The Trust takes place in about 2016 in the heart of Northern Ireland, but parts of the story go back to the time of “Troubles” of the 1970s when the Catholic Irish wanted to reunite with their kin in the Republic to the South – to gain independence from the UK. So the IRA and its branches are all interwoven with family issues as the Taggarts, who appear to be a very closely knit family and staunch supporters of independence, fight each other as well as those who hate them. This goes back to the Ulster Plantation of around 1606. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Plantation_of_Ulster
I’ve read one prior Liam Taggart novel, Saving Sophie, and I enjoyed that one quite a lot.
by Robert Balson
2017 / 368 pages
read by Fred Berman
Liam Taggart, now a private investigator living with his family in Chicago, is called back “home” to Northern Ireland for the funeral of his Uncle Fergus who died suddenly at his farm. Liam has been a kind of outcast for close to 20 years (since the “troubles”), but when he gets to Ireland he finds that he has been named executor of the will and associated trust. He also finds out that his uncle was murdered – pretty much in cold blood.
Liam is considered an outcast because when he lived there in the 1990s he worked as a CIA operative trying to establish peace, but in doing that he was employed by the forces opposed to the family. Liam firmly feels he did the right thing, but it does not sit well with his uncles. And it looks like the war may not be over for everyone.
Liam doesn’t really want to go but Catherine, his wife, encourages him. The assets of the will include a trust worth quite a lot of money which, like the other parts of the will, cannot be dispersed until his murderer is found and prosecuted. – This means that Fergus knew he was going to be murdered – or at least he suspected it. There are relations which deeply resent Liam’s presence, to say nothing of his authority as executor. He has to continue to deny access to the funds until the murder is solved – and then there is another murder.
Fergus’ beneficiaries include a son, a niece, several brothers, a common-law wife of 40 years and a totally unknown name, Bridget McGregor, to whom money has been sent for many years. There are plenty of suspects. Liam’s father was one of the brothers but his death goes back to the time of Troubles. And the deceased Uncle Fergus was very secretive about many things. Also, there is a clause in the will which prohibits anyone contesting it under penalty of being removed from the beneficiaries.
Liam’s life is probably in danger as he goes about his business investigating with the police who aren’t necessarily trustworthy.
Overall a very suspenseful novel, wonderfully well read by Fred Berman.
Royal Ulster Constabulary (URC)
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