cover image IRISH STEW! A Nuala Anne McGrail Novel

IRISH STEW! A Nuala Anne McGrail Novel

Andrew M. Greeley, . . Forge, $25.95 (303pp) ISBN 978-0-312-87188-8

The prolific cleric plops his psychic singer heroine and her family into a delicious stew of trouble in his latest crowd pleaser. The "fey" Nuala (last seen in 2001's Irish Love) senses that self-made Chicago lawyer and tough guy Seamus Costelloe is doomed after meeting him at a Milan music festival. Nuala persuades her beloved husband, Dermot, that they must find out why in time to prevent tragedy. Back in the Windy City, Dermot pursues the true cause of the century-old Haymarket Riot, while Nuala gives premature birth to their latest angel, Socra Marie, who has to spend several weeks in the neonatal ICU. Dermot does much of the legwork as Nuala recuperates and focuses on the baby, though her maternal duties don't stop her from running the show. The immigrant condition is very much on their minds, in both past and present investigations, and even life at home is affected by the hardships and prejudices encountered by new arrivals, especially in ethnically complex Chicago. There's a lot to keep straight in this one. When he isn't trying to help Nuala save Costelloe, Dermot is reading transcripts of the Haymarket trial and period newspaper articles, especially those penned by journalist Ned Fitzpatrick, who reported on the riot and its aftermath. Portions of Ned's diary, set in italic, can be slow going. Greeley lays the Irish on a bit thick for some tastes, but the double plot is rich with detail, while the couple's earnestness and good intentions are never in question. (Mar. 14)

Forecast:National TV advertising on Lifetime, as well as national advertising and targeting to Irish publications, will ensure a strong start circa St. Patrick's Day.