Bostonian Maura Donovan is determined to honor her recently deceased grandmother’s wishes and visit the small Irish village of Leap in County Cork where Gran was born. But she gets more than a tourist’s introduction to Ireland, with friendly Irish people who may or may not be related to her grandmother, an Irish pub that could have been lifted from the nineteenth century, a job offer at that same pub, and unfortunately, death, possibly murder, in the sleepy Irish village where Maura just wanted to visit and lay to rest her grandmother’s memory.
Sheila Connolly has written two other mystery series: the Orchard Mysteries, set in western Massachusetts, and the Museum Mysteries, which take place in and among the museums of Philadelphia. Buried in a Bog, published in February 2013, is the beginning of a new series, called the County Cork Mysteries. Ms. Connolly has done her research, so anyone who’s interested in Ireland, its history and contemporary culture, would probably enjoy Buried in a Bog and its sequels when they come out.
I found the protagonist, Maura, a little sharp and prickly and prone to jump to conclusions. She’s trying to be an independent woman and prove that she can take care of herself, but the attitude feels unnecessarily confrontational in contrast to the ore easy-going Irishmen and women she meets in Leap. Maybe it’s an “ugly AMerican ” thing. I did like the fact that Maura is from the lower middle class in Boston. She doesn’t take her financial situation for granted; she worries about money enough to pay for basics, food and clothes and a place to live. I found this refreshingly realistic in contrast to most amateur gumshoes in books and on TV who seem to be able to finance most any journey or whim without any visible means of support. Or else they’re independently wealthy. Maura is able to go to Ireland because of a small sum of money that her grandmother saved for that purpose, and when she gets there she is careful with her funds and aware of the necessity of making plans for her future self-support.
Anyway, it’s a good story, and the series promises to be a hit for fans of everything Irish.