Some days, I can’t believe that I’ve lived in Ireland for a year. I had no long-term plans when I arrived. I simply wanted to meet my biological father and sort out the mysteries of my family. It was a question of identity, I suppose. Who am I?
Well, who I am, as I learned, is the daughter of a celebrated matchmaker in rural County Clare. Despite my misgivings, my father, Liam the Matchmaker, as he’s called, is grooming me for the position because he “won’t be here forever.” His sorry words, not mine. As part of my training, I’m acting as his right-hand woman during this year’s Matchmaking Festival.
As a matter of fact, here I sit under a caravan tent in the Lisfenora village plaza. Beside me, Liam wears his signature purple top coat with tails and a fluffy scarf to ward off the September chill. He’s slender, frail almost, but still holds himself erect. He sits with lovelorn singles and performs a kind of conversational magic to get them to open up to him. I take notes in his matchmaking ledger and try to learn the “trade” by example.
I don’t feel confident in my abilities, or that I’m necessarily meant to stay in Ireland for the rest of my life. I need to figure out what I want, and I will one way or the other before the end of the festival.
Meanwhile, here I sit shivering because an unaccountable mist has descended on us. It creeps in over the fields and around the corners of the buildings that surround the plaza. It’s clammy, oppressive, reminding me that even after a year, I’m an outsider here. Worse, in some circles I’m an outcast. No one wants an ex-Californian as matchmaker. A pretender to the throne, that’s what I am in the eyes of the locals.
The barest whisper of a breeze brushes my skin, almost tickling me. I feel bare—revealed, as it were—before the gaze of the skeptical locals who hang out in the plaza, eyeing me as if I’m about to spread a pox through their ranks. Without thinking, I reach up to fiddle with my talisman necklace and touch skin instead.
The moonstone necklace is the only memento I have from my mother, and a few days ago I thought I’d lost it forever when that troubled woman who doesn’t talk—Gemma—yanked it off my neck right here in the plaza. Thankfully, I found her in Alan’s pub and she returned it—but without a proper explanation. Now, it’s getting repaired.
Moonstones are said to enhance intuition, and I could use a little of my moonstone’s intuitive powers about now. There’s something about Gemma . . . I don’t know anything about her—yet—except that she arrived with her brother last week. I have the strangest feeling about her. As if she’s somehow connected to the boy who was murdered in Blackie’s Pasture a few days ago.
Whispers in the Mist is the second book in the County Clare mystery series, published by Midnight Ink, August 2016.
There’s a whisper in the mists
In Lisfenora, Ireland, a strange fog has rolled in off the Atlantic. Along with the fog comes tales of the Grey Man, a predatory faery of local lore who snatches innocent souls into his deadly gloom.
And with the mists come murder
When a teenage boy dies in Detective Sergeant Danny Ahern’s arms, Danny finds himself pursuing his own grey man, a killer who becomes more elusive the closer Danny gets to the truth. A mute woman may be the key to solving the murder and helping Danny heal his own broken life, but first she must unlock the memories from her past.
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About the author
Lisa Alber writes the County Clare mysteries. Her debut novel, Kilmoon, was nominated for the Rosebud Award of Best First Novel. Kirkus calls Whispers in the Mist a “worthy successor to Kilmoon in tone, mood, complexity, and keen insight into human failures and triumphs.” She balances writing her third novel (Midnight Ink, August 2017) with gardening, dog-walking, and goofing off. She lives in Portland, OR.
All comments are welcomed.
Giveaway: Leave a comment below for your chance to win a print copy of Whispers in the Mist. US entries only, please. The giveaway will end August 25, 2016 at 12 AM (midnight) EST. Good luck everyone!