Yesterday, I was thinking St. Patrick's Day and that, of course, led me to Irish mysteries. What would I suggest for a suitable (or unsuitable) tribute to the snake driver?
First, there's Christine Falls, Benjamin Black's '50s era Dublin noir featuring Quirke, a larger -than-life pathologist out to discover how the eponymous woman met her death and what happened to her child. Things get murkier for Quirke as he indulges too much at his favorite pub and endures pressure from within his family and from without. A great read whether you like mysteries or not. Upcoming is The Silver Swan, a sequel also featuring Quirke.
Some of my favorite Ireland-centric mysteries are the series about Chief Inspector Peter McGarr, written by Bartholomew Gill. Through the years Gill has given us a continually well- written series, including Death in Dublin, The Death of an Irish Tradition, The Death of an Irish Lass, The Death of an Irish Consul and The Death of an Irish Lover, to name a few. You don't see these books around much, but they are still in print and that's a blessing.
For historical mysteries, I don't have to go any further than Peter Tremayne whose 7th century tales of Sister Fidelma has been delighting readers for a decade. In the latest entry, A Prayer for the Damned, Fidelma of Cashel and Eadulf are preparing for their upcoming nuptials when a murder of a fanatical abbott puts the on one of the wedding guests.
And, of course, you can't get more Irish than Ken Bruen's Priest in which Father Joyce is decapitated in the confessional of a Galway church. And we can expect more Galway mayhem come March with Cross, which brings protagonist Jack Taylor face-to-face with another horrific case.
And while you're at it take a look at Dublin Noir: The Celtic Tiger vs. the Ugly American, in which Ken Bruen edits works set in Dublin by authors Eoin Colfer, Jason Starr, Laura Lippman, Olen Steinhauer, Peter Spiegelman, kevin Wignall, Jim Fusilli, Charlie Stella, Ray Banks and others. It's sort of a hands-across-the-Irish-Sea collection of short stories all set in the city of sweet Molly Malone.
Writers I'd like to see back in print: Gemma O'Connor, who's mystery novels Following the Wake and Walking on Water, are nowhere to be found.