Murder in an Irish Village by Carlene O’Connor

murder-in-an-irish-villageMurder in an Irish Village by Carlene O’Connor
Series: Unknown (but I hope so!)
Genre: Contemporary Mystery
Setting: Kilbane, County Cork, Ireland
Published by Kensington, 2016
Format: e-Arc (Release Date: Feb 23)
–I received a review copy of this book from the Publisher in exchange for an honest review. The opinions stated here are entirely my own.
304 pages
Grade: B+
Synopsis: In the small village of Kilbane, County Cork, Ireland, Natalie’s Bistro has always been a warm and welcoming spot to visit with neighbors, enjoy some brown bread and tea, and get the local gossip. Nowadays twenty-two-year-old Siobhán O’Sullivan runs the family bistro named for her mother, along with her five siblings, after the death of their parents in a car crash almost a year ago.

It’s been a rough year for the O’Sullivans, but it’s about to get rougher. One morning, as they’re opening the bistro, they discover a man seated at a table, dressed in a suit as if for his own funeral, a pair of hot pink barber scissors protruding from his chest.

With the local garda suspecting the O’Sullivans, and their business in danger of being shunned–murder tends to spoil the appetite–it’s up to feisty redheaded Siobhán to solve the crime and save her beloved brood.

Initial impressions

  • A very good mystery as well as a great setting in County Cork, Ireland.

The story

  • The O’Sullivan children–James (24), Siobhán (22), Gráinne (16), Ann (13), Eoin (15), Ciarán (10)–are continuing to run Natalie’s Bistro a year after their parents were killed in a traffic accident. The driver of the other car was drunk and is now in prison.
  • The siblings have all given up a lot to keep their family together–especially James and Siobhán. She gave up her dream to attend Trinity College in Dublin with her best friends. James has given up drink (a good thing) and has been sober for six months as the book opens. However, Siobhán still worries about him and realizes she has the responsibility for Natalie’s Bistro as well as for her siblings. The others all help out in the restaurant–cooking, washing dishes, cleaning, serving.
  • The driver’s brother, Niall Murphy, is back in town and claims he has evidence his brother is innocent. The O’Sullivans respond with resentment and anger.
  • When Niall is murdered James is the main suspect. Siobhán decides she better figure out who really murdered Niall.


  • The mystery is very good in this story.
  • I love the Irish setting.
  • I also enjoyed the descriptions of the Irish village and the various people living in the village.
  • Ms. O’Connor included a Pronunciation and Glossary Guide at the front of the e-Arc I read. I hope that’s in the finished copy because it is great to know how to pronounce words and know what they mean. I had heard about craic (pronounced crack) when we were in Ireland last year! (It means having a good time!) But others I had no idea about.
  • The book was craic reading for me!
  • The O’Sullivans really came alive for me as well as many of the other characters.
  • This had some laugh-out-loud moments. My favorite is at a wake when the body is nearly set on fire and the priest tells one of the O’Sullivans (after she nervously recites Psalm 23) that the psalm isn’t part of the Roman Catholic Mass!
  • The book is told from Siobhán‘s viewpoint and she is a well-rounded character–not perfect, but someone I would like to know. She also is not a very subtle investigator!
  • There is a bit of romance that could become more in future books.
  • I’m really impressed that this is Ms. O’Connor’s first book.


  • I don’t really have problems with this book.

And concluding thoughts . . .

  • I’d love for Carlene O’Connor to write more about the O’Sullivans and Kilbane.

Have you read this book? How did you like it?

Author info

  • Carlene O’Connor comes from a long line of Irish storytellers. Her great-grandmother emigrated from Ireland to America during the Troubles, and the stories have been flowing ever since. Of all the places across the pond she’s wandered, she fell most in love with a walled town in County Limerick and was inspired to create the town of Kilbane, County Cork. Carlene currently divides her time between New York and the Emerald Isle.

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