Okay, so I’ve been in Ireland for, what, six, seven months now? I got here in March, and then it was kind of a blur for a while when I found out I now owned a pub—Sullivan’s—and a house. I mean, the most I ever owned before was whatever clothes were in my closet. And suddenly I’m a homeowner and a manager, in a country I’d never seen before. At least they speak English here, except sometimes the people are a little hard to understand.
Well, I’ve made it this far. The pub hasn’t gone belly-up yet, and I haven’t burned the house down, although I’m not really sure how the heat works. If there are taxes and licenses and stuff like that to worry about, I’m going to save them until the end of the year. Maybe by then I’ll be able to afford an accountant or a solicitor or whatever the heck it takes. Maybe.
I’m not complaining, really. There is just this one problem: I get getting involved with crimes (no, I don’t commit them). I suppose I shouldn’t be surprised. People keep coming into the pub, and they start talking, which is what I want them to do, and the next thing I know, they’re telling me about somebody who died a long time ago, or something that went missing. Why do they tell me this stuff? It’s not because I look friendly, or even wise (I’m kind of young for that). I guess they just look at me behind the bar and say, yeah, that’s a bartender, and I’m supposed to spill my guts to bartenders. Right?
Don’t laugh. It keeps happening. And now it’s happening again.
You wouldn’t think a dairy farmer who disappeared a good number of miles from here would be any of my business, but I keep finding out that everybody around here in West Cork knows everybody else and is probably related to them three different way, and that makes it everybody’s business. How come I lived in the City of Boston all my life before I came here, but after six months I know more people here than I ever did in Boston? And Sullivan’s is kind of information central, where everybody comes to swap stories and see what’s new. It’s better than the national news.
Okay, this time around it’s that missing farmer. Don’t ask me how many farmers just up and disappear, because I just don’t know. If you ask me, farming, especially with cows, is a messy job, and it wouldn’t surprise me if a lot of people get fed up with it and walk away. But the thing is, this guy left his kid behind, on the beach, wondering where his daddy went. Everybody who’s come into the pub says he isn’t the kind of man to do something like that. So the only other possibility is that somebody took him away, and either didn’t see the kid on the beach or didn’t care. Which doesn’t explain why anybody would want to grab a dairy farmer.
But when they heard he was missing, people got busy—fast. I didn’t know how many rescue agencies there were around here, like the Coast Guard and the Irish Navy, although I guess I shouldn’t have been surprised since we’re so close to the coast. There’s a lot of coast around here. Most of it is too shallow or too rocky for boats. At least, that’s what people say, but then they kind of go nod-nod wink-wink, and I’m left wondering what they’re talking about, but nobody will tell me.
Maybe whatever is going on is not quite legal? But I can’t prove that. All I can do is try to help find the missing guy, and the best way for me to do that is to listen to the people who come into Sullivan’s, because I can promise you, someone knows something about it.
A Turn for the Bad is the 4th book in the County Cork Mystery series, published by Berkley Prime Crime, February 2016.
The New York Times bestselling author of An Early Wake returns to Ireland where Sullivan’s Pub owner Maura Donovan gets mixed up with smugglers.
After calling Ireland home for six months, Boston expat Maura Donovan still has a lot to learn about Irish ways—and Sullivan’s Pub is her classroom. Maura didn’t only inherit a business, she inherited a tight-knit community. And when a tragedy strikes, it’s the talk of the pub. A local farmer, out for a stroll on the beach with his young son, has mysteriously disappeared. Did he drown? Kill himself? The child can say only that he saw a boat.
Everyone from the local gardai to the Coast Guard is scouring the Cork coast, but when a body is finally brought ashore, it’s the wrong man. An accidental drowning or something more sinister? Trusting the words of the boy and listening to the suspicions of her employee Mick that the missing farmer might have run afoul of smugglers, Maura decides to investigate the deserted coves and isolated inlets for herself. But this time she may be getting in over her head.
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All comments are welcomed.
About the author
Sheila Connolly, Agatha and Anthony award nominee and New York Times bestseller, writes the Orchard Mysteries, the Museum Mysteries and the County Cork Mysteries for Berkley Prime Crime. In addition, she publishes the e-book paranormal romance series Relatively Dead through Beyond the Page Press, most recently Watch for the Dead. Her short stories have been included in Level Best Books’ anthologies, and other e-stories have been published by Berkley Prime Crime and Beyond the Page.
Giveaway: Leave comment below for your chance to win a print copy of A Turn for the Bad. US entries only, please. The giveaway will end February 19, 2016 at 12 AM EST. Good luck everyone!