“Burke shows again that he’s not just a comic genius, but also a fine dramatic writer and storyteller.” – Booklist. “Prose both scabrous and poetic.” – Publishers Weekly. “Proust meets Chandler over a pint of Guinness.” – Spectator. “Among the most memorable books of the year, of any genre.” – Sunday Times. “A hardboiled delight.” – Guardian. “Imagine Donald Westlake and Richard Stark collaborating on a screwball noir.” – Kirkus Reviews. “A cross between Raymond Chandler and Flann O’Brien.” – John Banville.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Review: CROSS OF VENGEANCE by Cora Harrison

Last month’s column of crime fiction reviews published in the Irish Times included the latest titles from Val McDermid, William Boyd, Linwood Barclay and Cora Harrison. The Cora Harrison review ran like this:
Cross of Vengeance (Severn House, €19.99) is the tenth of Cora Harrison’s novels to feature Mara, the 15th century Brehon judge based in the Burren in the West of Ireland. Here Mara investigates the murder of a German pilgrim to the church at Kilnaboy, who is discovered naked and spread-eagled in the cruciform position the morning after a precious religious relic is burnt. Given that the pilgrim was a follower of Martin Luther, some of the locals believe his death was an act of God, but Mara, who is not noticeably devout, goes in search of a more prosaic killer. The religious fanaticism that underpins Cross of Vengeance gives it a contemporary resonance, but for the most part this is an unabashedly and enjoyably old-fashioned mystery investigation as Mara quietly but conscientiously goes about her business of interviewing suspects and excavating motives. The setting is integral to the plot, and Harrison’s elegant style beautifully evokes the world of the Burren, not only in terms of its sights and sounds, but also its languid pace and its enduring traditions. Most intriguing of all, however, is the experience of a murder investigation conducted according to ancient Brehon law. All told, it’s a fascinating blend. – Declan Burke
  For the rest, clickety-click here

2 comments:

Cora Harrison said...

Thank you, Declan.

One of the most fascinating of the Brehon laws was that a woman had an absolute right to have a baby in safe economic circumstances - a right which today's problems with mortgages and jobs often denies to women until it is too late to conceive.

Declan Burke said...

You're very welcome, Cora. A fascinating novel, and very enjoyable.