Book Notes Review: Murder at an Irish Chipper by Carlene O’Connor

 

 

Murder at an Irish Chipper
Book #10 in the Irish Village Mystery series
by Carlene O’Connor

Thanks to NetGalley and Kensington Cozies for a free e-copy of the book in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.

Publisher’s Summary

A belated honeymoon turns into a busman’s holiday when gardas Siobhán and Macdara Flannery find themselves investigating a dead body found in a fish and chips shop . . .

Siobhán’s brother Eoin’s new family restaurant, The O’Sullivan Six, is so close to opening—but waiting on the necessary permits plus the heat of July in the village of Kilbane in County Cork is driving everyone a bit mad. Macdara Flannery comes to the rescue with a plan—take a holiday by the sea and stuff themselves with fish and chips to support the struggling business of the aptly named Mrs. Chipper.

But when they arrive, a crowd is gathered in front of the closed shop: a local fisherman with a fresh cod delivery, a food critic, Mrs. Chipper’s ex-husband who’s opening a competing fish and chips shop directly across the street, and a repairman to fix the vent for the deep fryer. With Siobhán and Macdara as witnesses, a local handyman gets the locked door open, only to find the proprietor lying dead and covered in flour at the base of a ladder, its rungs coated in slippery fat. Clearly this was not an accidental tragedy . . .

Even as the local garda take over the murder investigation, Siobhán and Macdara can’t help themselves from placing their long-delayed honeymoon on hold—at least until they can help apprehend an elusive killer.

My Thoughts

It’s always good to return to Kilbane, County Cork, Ireland, and the O’Sullivan clan. This time though, the O’Sullivans are taking a vacation to Lahinch, County Clare, on Liscannor Bay. It’s unbearably hot in Kilbane, so a vacation to a resort town on the water is welcome news. Especially when they are on a mission to save Mrs. Chips, a well-known fish and chips shop, from financial ruin.

Mr. and Mrs. Chips are getting a divorce, and Mr. Chips has opened his own shop across the street. It’s the battle of the chip shops and judging by the crowd in front of Mrs. Chips, and the empty sidewalk in front of Mr. Chips, Mrs. Chips is winning. Except the line shouldn’t be there. Mrs. Chips should be open, but the door is locked. Once the door is forced open, the body of Mrs. Chips is discovered. Garda Siobhán O’Sullivan and her husband, Detective Sargeant Macdara Flannery, find themselves having to secure a crime scene until the local garda, Detective Sergeant Liam Healy arrives. That should be the end of Siobhán’s involvement with the murder, after all she is on holiday with her family. But she can’t help herself, and soon both she and Macdara find themselves on a working holiday as the bodies start to pile up.

Murder at an Irish Chipper is the tenth book in the Irish Village Mystery series. I’ve read all the books in this series, and I was thrilled when I saw there was a new book. The characters are well-written; there’s no getting the O’Sullivan clan confused with each other. Each one is distinctive, and I’ve enjoyed watching them change and grow with each book. I’ve especially enjoyed watching Siobhán grow and change from the first book, Murder in an Irish Village, to this one, Murder at an Irish Chipper. There’s also a lot of humor in the book (and throughout the series), especially in the banter between Siobhán and her siblings, and Siobhán and Macdara. This is a family that deeply loves each other and it’s easy to see in their interactions with each other. These characters are what keep me coming back to this series. I also liked that the setting in this book was in a new location. Macdera and Siobhán are in an unfamiliar town, and everyone is a stranger and a potential suspect. The murderer’s identity wasn’
Murder at an Irish Chipper is a well-written mystery with lively, engaging characters and is a great addition to the Irish Village series.
I’m already looking forward to reading the next book in the series.

Publishing Information

Genre: Mystery/Fiction and Detective/Woman Sleuth/Cozy Mystery
Publisher: Kensington Cozies
Pages: 304
Pub date: 2/20/2024
ISBN: 9781496744449

Book Notes Review: Some of Us Are Looking

Book cover For Some Of Us Are Looking by Carlene O'ConnorSome of Us Are Looking
Book Two  in the County Kerry Series

By Carlene O’Connor

 

Set in Ireland and Irish culture, O’Connor weaves a tight, tense tale of murder and revenge.

Description

In late summer, the Dingle peninsula is thronged with tourists drawn to County Kerry’s dark mountains and deep, lush valleys. For Irish vet Dimpna Wilde, who has returned to run her family’s practice after years away, home is a beautiful but complicated place—especially when it becomes the setting for a brutal murder . . .  

In Dimpna Wilde’s veterinary practice, an imminent meteor shower has elevated the usual gossip to include talk of shooting stars and the watch parties that are planned all over Dingle. But there are also matters nearer at hand to discuss—including the ragtag caravan of young people selling wares by the roadside, and the shocking death of Chris Henderson, an elderly local, in a hit-and-run.

