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Collins-Burke Mystery Books In Order

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Publication Order of Collins-Burke Mystery Books

Sign of the Cross (2006)Description / Buy at Amazon
Obit (2007)Description / Buy at Amazon
Barrington Street Blues (2008)Description / Buy at Amazon
Cecilian Vespers (2009)Description / Buy at Amazon
Children in the Morning (2010)Description / Buy at Amazon
Death at Christy Burke's (2010)Description / Buy at Amazon
Blood on a Saint (2013)Description / Buy at Amazon
Ruined Abbey (2015)Description / Buy at Amazon
Lament for Bonnie (2018)Description / Buy at Amazon
Though the Heavens Fall (2018)Description / Buy at Amazon
Postmark Berlin (2020)Description / Buy at Amazon
Fenian Street (2022)Description / Buy at Amazon

Collins-Burke Mystery is a series of mystery suspense novels written by Anne Emery. The books follow the exploits of a defense attorney and a Catholic priest who solve crimes in their spare time.

+The Story
Monty Collins and Brennan Burke do not meet under the best of circumstances. When a foxy young girl dies, the evidence collected immediately points to Father Burke. Burke pronounces his innocence and the responsibility of fighting his murder charge eventually falls on the shoulders of Monty Collins.

Collins had spent two decades defending the underclass and he had found that they often presented a challenge because they were largely lacking intelligence, typically inarticulate and, more often than not, boasted physical markings of one sort or another that compelled the police to perceive them as criminals.

As such, Burke should have made things so much easier for Collins. After all, he was highly intelligent, multi-lingual and respectable in his appearance. But then Collins spent time with the man and realized that Burke was also arrogant and acerbic.

Even worse, he fought Collins every step of the way, refusing to offer vital information to the lawyer.

Collins was eventually forced to sidestep Burke altogether, working to keep the priest out of prison by digging into Burke’s past and uncovering secrets his clients would have preferred to keep hidden.

Even though Collins and Burke do not have the friendliest of encounters when they first meet, their time spent clearing Burke’s name allows them to grow closer and to bond over their shared love of music. Not only does a friendship bloom between them but, as Collins moves on from Burke’s case, turning his attention to other clients and mysteries, Burke becomes an ally, helping Collins to put all the right clues together in his efforts to help the innocent and punish the guilty.

The Collins-Burke Mystery series is spent following the pair as they tackle the various cases that come Collins’ way. Collins and Burke’s relationship drives these novels as a whole. Even though they seem like such different people, the amateur detectives have a few common interests around which they often come together.

Collins comes from a wealthy family. He grew up in a privileged section of Halifax in Nova Scotia. But you wouldn’t know it from merely looking at him. When Collins isn’t defending the desperate dregs of society, he can be found playing the blues in downmarket bars.

Collins has a wife from whom he is separated and a little girl that he loves. Collins’ family life is contentious. He admits that the implosion of his marriage was his fault and he would do anything to repair his relationship.

But his wife does not make things easy. So Collins does what he can to nurture a close relationship with his daughter. Most of the mysteries that arise in the Collins-Burke Mystery series are related to the clients that Collins represent.

The lawyer often goes above and beyond to save his clients from the worrisome destinies that await them. In fact, that is often how he encounters trouble. Collins loves to do the work of the police, going the extra mile to prod and pock the occurrences and events that drive his clients to seek him out.

In doing so, he attracts all the wrong sort of attention. Collins’ primary strength is his perseverance. Once he stumbles upon a mystery, he won’t stop investigating until he solves it.

Even though he is the primary protagonist of these books, a lot of readers have criticized Collins for being a little too dull, especially when compared to the enigmatic Burke.

Brennan Burke comes from an IRA family. When he was a child, his father packed their belongings in the middle of the night and moved the family to New York. The Burke that people meet in ‘Sign of the Cross’ is a very competent man with a hefty resume; Burke is also handsome and charismatic.

He is wholly devoted to the traditions of his faith. But the priest routinely succumbs to the temptations of the material world. He will drink alcohol from time to time, especially after a long and difficult day.

He also struggles to ignore all the women who keep throwing themselves at him.

Burke and Collins’ alliance isn’t formal. Collins will seek Burke’s assistance from time to time whenever a case overwhelms him. There are novels where Burke is little more than a supporting character.

The Collins-Burke Mystery series has been criticized for its weak mysteries.

Each installment in the series has a list of songs and tracks that the author associates with the story contained within.

+The Author
Anne Emery is a Canadian author who attended St. FX University and Dalhousie Law School. She worked as a lawyer for a little while before finding her footing as an author.

Anne has a husband and a daughter.

+Sign of the Cross
A girl that sang in Father Brennan’s choir is murdered. Later on, her mother is killed in the exact same way. When the evidence points to Brennan, the police take action. Now Monty Collins, a lawyer, must do what he can to keep the man out of prison.

But Brennan keeps frustrating Monty at every turn. He clearly knows more than he has revealed but no amount of coercing will compel him to tell Monty his secrets.

Monty has to get creative. He must find a way to dig into Brennan’s past, to find the truth about his history and the connections that might exist between him and the victim. Only then can he hope to find the real killer and exonerate Brennan.

Brennan’s father dragged the family out of Ireland a long time ago. They settled in New York and Brennan has never looked back. When he reads the obituary of a man called Cathal Murphy, Brennan recognizes the message of his impending death hidden within.

Monty Collins, a Halifax Lawyer, is determined to help but Burke refuses to work with him, having decided to take what he knows to the grave.

But, despite Burke’s determination to bury the past, the demons of his homeland refuse to let him be. And a burst of gunfire at a family wedding tells him as much.

Book Series In Order » Characters » Collins-Burke Mystery

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