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15 Irish Mysteries

Recommended Reads: Irish Mysteries!

If St. Patrick’s Day has you in the mood for something a wee bit Irish, pick up a mystery set in Ireland, featuring Irish characters, or by an Irish author.  Discover new authors (or revisit old favorites) with The Poisoned Martini ‘s Recommended Reads.  Perhaps these suggested titles will expand your reading list.


The Lemur by Benjamin Black (2008) – In this standalone novel, John Glass, a journalist, hires a researcher he dubs “The Lemur” to help him write a biography of his CIA operative father-in-law.  When the researcher turns up dead, Glass must find out who killed him and why.  Under nom de plume Benjamin Black, author John Banville is known for the Detective Inspector Hackett and pathologist Quirke mysteries set in 1950s Dublin.

Murphy’s Law by Rhys Bowen (2002) – In this historical mystery, feisty Molly Murphy killed a man in self-defense and flees to America to start a new life.  Unfortunately, a man she was seen arguing with is murdered on Ellis Island.  Though a handsome young policeman thinks she’s innocent, Molly determines to solve the case while navigating Tammany Hall era New York City.

The Magdalen Martyrs by Ken Bruen (2003) – In his third noir style case, Jack Taylor owes a favor to a Galway gangster.  He’s tasked with finding a woman who was once an unwed mother put into the church’s care and mistreated as a laundress.  Taylor’s need for the bottle threatens to derail his search.  Author Bruen is also known for his Detective Sergeant Tom Brant and Chief Inspector James Roberts series.

The Irish Village Murder by Dicey Deere (2005) – In the fourth Torrey Tunet mystery, a local scholar is murdered and interpreter Torrey finds a diary, written in Greek, that may hold the clue to whodunnit.

In the Woods by Tana French (2007) – A Dublin Detective must relieve the horrors of his childhood in a case that mimics one he survived.  French’s debut novel received numerous awards.  In the Woods is the first book in French’s Dublin murder squad series.  Some characters’ stories are continued in subsequent volumes.  Read my review here.

Death of an Irish Lover by Bartholomew Gill (1992) – Dublin Chief Inspector Peter McGarr must deal with a double homicide involving a newlywed policewoman and her much older boss.  Was it a crime of passion or is there a connection to eel poachers the policewoman may have been investigating?

Irish Gold by Andrew Greeley (1994) – Dermot Michael Coyne of Chicago is attending Dublin’s Trinity College where he mets Celtic beauty, Nuala Anne McGrail.  Nuala is gifted with the Sight, as she calls it, which will help her solve a mystery involving Dermot’s grandmother.

My Lady Judge by Cora Harrison (2007) – Set in 16th Century Galway, the Burren mysteries feature Brehon detective, Mara O’Davoren.  In her first case, Mara must solve the murder of a student at her law school.

The Book of Killowen by Erin Hart (2013) – The fourth and most recent book in the Nora Gavin and Cormac Maguire mystery series.  Cormac and Nora are investigating a 9th century body found in the bogs of Ireland.  The ancient body was in the trunk of a car on top of a more recent murdered victim.

The Wrong Kind of Blood by Declan Hughes (2007) – PI Ed Loy left Ireland 20 years ago.  When he returns for his mother’s funeral, he becomes involved in locating the missing husband of a former schoolmate.  The trail leads to a corpse buried in a foundation, an organized crime ring, and a whole lot more than Loy bargained for.

Borderlands by Brian McGilloway (2008) – Who has jurisdiction when a body is discovered straddling the border between Ireland and Northern Ireland?  Inspector Benedict Devlin of the An Garda Siochana takes charge of the case in which the only clues are a gold ring and an old photograph.

The Cold Cold Ground by Adrian McKinty (2012) – In the first book of the Troubles Trilogy, a Catholic police sergeant in a Protestant town suspects a serial killer in the murder of two men who were found with their right had severed.  However, this modus operandi is also the sign used to kill informants, and it may be that one murder was simply a cover for the first.

Three Bags Full by Leonie Swann (2008) – Perhaps the most unusual of mysteries, this Irish set tale by a German author involves the murder of a shepherd as solved by his sheep.  Seriously… the sheep stalk the town to uncover secrets and whodunnit.  See my review here.

Absolution By Murder by Peter Tremayne (1994) – In 664 A.D., the king of Northumbria has convened a synod.  When an Abbess is found murdered and the rival religious faction is implicated, the king charges Sister Fidelma and Brother Eadulf with the task of finding the killer.  First in the Sister Fidelma mystery series; the 24th and most recent book is Atonement of Blood (2013).

Irish Eyes by Kathy Trocheck (2008) – In the series’ eighth book, ex-cop Callahan Garrity is invited to a St. Patrick’s Day party by her former partner, Bucky Deavers.  When he’s shot in an apparent robbery and accusations that he was a “dirty” cop arise, Callahan determines to clear his name.


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