Death at Whitewater Church

Oceanview. (Inishowen, Bk. 1). Sept. 2018. 352p. ISBN 9781608093021. pap. $16; ebk. ISBN 9781608093038. M
Solicitor Benedicta "Ben" O'Keefe moves to Ireland's Inishowen coast in an attempt to escape her family history. Her latest case, though, lands her right in the midst of another family's problems. She's with a surveyor at the deconsecrated Whitewater Church when they stumble over a crypt and find a skeleton inside. Everyone in town guesses the remains belong to Conor Devitt, who disappeared six years earlier on his wedding day. Ben, who admits she's nosy, is a confidante for many in town. But stories and relationships don't make sense to Ben. Then Conor's brother dies in a car accident. Ben's friendship with Sergeant Tom Molloy is in jeopardy when a pathologist who knows Ben's family secrets is called in to investigate the skeleton and the second death. While this debut mystery won awards in the author's native Ireland, the protagonist/narrator actually has little to do with the story's solution, although she's on the scene. That may prove unsatisfactory for some mystery readers. The awkward, complex characters fit perfectly into the atmospheric, melancholy novel with a strong sense of place.
VERDICT Fans of Ann Cleeves's "Shetland Island" mysteries and Lara Dearnan's "Guernsey Island" books will appreciate this account revealing another isolated, secretive community.
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