cover image Beyond the Pale

Beyond the Pale

Clare O’Donohue. Midnight Ink, $15.99 trade paper (360p) ISBN 978-0-7387-5650-9

O’Donohue’s enjoyable, if slight, first World of Spies mystery introduces married Michigan college professors Hollis and Finn Larsson. Hollis enjoys teaching, but the sight of her barely used passport makes her long to get away. Finn is satisfied with the status quo. When CIA agent David Agnelli, an old flame of Hollis’s, offers them an all-expenses-paid trip to Ireland to acquire a rare book manuscript, which supposedly holds the key to finding a missing agent, Hollis, who dreamed during her college days of becoming a spy, is thrilled. Finn is less enthusiastic, but he agrees to David’s deal. Soon after arriving in Dublin, Hollis and Finn realize that they’re on their own with no one they can trust. After witnessing a murder, they decide that they must get their hands on the manuscript to ensure their survival, but doing so won’t be easy. O’Donohue (the Someday Quilts series) supplies plenty of fun spy business, but the believability and chemistry of Hollis and Finn as a couple, as shown in their witty dialogue, is the main appeal. Agent: Sharon Bowers, Miller Bowers Griffin Literary Management. (May)