Tuesday, 29 November 2016

A Terrible Beauty by VM Devine

A father and daughter conspire to write a novel set in Ireland. VM Devine is the pen name of Mike Mahony and Valerie Ganzevoort. After reading it, you wouldn't believe they live in sunny SA.

A Terrible Beauty is a story of the solving of a murder at Joyce's Tower. Father Luke O’Gorman returns there after fleeing a horrible incident in Nigeria where he was a missionary. Instead of escaping the emotions, they follow him home, and are echoed in his family dynamics and the tense domestic situation, getting worse by the day as the centenary anniversary of the Easter Uprising approaches. Detective Chief Superintendent Fírinne Jeffries and her team is called upon to investigate the murder that results, with the local Gardaí on full alert to the possibility of more violence and protest in the air.

I loved the setting, and the detailed scenery and history that these authors wove into the story. It was modern, realistic and also clever and classy. The telling was seamless and rich, with a great deal of research having gone into it. Lots of dialogue and action kept the pace moving and me guessing about who was going to be revealed as the gruesome killer. This mystery was refreshingly different to most in the genre, comprising much more than your average detection.

The level of detail made for a dense read - the complexity meant there was a lot of story, and this detracted slightly from me getting to know the characters better.

An enriching experience and a well-deserved 4 stars.

You may also enjoy A Great Deliverance by Elizabeth George or Jo Spain's Beneath the Surface.

Look at what else I've been reading...

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