Just hours before his death, Henderson had stormed into the Garda Station, complaining loudly about the caravan’s occupants causing noise and disruption. One of their members is a beautiful young woman named Brigid Sweeney, and Dimpna is shocked when Brigid later turns up at her practice, her clothing splattered in blood and an injured hare tucked into her shirt.

Brigid claims that a mysterious stranger has been trying to obtain a lucky rabbit’s foot. Dimpna is incensed at the thought of anyone mutilating animals, but there is far worse in store. On the night of the meteor shower, Dimpna finds Brigid’s body tied to a tree, her left hand severed. She has bled to death. Wrapped around her wrist is a rabbit’s foot.

Brigid had amassed plenty of admirers, and there were tangled relationships within the group. But perhaps there is something more complex than jealousy at play. The rabbit’s foot, the severed hand, the coinciding meteor shower—the deeper Dimpna and Detective Sargeant Cormac O’Brien investigate, the more ominous the signs seem to be, laced with a warning that Dimpna fears it will prove fatal to overlook.

Some of Us Are Looking-Likes
The characters.
First is Dimpna Wilde. Dimpna is a veterinarian and she’s returned home to take over her ailing father’s practice. Dimpna has had a hard life (the story is in No Strangers Here), but she is well on her way to rebuilding it. Her practice is thriving. She may or may not have a potential relationship in the works with Detective Sargent Cormac O’Brian.

Detective Sargent Cormac O’Brian isn’t sure what to make of his relationship with Dimpna either. There’s an attraction there, he thinks, but he’s not sure. He does know he is attracted to her and really doesn’t want her to find out about his latest indiscretion, one he needs to tell Sargent Barbara Neely about and the sooner the better.

Then there’s Sargent Barbara Neely. Instead of retiring, she transferred to the Tralee Garda Station from Dingle and is now regretting her life choices. Elderly Chris Henderson, on his third visit of the week, barged into her office and announced he caught a pervert. Inspector O’Brian obviously has something he needs to tell her, but Henderson interrupted O’Brian before he had a chance to start, and now she has a circus in her office. All before lunch. She has her hands full at the start of the book, but her life is about to get much more difficult when the murders start.

The Murders
First, Chris Henderson is killed in a hit-and-run and witnesses say he was targeted. Then Dr. Wilde discovers the body of Brigid Sweeny. The beautiful young woman had been in the news and in contact with the police as a member of a caravan. Her death is a gruesome one.
Someone has also vandalized shops in Dingle. They’ve chalked messages across several of the shops referencing a cold case from 1944, in England.
The murders take place against the backdrop of the Perseid meteor shower, giving Dr. Wilde, Sargent Neely, and DS O’Brien an endless pool of suspects and a short time to solve the murders. Once the meteor shower is over, the crowds will disperse all over Ireland, the killer going with them.

I really love the immersion into Irish culture and life.

Dislikes
I didn’t really buy into the gravity of O’Brien’s indiscretion, but that didn’t keep me from enjoying this book.

My Thoughts

If you’re familiar with O’Connor’s writing through her Irish Village cozy mystery series, the County Cork series is not that. Some of Us Are Looking is darker in tone than a cozy; the murders are more brutal and more detail is on the page (but not excessive, just enough to give this reader chills). To me it has more of a traditional mystery/thriller slant, but still has Connor’s distinctive sense of humor and complex characters found in her other books. I fell in love with this series with the first book No Strangers Here, and quickly read this one. Recommended.

Thanks to #NetGalley and #Kensington for providing a copy of #SomeOfUsAreLooking for review.

Publishing Information

Published by: Kensington
Imprint: Kensington
368 Pages, 6.00 x 9.00 in

ISBN: 9781496737557

ON SALE: 10/24/2023

FICTION / MYSTERY & DETECTIVE / INTERNATIONAL MYSTERY & CRIME

Book Notes-Blueberry Blunder

 

Book cover for Blueberry Blunder-spotted pic wearing a yellow hard hat, blueberries in crates and boxes, framed out warehouse in backgroundBlueberry Blunder
Amish Candy Shop Mystery #8

By Amanda Flower

About Blueberry Blunder

Amanda Flower’s USA Today bestselling Amish Candy Shop Mysteries combines a fascinating look at Amish life with the sugar rush of candy making, a quirky whodunit, and a hint of romance between chocolatier Bailey King and her law enforcer boyfriend. This eighth installment raises the charm even more, as filming begins for Bailey’s new reality TV show just in time for a big blueberry festival to jam up the small town of Harvest, Ohio.

Bailey King, star of TV’s Bailey’s Amish Sweets, is building her dream candy factory in Harvest, Ohio. But no sooner is the frame of the new building up than she finds the dead body of a surly contractor who has a long list of enemies—including people in the Amish community. To add to the drama, Bailey is being filmed by a crew for her upcoming show. . .

