Murder in Connemara by Carlene O’Connor
Barbara’s rating: 3.5 of 5 stars
Series: Home To Ireland Mystery #2
Publication Date: 7/27/21
Period: Contemporary Ireland
Number of Pages: 356
I thoroughly enjoy this author’s Irish Village Mystery series and was very happy to find she had started a new mystery series also based in Ireland. This time, the lead character is a transplanted American interior designer whose family roots are in the Galway area of Ireland.
Tara Meehan is anxiously awaiting her business license in order to open her architectural salvage shop, Renewals, in downtown Galway. While she’s waiting, she is getting the shop set up and preparing for her grand opening. She is absolutely beyond excited. As a top interior designer in New York, she never expected to give it all up and move to Ireland, but here she is and she loves Ireland already. She has come to love the uncle she never knew she had (Murder In Galway), and then, there is Danny O’Donnell… Danny is more than a friend, but perhaps less than a boyfriend – Tara just isn’t sure what their relationship is aside from being occasional bed partners.
Tara found a flyer, on her shop’s front door, listing an old stone cottage for sale. With all the nervous energy she’s built up awaiting her license, she decides to go check out the cottage. She is absolutely entranced with the location and the crumbling cottage – until she discovers a tiny abandoned pug named Savage, and a dead body with no identification on it. Uh-Oh – another adventure begins.
A force of nature, in the form of Veronica O’Farrell, bursts into Tara’s yet-to-open shop and demands to be able to use the shop as the venue for her ‘Amends’ party. Veronica, along with her butler/lawyer Bartley, and driver Andy totally ignore Tara and her protestations that she could NOT allow the party to take place in her shop because she couldn’t open for business without her license. Since the fee Veronica is offering is exceptional and she wants additional tasks done, Tara manages to figure out a way to accommodate Veronica without losing the commission. It won’t take long for her to be very sorry about that decision – because Veronica is soon found murdered – and the murder weapon is one Tara had posted a selfie with – and the hashtag #KillerBrooch.
The overall mystery was a good one, but there were entirely too many people and suspects involved. We kept going off on tangents and it just bogged the story down. Then, there is Tara’s attitude. I haven’t yet managed to get to like her and a lot of that is her attitude – especially about the Garda. She just goes about doing her own thing whether it interferes with their investigation or not. I don’t know – I think it is her Holier-Than-Thou attitude that just rubs me the wrong way and she seems to think the Garda are stupid. Frankly, I wouldn’t blame Danny for walking away from her because she certainly doesn’t seem to give him any consideration either.
I’m certainly on the fence about this one. Once I’d waded through all of the extraneous chaff, the underlying mystery and motivation of the murderer were compelling and interesting. The suspects – John and Sheila Murphy, Elaine Burke, Mimi Griffin, Eddie O’Farrell, Cassidy Hughes, and Iona Kelly – are on Veronica’s ‘Amends’ list, but they spend almost all of their time loudly arguing and blaming each other for the murders. All of that just slows the pace of the story and bogs it all down. None of it adds to the mystery and a lot of it just doesn’t make much sense.
I am giving the book a 3.5-star rating (rounded to 3), so I guess that boils down to a conditional recommendation. The mystery really is a good one even though it is paced too slowly and has scenes that either doesn’t move the mystery along or could easily be condensed to speed up the pace a bit. My bottom line is – I will read the next book to see if Tara (and Danny because I didn’t like him in this book) grows on me. If I don’t like her better by the end of the third book, I’ll discontinue reading the series.
I voluntarily read and reviewed an Advanced Reader Copy of this book. All thoughts and opinions are my own.
4 thoughts on “Murder in Connemara by Carlene O’Connor”
All points very well taken and I must agree.
Love this review! I can’t get into this series as much as O’Connor’s other series set in Ireland, the Irish Village Mystery series. Definitely agree that Tara just isn’t that likable. Happy reading 🙂
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