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A dazzling debut — already an international publishing sensation — combining forensics, history, archaeology, and suspense.
Introducing Erin Hart, who brings the beauty, poignancy, mystery, and romance of the Irish countryside to her richly nuanced first novel.
When farmers cutting turf in a peat bog make a grisly discovery — the perfectly preserved severed head of a young woman with long red hair — Irish archaeologist Cormac Maguire and American pathologist Nora Gavin team up in a case that will open old wounds.
Peat bogs prevent decay, so the decapitated young woman could have been buried for two decades, two centuries, or even much longer. Who is she? When was she killed? The extraordinary find leads to even more disturbing puzzles. The red-haired girl is clearly a case for the archaeologists, not the police. Still, her tale may have shocking ties to the present, and Cormac and Nora must use cutting-edge techniques to preserve ancient evidence.
And the red-haired girl is not the only enigma in this remote corner of Galway. Two years earlier, Mina Osborne, the local landowner’s Indian-born wife, went for a walk with her young son and never returned. Did Mina simply decide to disappear, or did mother and child become lost in the treacherous bog? Could they, too, be hidden in its depths, only to be discovered centuries from now? Or did the landowner, Hugh Osborne, murder his family, as some villagers suspect?
Wow! Oh my giddy aunt!
A wonderfully written debut novel for this author. The writing is meticulous and detailed and filled with Irish lore and song, history resonating through the ages. Fascinating accomplishment for an American author writing about Irish history. She did her homework!
I found the writing even paced, building the suspense in an methodical way that brought a climatic conclusion to a head with an intense feeling of satisfaction for the truth being revealed. Emotions are prodded, both with happy results and sad, and a deep desire to find out more about the head of the woman found in the bog is nurtured right up to the end.
To think that there could actually be remains dating as far back as indicated in this fictional story makes one truly wish to go to Ireland and excavate the bogs. Oh, the mysteries they would provide. I love how the riddle of this woman was solved and the plot twists surrounding one mystery tied in to other sub-plot mysteries that were written clearly and precise. A great whodunit unfolded in such a classic form of story-telling that I was so happy that I picked this book up to read.
At times, and very few ones at that, the story stalled, but then quickly picked up again.
I highly recommend this story to anyone who likes a good mystery.
For this read, I give: