Why did you choose this book?
This mystery is set in Dublin, Ireland. I lived in that town in 2010 and thought it would be fun to revisit in literature.
What’s it about?
In June 1887, Detective Sergeant Joe Swallow is tasked with investigating “ordinary” crimes (non-political). The bodies of an adult and a child are found in Phoenix Park (where the zoo is today), with their faces mutilated beyond recognition. Later in the week, Swallow is on the case of a woman’s body found in the canal with head trauma. Are the two cases related? And can Swallow dodge police department and society politics to get to the bottom of the crimes?
Police procedural, mystery, Irish culture, historical fiction
Other recommended reads?
This is the first book I’ve read that I would qualify as a police procedural. If you enjoyed this, you’ll probably want to try some others. Good authors include Karen Slaughter, JD Robb, and Michael Connelly. Having not read any of these, please keep in mind that I’m just making a librarian’s educated guess.
I didn’t recognize as much of Dublin in the book as I wanted to. I loved the map at the beginning, but the narrative doesn’t focus on the locations much outside Dublin Castle, Phoenix Park, and Merrion Square (which was exciting because I worked there while I was in Ireland!). I loved getting a glimpse into life in the 1880s. I struggled to solve the crime, which I tend to think makes for a good mystery. The prose was captivating and extremely well-written. I’m hoping to read another novel by Brady soon! I did think the pacing could have been slightly faster, but I also took nearly a month to read this book (on lunches at work, while dog-sitting, etc) so that could just be due to the time it took me to finish it.
The Jesus Cow by Michael Perry