Fatal Roots: A County Cork Mystery

Sheila Connolly. Crooked Lane, $26.99 (288p) ISBN 978-1-64385-239-3

At the start of Connolly’s solid, if somewhat draggy, seventh County Cork mystery (after 2019’s The Lost Traveller), spunky American expat Maura Donovan, who has been living in Ireland for little more than a year, receives a caller at her cottage door: Ciara McCarthy, an archaeology grad student at University College Cork. Ciara wants to explore the mysterious ring forts, which date back to the early Middle Ages, on Maura’s property. Maura’s permission leads to Ciara and two fellow students doing so, but when one of the students disappears, Maura and Sean Murphy, her garda friend, begin a search. Instead of the missing student, they find a dead body buried in one of the ring forts. That it’s evidently been there a long time raises a lot of tantalizing questions. Meanwhile, Maura struggles to reconnect with her mother, who only recently reentered her life after a 20-year absence, and the half-sister she didn’t know she had. The drawn-out plot may put off newcomers, but series fans will enjoy spending time in the company of old friends. Agent: Jessica Faust, BookEnds. (Jan.)
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