Thursday, January 13, 2011

An Irish Murder Mystery

I finished reading Faithful Place by Tanya French several days ago, but off and on I've thought about the story. The fact that I didn't close the book, take it back to the library and then forget about it says something to me.

I enjoy an occasional mystery book but not a steady diet of them. It had been awhile since I'd read one, but a review I saw drew me to it. Set in Dublin and narrated by the main character, Francis Mackey, the story is part mystery, part dysfunctional family saga,and  part romance. The dysfunctional family theme seems to take over, perhaps too much so, since the Mackey family is definitely one of the most dysfunctional ever. If you enjoy studying people and why they make one decision or another, then you'll enjoy this book. The mystery involves a a disappearance of Francis' (or Frank as he is most often called) girlfriend twenty years earlier. Everyone thought she'd run off to England for a new life, deserting Frank who had planned to go with her. He moved on with his life as he became a detective, married and divorced. Suddenly, a long-buried body is discovered, and Frank has to find out who murdered his girlfriend and make peace with his estranged family, which still lived in the tenement sector of Dublin.He's filled with hate and anger with his family but still drawn to them, while his softer side comes out in the deep love he has for his nine-year-old daughter.

The mystery itself is one you'll figure out before the ending, but not until close to the end. For me, the mystery was secondary to the characters and the family story. Would I recommend it? Yes, I believe I would even though the language is x-rated.


  1. What do you mean by x-rated? F and S words or ranchy scenes? I was almost going to put it on my list on amazon until I got to your last sentence! I can't stand when writers use the F and the S word, I just think it's lazy writing. I don't mean in dialogue but when they are reflecting, describing. One reason I've only read one Anne Lamott book and couldn't stand Stephen King's On Writing.

  2. Annette, I wasn't offended enough by the language to be turned off by the book, just wanted to let people know it's got some words you and I don't use in everyday conversation. I've read much worse, so I wouldn't be put off by my comment.