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Conor Brady Books In Order

Publication Order of Joe Swallow Books

A June of Ordinary Murders (2012) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
The Eloquence of the Dead (2013) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
A Hunt in Winter (2016) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
In the Dark River (2018) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle

Conor Brady is an Irish author of mystery and thrillers popularly known for his Joe Swallow series. He worked as a journalist and as an editor for the Irish Times between 1986 and 2006. He was born in Dublin and spent his childhood in Tullamore, Ireland. He attended St. Columba’s Brothers College and Cistercian College. He is an undergraduate and postgraduate of the University College Dublin with degrees in history and politics.

The author has written a couple of book in under different subjects, from personal memoirs detailing his experiences as a journalist; histories of Irish Police and novel series featuring Detective Joe Swallow.

A June of Ordinary Murders

This is the first in the Joe Swallow series. The year is 1887 and Dublin is getting ready for a visit by the Queen’s grandson. This royal visit is worrying the people in authority, and for political reasons, they need this visit to be a success, but the Irish nationalists are proving to be a greater threat.
On 17th June the city is faced with an untypical heat wave when do bodies are found in The Phoenix Park. A young boy and a man have been shot dead and their bodies’ mutilated, and there is no evidence available for the authorities to identify who they are and why they were killed. Detective Joe Swallow working for the Dublin Metropolitan Police is the man tasked with investigating the double homicide case.

Not long, a young woman, the leader of a well organized criminal network is found dead, leaving in her wake a struggle for leadership between her deputies. A day later, another body is discovered, and the same case is assigned to detective Swallow. The two cases prove to be quite complicated. The identity of the two male adults killed in Phoenix Park remains a mystery, and without knowing the victim’s identity, the police have very little chance of finding out who they indeed are and why they were killed.

The second case of the young woman found dead is soon taken of Swallows’ hands as soon as he discovers her identity. It turns out that she was employed by a Dublin Alderman who will play a crucial role in the upcoming visit by the queen’s grandson. This case is assigned to a different security branch. This move only makes our detective sense that the case won’t be properly investigated and he doesn’t give up on the case. When he finally discovers that the two murder cases might be connected, Swallow becomes determined to investigate the case regardless of what might happen to him.

Besides the two murder cases, the detective has more to worry about. He has to decide his relationship with a younger widow. Even though the murder cases are ordinary ones, he is not far away from political problems when his sister finds herself in a relationship with an Irish freedom fighter. A relationship situation that could see his sister end up in prison as well as compromise his career.

Plenty is going on in this intriguing and well woven historical mystery novel, and the reader needs to pay close attention to everything going on. The mystery is beautifully crafted, and the answers to the mystery are revealed satisfyingly. There are no miracle revelations, and all the clues in the story are for the reader to find out, provided the reader pays close attention to details.

Joe Swallow is the main character. He is realistic and also interesting. Like any other person, he has his flaws. He has a strong sense of justice and is always determined to solve his cases and see the perpetrators brought to justice. Conor Brady added a lot of historical details in the story both in time and setting. There are some references to traditional forensic science techniques, and while fingerprints are somehow used, no one is ready to take them seriously. However, facial reconstruction does play an important part in solving the mystery. Overall, a June of Ordinary Murders is a good historical mystery with a fascinating lead character and filled with plenty of interesting insights of Dublin in the late 19th century.

A Hunt in Winter

When a waitress is brutally injured in 1888, the people of Dublin spread rumors of Jack the Ripper on the loose. Joe Swallow doesn’t believe the rumor, and he doesn’t believe that the serial killer changed his tactics and traveled to Ireland. However, the G-Division team from Dublin Castle turns out in numbers to investigate. There are a few clues, no witnesses, and then another woman is brutally attacked. Detective Swallow and his team track down every possible suspect and any possible lead. But soon, political influences get in the way of Swallow’s investigation.

The English are also investigating an Irish politician named Charles Parnell. When they show up at Dublin Castle scrapping for evidence against the politician, Swallow and his team are appalled. In their opinion, the politician is the only thing that stands between Ireland and a rebellion against the English. And G-Division is not ready to let the English cause turmoil in their country.

Politics is not the only thing distracting detective Swallow. His personal life is now comfortable. He has an arrangement with the landlady and takes some painting lessons every week. But his personal life is about to take a twisted turn. Politics, cultural and social issues as well as murder are all blended in this intriguing mystery. The main character his team code-named G-Division are good policemen, even though they aren’t popular with the Irish, as they implement English laws. Detective Swallow follows all the leads to Alice’s death and is in German when Major Kelly breaks into the residence he shares with his wife. The author creatively includes actual real people and history in the story. If you enjoy mystery books with a blend of history, it’s recommended you get a copy of the Hunt in Winter.

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