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Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Tuesday - First Chapter - First Paragraph - A Shameful Murder



Each Tuesday, Diane at Bibliophile By the Sea shares the first part of a book that she is reading or thinking about reading.  This week I'm sharing the first paragraph of A Shameful Murder by Cora Harrison.  Set in Ireland, this is the first book in the historical mystery series featuring Reverend Mother Aquinas.  The second book, A Shocking Assassination, was published last fall.  See what you think:



     It was Reverend Mother Aquinas who found the body of the dead girl.  It lay wedged within the gateway to the convent chapel at St. Mary's of the Isle, jettisoned by the flood waters.  For a fanciful moment she had almost imagined that it was a mermaid swept up from the sea.  The long silver gown gleamed beneath the gas lamp, wet as the skin of a salmon, and the streams of soaked curls were red-brown just like the crinkled carrageen seaweed she had gathered from the windswept beaches of Ballycotton when she was a child.  Her heart beating fast, the Reverend Mother unlocked the gate and looked down at the sightless blue eyes that stared up from beneath a wide high brow at the blanched, soaked flesh of the cheeks and knew that there was nothing that she could do for the girl.  She bent over, touched the stone-cold face and then with a hand that trembled slightly she signed the forehead with a small cross.  The Reverend Mother had seen death many times in her long life, but in the young she still found it was almost unbearable.


Blurb:

Cork, Ireland. 1923. When, one wet March morning, Reverend Mother Aquinas discovers a body at the gate of the convent chapel washed up after a flood ‘like a mermaid in gleaming silver satin’, she immediately sends for one of her former pupils, Police Sergeant Patrick Cashman, to investigate.

Dead bodies are not unusual in the poverty-stricken slums of Cork city, but this one is dressed in evening finery; in her handbag is a dance programme for the exclusive Merchant’s Ball held the previous evening – and a midnight ticket for the Liverpool ferry.

Against the backdrop of a country in the midst of Ireland’s Civil War, the Reverend Mother, together with Sergeant Cashman and Dr. Sher, an enlightened physician and friend, seek out the truth as to the identity of the victim – and her killer.

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It is interesting to me, as a frequent mystery reader, how many series have a member of the clergy as a protagonist.  Take a look at the list here on Stop You're Killing Me (a great website for discovering mysteries and stuff about them).  This series appealed to me not only because of the protagonist, but also the setting of 1920's Ireland.

30 comments:

  1. This sounds like a good one. I checked to see if this was available in audio, but it's not. It would be so good to hear this story in a beautiful Irish brogue. Enjoy Kay.

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    1. You're right. It would be lovely on audio. Sadly, I guess not. I always wonder how they decide which books to put on audio. Question for another day.

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  2. I ALMOST put this on my TBR for March's Begorrathon. Maybe next year!

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    1. I actually thought about that, for those of you who will participate. :-)

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  3. A nice cover and an interesting setting. Although I haven't read anything by Harrison, I checked and found she has several series that sound interesting. Look forward to your opinion on this one. :)

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    1. This author does have several series and I've not read any of her books yet. I'm not even sure how I discovered this one.

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  4. I like convent and monastery settings so a mystery like this would be a hit with me:) enjoy

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    1. I do too, Diane. As I said, I'm always amazed at how many mystery series feature some kind of clergy or religious setting.

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  5. Oh, I love the descriptions in that first paragraph, and a story set in Ireland during its Civil War makes it sound like a winner. Thanks for sharing...and for visiting my blog.

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    1. I thought it sounded good and as Karen noted above, perfect for this time of year.

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  6. I like the intro to this so think I would give it a go, yes. Hope you enjoy.

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    1. Thanks! I'm planning on trying it soon.

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  7. Thanks for reminding me of this series. It's one I've been meaning to start. I hope you enjoy it enough to continue on with the series. Happy reading!

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    1. I do too. Though do I need another mystery series? LOL

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  8. This sounds like one I would read.

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    1. I think it might be one you'd like or it sounds like it.

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  9. While reading this opener I was thinking how it sounded like an 'older' type of novel and then I see from the blurb it is set in 1923 - so I would like to keep reading as I'm impressed with the author conveying the older time period without referring directly to it.

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    1. Yes, that's a good observation. She does do a nice job with that. Now, I have read much beyond that paragraph, but intend to try this book soon.

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  10. It does sound interesting, the time period, setting and the unusual sleuths.

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    1. Yes, I like the look and sound of it too!

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  11. The beginning hooked me. I would definitely keep reading. Enjoy!

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  12. Really all I needed to see what the Irish setting and I was in. Luckily the rest looks pretty good too!

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    1. OK, good to know. Irish setting and you're hooked. LOL

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  13. Stop You're Killing Me is such an awesome resource. Aside from Brother Cadfael I don't think I've read another series with a member of the clergy as the main sleuth. Hope you enjoy this one - it sounds promising!

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    1. There are quite a few of them. I'm not sure I had realized or thought about quite how many.

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  14. Oooh, this one sounds intriguing! I'll have to add it to my TBR mountain chain.

    Thanks for the link to Stop, You're Killing Me. I'd never heard of it, but wow, it looks like an incredible resource for mystery lovers!

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    1. Oh, you should definitely know about SYKM. It's a big help when you're looking for certain specific things about mysteries.

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Thanks for stopping by! I am so happy to hear your thoughts and will respond as soon as I can. Happy Reading!