When Bailey’s TV producer pitched a reality show about building the factory, Bailey was shocked that the network picked it up. She’s not shocked that many of the Amish working on the jobsite refuse to be on camera. However, local community organizer Margot Rawlings is ecstatic—because the filming coincides with Harvest’s First Annual Blueberry Bash. Margot believes the media attention will make Harvest the most popular destination in Holmes County. But now, the county may become known for all the wrong reasons . . .

Bailey will have to sift through a crowd of angry villagers and thousands of blueberries to solve the murder, save her new venture, and protect her Amish friends. At the same time, she and her longtime boyfriend, Aiden Brody, are making big decisions about their future together—a future that may be in jeopardy if Bailey is the next pick on a killer’s list . . .

Thoughts

Aiden has returned to Harvest to hang out his shingle as a private investigator. This time Bailey and Aiden work together to solve the murder of local contractor Wade Farmer. Sheriff Jackson Marshall, whose nasty personality has been hinted at throughout the series, makes his appearance in Blueberry Blunder and his reputation is well-earned. There are multiple suspects with plenty to gain with Farmer’s death. Numerous twists and turns send a reader down multiple paths while trying to solve the case. The murder isn’t the only issue raised in the book.

Bailey’s cousin, Charlotte King, is engaged to be married to Deputy Luke Little. Charlotte was shunned by her family after she left the Amish. Now that her marriage is close, Charlotte wants her family at her wedding, but her father is unmovable. When Charlotte left her ultra-strict order, she also ceased to be a member of the family. Charlotte is still grieving that loss, and the reader begins to understand the cost Charlotte has paid to pursue living life on her terms. We also meet Luke’s parents, and they are a trial unto themselves. From DC, neither understands the choices their son has made-in where he lives, in what he does, or the fact his fiancée is former Amish. In other words, both are marrying outside of their expected social circle and neither set of parents is happy about it.
I enjoyed reading all the books in this series, and Blueberry Blunder was no exception. If you like murder mysteries with humor, well-developed characters in a simple, yet complex setting, and a puzzling mystery, then give this series a try.

Other Books in the Series

Peanut Butter Panic

Lemon Drop Dead by Amanda Flower

Marshmallow Malice by Amanda Flower

Candy Cane Crime by Amanda Flower

Botched Butterscotch by Amanda Flower

Toxic Toffee by Amanda Flower

Premeditated Peppermint by Amanda Flower

Publishing Information

Kensington Books-Blueberry Blunder

336 Pages, 4.12 x 6.75 in

  • ISBN: 9781496734631
  • ON SALE: 05/23/2023
  • FICTION / MYSTERY & DETECTIVE / AMATEUR SLEUTH

Copy provided by the author.

 

Book Notes-Murder At An Irish Bakery

book cover for Murder at an Irish Bakery

Murder At An Irish Bakery
Book Nine in the Irish Village Mystery series

By Carlene O’Connor

Fia O’Ferrell’s family bakery, Pie Pie Love, is in danger of shutting down. Her hope is a week-long baking contest, featuring Ireland’s best bakers. Even famous Irish baker Aoife McBride, not seen since a public meltdown a few months ago, is coming to Kilbane to compete. The competition is also being filmed for television, bringing Pie Pie Love much-needed publicity.
The promise of endless baked goods, specifically desserts, means this baking competition is Garda Siobhán O’Sullivan’s dream assignment. The assignment quickly turns into a bad dream when a protester, trying to stop the show, is murdered. The bad dream morphs into a nightmare when bodies begin to pile up, but clues and the murderer’s identity remain elusive.

In Murder at an Irish Bakery, the O’Sullivan Six have moved to a new home. They are growing up and branching out into new lives and careers. Siobhán, married a year, is a happy as she’s ever been, while at the same time is she is trying to come to grips with the fact her siblings are spreading their wings.

The mystery is also tricky to solve. Figuring out the puzzle isn’t just figuring out the ‘who dun it,’ but also the ‘how was it done.” Sometimes the ‘who dun it’ isn’t hard to pinpoint, but the ‘how was it done’ keeps me guessing until the end of the book. I’ve read all the books in this series, and what keeps me reading are not only the tricky mysteries, but the way the characters continue to evolve and change, without losing their strong family bonds. That foundation is what gives them the courage to grow into individuals, knowing there is a safe place to land if needed.

Other books in the series
Murder on an Irish Farm #8

Murder in an Irish Bookshop #7

Murder at an Irish Christmas #6

Murder in an Irish Cottage #5

Murder in an Irish Pub #4

Murder in an Irish Churchyard #3

Murder at an Irish Wedding #2

Murder in an Irish Village #1

Publishing Information
Kensington Cozies

320 Pages, 5.90 x 8.54 x 1.10 in

ISBN: 9781496730817

ON SALE: 02/21/2023

FICTION / MYSTERY & DETECTIVE / WOMEN SLEUTHS

Thanks to #NetGalley for providing a copy of #MurderAtAnIrishBakery