cover image St. Ernan’s Blues: An Inspector Starrett Mystery

St. Ernan’s Blues: An Inspector Starrett Mystery

Paul Charles. Dufour, $29 (320p) ISBN 978-0-8023-1360-7

In Irish author Charles’s atmospheric third Inspector Starrett mystery (after 2010’s Family Life), Starrett investigates a murder at a home for wayward Catholic priests. The youngest of the residents, Fr. Matthew McKaye, was found dead in a chair in the dining room. At first glance, the priest looks to have died peacefully, except for the small entrance wound at the base of his neck. And though McKaye appears to have been shot, the coroner, Dr. Samantha Aljoe, can’t find a bullet or an exit wound. The case leads Starrett’s team to explore why each of the priests has come to live at St. Ernan’s, and whether those reasons could lead to a motive for murder. They soon find that there are plenty of secrets the inhabitants and surrounding townsfolk would like to keep well buried. Keeping track of the many priests and the characters’ names is a challenge, but the various secrets uncovered are worth waiting for. (Mar.)