The Trust ~ by Robert Balson

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.

I’ve read one prior Liam Taggart novel,  Saving Sophie,  and I enjoyed that one quite a lot.



The Trust
by Robert Balson
2017 / 368 pages
read by Fred Berman
rating:   A++

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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Citizens of the Lower Falls:

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4 Responses to The Trust ~ by Robert Balson

  1. Lisa Hill says:

    This post has made me realise… I don’t think I’ve ever read a novel from or about Northern Ireland.


    • Lisa Hill says:

      PS I’m hunting at the page for writers from NI at Wikipedia, and it says that Flann O’Brien (who I have read) was from Northern Ireland. But his own WP page, although it says he was born there, in County Tyrone, says his parental home was in Blackrock (not in NI) and he seems to have been educated in Dublin and worked there until he died. So I don’t know!


      • I’ve not seen or read many novels set in Northern Ireland, either. This one definitely is. The detecive series of Adrian McKinty are set in Belfast, but the time of Troubles rarely comes up – I’ve only read one but from what I gather the books are mostly just pretty violent urban crime – almost formula.

        At this point their authors might just say UK or Britain instead of Northern Ireland. (sigh) How many authors are going to take the side of the distinctly minority Catholics there and who else would write it? –


      • Lisa Hill says:

        The list at Wikipedia is quite long, but it would take forever to investigate the authors’ to find out which books are worth reading. I might try hunting at Goodreads, though a part of me (the part that favours a united Ireland) wants to just call ’em all Irish and be done with it.

        Liked by 1 person

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