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County Cork Books In Order

Publication Order of County Cork Books

Buried in a Bog(2013)Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Scandal in Skibbereen(2014)Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
An Early Wake(2015)Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
A Turn for the Bad(2016)Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Cruel Winter(2017)Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Many a Twist(2018)Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
The Lost Traveller(2019)Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Fatal Roots(2020)Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle

Publication Order of County Cork Short Stories/Novellas

Tied Up With a Bow(2018)Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle

“County Cork Mysteries” is a series of novels by Sheila Connolly, a mystery and thriller author. Sheila was born in New York even though her wanderlust has seen her live in a variety of states including Massachusetts, Delaware, California, New Jersey, North Carolina, and Pennsylvania. As a teen, she went to Wellesley College for her bachelor’s degree and then proceeded to Harvard to get her doctorate in Fine Arts. Since she could not find a job in art history, she went to the University of California Berkeley from where she graduated with an MBA. Connolly has always been passionate about genealogy and history and has worked as a professional genealogist, art historian, fundraiser for a nonprofit, and investment banker. Sheila has written more than thirty titles some of which have been on the New York Times bestseller list. She published her first novel “One Bad Apple” in 2008 and has never looked back since. She now has more than thirty-five novels in the “Orchard Mystery,” “Museum Mysteries,” “County Cork Mystery,” “Relatively Dead Mystery,” and “Victorian Village Mystery” series of novels.

While Sheila is an American citizen, her paternal grandparents were born in Ireland though she never got to visit them as a child. It was not until she was a mother and had a teenage daughter to boot that she visited Ireland. She wanted to learn everything about Ireland and particularly her own history and thus took a road trip from Dublin to Leap the nearest town to where her father’s father was born and brought up. Connolly found Cork everything she had thought Ireland would be and it was not long before she had bought a cottage in the country. She is a member of the Society of Mayflower and the Daughters of the American Revolution. While she has a house in Cork, Ireland, for most of the year she lives with her husband and daughter in a big Victorian house in Massachusetts. When she is not writing, she loves to fix things around her old house, travel, and research genealogy and history, which are things that she is still passionate about even though she no longer works in those fields.

The idea for the “Cork Mysteries” series of novels came from a concept of outsider versus insider that she had in her mind for the longest time. Maura Donovan the lead happens to be both of these things. She is a young woman who never went past high school and now is uncertain about her future. But things change when her Irish grandmother that had raised her dies and she learns that she is the newest owner of a pub and house in Cork. She had been living as a waitress and bartender in Boston and hence she can pretty much move anywhere in the world and make a living. She moves to Cork, starts running Sullivan’s Pub and enjoying life in the small but charming town. Given that these are cozies, it is not long before the bodies are turning up and Maura steps up as an amateur sleuth. However, since it is not Donovan who discovers the bodies, many of the novels are much more laid back and relaxed than the typical cozy mystery. Being an American city girl in rural Ireland, Maura finds that life moves a lot slower. Another surprising thing for the city girl is that she can get a lot of things from the kindness of the locals without needing to ask. In no time at all, she has a phone, a car, and a place to live with little effort. Her insider-outsider perspectives make her an effective sleuth since she can ask dumb questions about how things work in Ireland. As a city girl, she also has unique insights on crime in rural Ireland which is not known for grisly crimes.

“Buried in a Bog” the first novel of the “County Cork” series of novels opens to Maura Donovan just having arrived in the rural village in Ireland where her grandmother once lived. She is there to honor the dying wishes of her granny but she has no job, home, or family. But then she learns that her grandmother had organized her a job at the local pub, and even found her a place to live. As she is heading back to Leap the small town where she is to start a new life, she sees a police car across the road. She is curious and stops her car to inquire. Donovan is told that the police had found a body in the nearby swamp. By the time she gets to work at Sullivan’s Pub the news is all over town and people are wondering who the dead man is and how long has he been dead? A cheerful customer dines and drinks at the pub only to be found dead the following day. Maura finds a missive behind the counter addressed to Mick Sullivan that may have clues to the mystery of the dead man in the bog. It is not long before Maura starts to notice strange things happening and it seems someone wants her gone from her new home dead or alive. Maura is determined to unravel the mystery of the letter, the dead customer, and the body in the bog, which seem to be connected somehow.

“Scandal in Skibbereen” the second novel of the “Cork County Mysteries” is still set in Leap where Maura Donovan is working as a waitress and amateur sleuth. Althea Melville an American woman had visited the pub and from her demanding tone and her clothes, Maura believed she must have been from Manhattan. But her motivation is soon revealed and Maura agrees to help her look for a famous painting that she believes might be housed at the Townsend’s “Mycroft House.” Eveline Townsend who is quite advanced in age is the only resident in the house at present except for Florence and O’Brien her caretakers and Seamus Daly the gardener. Her nephew Harry Townsend often comes to see her but he never stays long. Gillian Callahan an artist that often comes into town during the summer becomes part of the team that is looking for answers to the mystery painting. But things get interesting when Seamus Daly is murdered the same night Althea comes into town with his body being discovered the following day. A detective named Sean Murphy is in charge of the investigations and though his digging and that done by Donovan we learn a lot about the art world and the residents of the small village.

“An Early Wake,” the second novel of the “County Cork Mysteries” sees Maura becoming more mature as he now owns a pub in Ireland. She has fears and doubts since running a pub is still very new to her. As such, she questions her aptitude and craves acceptance from the locals even though she for the most part remains profitable. Sullivan’s Pub had once been the place where renowned artists would drop in and jam. A student from a nearby college comes into town looking to write a paper about Sullivan’s especially the music scene and suddenly everything changes. Maura has not done any promotions but suddenly old musicians start turning up and fill up the pub as they play their music to appreciate patrons from all over town. Sullivan’s made a lot of money on the night and she is happy with herself until she stumbles upon a dead body in a back room. As a sensible sleuth, she first contacts the cops and then starts listening to conversations at the pub hoping to find some clues about the murder.

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