Cruel Winter: A County Cork Mystery

Sheila Connolly. Crooked Lane, $25.99 (304p) ISBN 978-1-68331-100-3

Maura Donovan, the American proprietor of Sullivan’s Pub in the Irish village of Leap, offers shelter—and more—to patrons stranded by a snowstorm, in Connolly’s engaging fifth County Cork mystery (after 2016’s Turn for the Bad). Maura, who inherited the pub from a friend of her late grandmother, has a knack for helping other people solve their life’s problems. In this installment, though, the focus is on Diane Caldwell, an English woman whose travel plans are disrupted by the storm. A local man tells Maura, who moved from Boston nine months earlier, that Diane was suspected, but never charged, in the murder of a woman in a nearby village some 20 years before. Diane tells her story to her captive audience at Sullivan’s. Coincidentally, a member of the gardaí is present to share some little-known details of the police investigation—and it turns out his wife has information she’s never divulged. That fortuitous fact creates a happy ending. [em]Agent: Jessica Faust, BookEnds. (Mar.) [/em]