Murder in an Irish Village ~ by Carlene O’Connor

So I was just in the mood for something light and this turned up in the Audible Daily Deal – okay – I wasn’t expecting great lit or great crime and after listening to the sample I knew it wouldn’t be either,  but the little summary sounded pretty good and the reading on the sample was great.

Overall the book had more action in it than I expected,  a bit more vulgarity,  and it was also pretty funny in places.   The bare hint of romance didn’t ever detract from this  crime novel but  just in case,  I checked the reviews and romance didn’t seem to be any major part of it and the reviewers seemed quite positive about the narrator,  so … whoosh… click and downloaded.

The story is set in a small town in contemporary Kilbane, Ireland where Siobhan O’Sullivan is running her family’s business called Naomi’s Bistro.  For a 22-year old orphan with 5 younger siblings to raise, thanks to a car wreck killing their parents,  that’s quite a job.    It’s an even bigger job when a man,  Nialle Murphy, whose brother is suspected of drunkenly killing the O’Sullivan parents,  is found murdered in Naomi’s  – stabbed with some pink advertising scissors from a local beauty salon.  These scissors were given away to people all over town.

Murder in an Irish Village
by Carlene O’Connor
2016 / 304 pages
read by Caroline Lennon 10h 3m
rating:   B+ / cozy crime

The eldest sibling,  James,  is widely suspected of being the murderer.  Well, that’s a bit much for Siobhan because although James might be a drunk,  “He’s not a murderer!”

But it looks very bad on James who has no alibi due to being in a drunken blackout at the time.  And then there’s the blood on his shirt.  So begins the amateur detection career  of Siobhan O’Sullivan, surreptitiously, of course.

The lead character,  Siobhan,  is great – she’s fierce, intelligent, loyal and funny.  Although the tale is not told in first person,  it’s definitely from her point of view and we’re privy to her thoughts and feelings.  She’s quite tenacious,  but sometimes her tongue starts up prior to thinking.

Macdara Flannery, the top cop involved, is brusk and smart and protective of the young family of orphans,   but he’s also attracted to Sioban who confides in him and tries to get information in return.

There are plenty of nicely drawn suspects – there’s Sheila the beauty shop owner for one,  whose advertising scissors were used,  her husband with whom there is some strife,   and there’s an American stranger in town.   Actually,  almost everyone in town including John Butler, the undertaker,  is a suspect because Nialle was not a nice guy and he was likely involved in something seriously illegal – he’s been needing a lot of money.

The tension building is well done and includes a riveting final scene or two which kept me listening – all ears.  I also appreciated that it takes place in present-day because the technology from smart-phones with video and the internet is vital.  It really made the whole thing  seem much more realistic to my life.

Finally,  the narrator is perfect – accent and speed and character differentiation and suspense or humor where needed.  I think I might go look and see what else she’s read.

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