>> Friday, May 20, 2011
False Mermaid by Erin Hart
Genre: Mystery, Crime Fiction
Series: #3 in the Nora Gavin and Cormac Maguire series
Publication Date: 2010
The Short Version:
Forensic pathologist Nora Gavin returns home to Minnesota from Ireland to determine once and for all if her brother-in-law is the man who killed her sister five years ago.
Why I Read It:
The first two books in this series were such a wonderful mix of crime fiction and intriguing science related to bodies found in Irish peat bogs that I couldn’t help but continue as Nora heads home to face the crime that has haunted her for the past 5 years.
Forensic pathologist has returned home to St. Paul Minnesota after 3 years in Ireland. She’s not back for work, though. She’s still haunted by her sister Triona’s brutal murder five years ago. Triona’s husband Peter was the prime suspect but there was no evidence or not enough to charge him. Nora can’t let go and feels compelled to solve the case. It’s caused her endless guilt and sorrow and has also shattered her relationship with her parents. They haven’t supported Nora’s condemnation of Peter but in many ways it was because they didn’t want to lose contact with Triona’s daughter Elizabeth.
Nora is determined to find out the truth and find it out fast. Peter is about to get married again and perhaps leave the country with Elizabeth. In order to protect her niece and perhaps Peter’s new wife, Nora and the lead detective in the original murder investigation set off to take a new look at the events leading up to and after Triona’s murder.
In order to return to Minnesota to deal with her past, Nora has left her future on hold in Ireland. Her relationship with Cormac Maguire, the anthropologist she’s worked with on several investigations of ancient bodies found in Ireland’s peat bogs is in an uncertain state. The distance may prove to be the end of any potential relationship or it may prove that they belong together.
In the meantime, Cormac is in Ireland dealing with his own past. His father (absent for much of Cormac’s life) needs him and their strained relationship makes that difficult for both of them. The story of a hundred year old disappearance that may or may not be the realization of an ancient Irish myth also weaves its way through this story.
After reading and thoroughly enjoying the first two books in this series I was a bit worried at where the author would take it next. Yet another old body found in an Irish bog would have been too repetitive for the third installment of the series. I was impressed that the author managed to keep some elements of the first two books while at the same time taking it a whole different direction.
The things that were still there that I liked included the music and myths of Ireland that were so deeply infused in the first two books. Hart does an excellent job of continuing to weave these elements into even the parts of the story that take place in Minnesota. I also liked that the story of Nora and Cormac continues. The end of the last book left things a bit up in the air as to where their relationship was headed and I was worried that separating them by an ocean and part of a continent would dilute that part of the ongoing story. I should not have worried. The separation allows both of the characters to be even further established within their own families and histories before moving on.
Nora’s inability to deal with her grief and anger at her sister’s brutal murder was building in the first two books and to take her back to Minnesota to face her parents and her brother-in-law and the investigation head on was a good move. It made for an interesting and intriguing mystery with the added element of potential danger to her niece as motivation to move and move quickly in re-investigating Triona’s murder.
With Nora leaving Ireland I was a bit concerned that Cormac would only appear via telephone and email but his own story continued right along interspersed with that of Nora. Cormac finds himself dealing with his non-relationship with his father and doing a little research with a colleague regarding a long ago disappearance that may or may not be a real life playing out of an ancient myth.
This is an interesting and intriguing series with a couple of main characters that I’m like very much. I believe that the author is working on a fourth book in this series and I sincerely hope that is the case. I definitely want more.