The Keening

ECW. Sept. 2021. 232p. ISBN 9781770415843. $25.95. M
The newest dual-timeline stand-alone mystery by Emery (“Collins-Burke Mystery” series) is set in 16th-century and 21st-century Northern Ireland. In 1595, the Irish still boast of their hospitality, and Brigid Tierney’s family has had a guesthouse for 200 years in Northern Ireland’s Enniskillen. The Tierneys attend a feast at Enniskillen Castle to celebrate the latest victory by the Maguires, the local lords, over the English. That night, Father O’Moylan hears seer Sorcha O’Cassidy prophesy tragedy for Ireland: the loss of Ireland’s chieftains, famine, and defeat by the English. He isn’t there, though, when Sorcha is killed with two arrows. In 2017, the Tierney family still owns a guesthouse in the shadow of Enniskillen Castle. Their view of the landscape is threatened by an American’s plans to develop an estate nearby, so Mick Tierney teams up with his father and his daughter Roisin to hatch a plot to thwart the development. They ask archaeologists to dig on the site, hoping they’ll find something historic and be required to preserve the land. Little do they know that the answer to the mystery of Sorcha’s murder will be found on the property, 400 years after her prophecies came true.
VERDICT The details of daily life in Gaelic Ireland (the wars, the feasts, the poetry) don’t make this historical mystery an easy read, but the intricately developed story may appeal to fans of Cora Harrison’s “Burren” mysteries.
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