliott, renowned conductor is found dead. His body is on the floor of the old mill, the very place where the village is panning on hosting a Christmas concert that Enda was to conduct.

There are suspects galore, although for some reason the local garda is just focussed on one, Theodore Baskins, the village’s bad boy. Siobhán thinks there’s more to it and Enda’s family and friends needs looked at closer. After all, they are the ones with potential motives, ranging from money to jealousy. Everyone’s secrets are slowly revealed, including Enda’s.

Siobhán is a garda, although this is not her turf. I guess that makes it technically a cozy, but it sure feels like one. I liked Siobhán. She’s kind but persistent. She’s tough too, she has to be to be a garda and be raising her siblings after their parents’ death. Her fiance and fellow officer, Macdara Flannery, is a good partner for her. He accepts who she is and as a couple they make me smile. I didn’t quite get James and Elise’s relationship. They don’t seem to fit together well.  

Overall, the mystery was well-plotted and the clues were there if well hidden by the red herrings and people telling half-truths. I didn’t guess the killer, although I should have. The characters are, for the most part, likable. I enjoyed the Christmas details, the songs, scavenging for tree decorations “from nature,” trying to buy gifts in secret, even a not so great Secret Santa exchange.

I’m not sure I cared about Siobhán and her family enough to read the rest of the series, but this was a good seasonal read.

About Carlene O’Connor

Carlene O’Connor comes from a long line of Irish storytellers. Her great-grandmother emigrated from Ireland to America filled with tales and the stories have been flowing ever since. Of all the places across the pond she’s wandered, she fell most in love with a walled town in County Limerick and was inspired to create the town of Kilbane, County Cork. Carlene currently divides her time between New York and the Emerald Isle.

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