Scandal in Skibbereen
(A County Cork Mystery)
2nd in Series
A Berkley Prime Crime Mystery
The Berkley Publishing Group (February 4, 2014)
Published by The Penguin Group
Cover Illustration By Daniel Craig
Cover Design By Judith Lagerman
Mass Market Paperback: 304 pages
E-Book File Size: 1280 KB
In this second installment of the County Cork Mysteries Bostonian Maura is beginning to feel settled in her new Irish home and as owner of an Irish Pub. She is anxious to see what kind of business she will have a the summer tourist season begins.
Althea Melville arrives from the U.S. but she is not on a pleasure trip. She is on a mission to find a rare painting and she believes she may find it in County Cork, not far away from Maura’s pub. Althea is not use to Irish traditions and comes across as “a bull in a China shop” as she tries to get Maura and others to help her find the painting. When a gardener is found dead outside of a local manor house Maura starts to question Althea’s motives and thinks there is much more to her story than just local for a piece of art.
Finding out I have a bit of Irish heritage myself makes me love these mysteries.
Connolly has created some wonderful characters. Maura is still finding her way in her new surroundings but she has something every barkeep needs, the gift of gab. She is friendly and outgoing and really strives to get to know the people around her. Her relationship with Billy reminds me of myself so much. When my parents owned a tavern there was always a group of elders there each day to play cards and share old stories and new. I could sit and listen to them for hours and they taught me how to win at cards too.
I also love the recurring characters and the way Maura’s relationships with all of them are evolving. Especially the relationship she has with Garda Officer Sean Murphy.
The new character that captured my heart was Eveline Townsend, the owner of Mycroft House. This is a woman that is aging gracefully living in a Manor House with only 2 other people and a nephew that helps to pay the bills and visits on a rare occasion, like when one of the employees has been murdered. This woman is much more alert and has a better memory than anyone thought and she knew many secrets that gave this story a few twists and turns.
The mystery of the lost painting and the murder were very well plotted. The location was sublime. I have been told Spring and Summer are the best times to visit Ireland. You can tell the author loves her setting and has researched it thoroughly. Her love for the Irish countryside just glows throughout the story.
Sheila Connolly has taught art history, structured and marketed municipal bonds for major cities, worked as a staff member on two statewide political campaigns, and served as a fundraiser for several non-profit organizations. She also managed her own consulting company providing genealogical research services. Now a full-time writer, she thinks writing mysteries is a lot more fun than any of her previous occupations.
She is a member of Sisters in Crime-New England (president 2011), the national Sisters in Crime, and the fabulous on-line SinC chapter, the Guppies. She also belongs to Romance Writers of America and Mystery Writers of America.
Sheila is Regent of her local DAR chapter, and a member of the Society of Mayflower Descendants. She’s also the grandchild of Irish immigrants (in case you’re worried that she’s a snob). In addition to genealogy, Sheila loves restoring old houses, visiting cemeteries, and traveling. She is married, and has one daughter and two cats.
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. Receiving a complimentary copy in no way reflected my review of this book. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”