The picture above isn’t Ireland, but when I think of that country I think of green hills and rainbows, perhaps because I’ve been looking for leprechauns and pots of gold for many years now. Actually, I’ve come to the conclusion that leprechauns do exist, just in my mind where only I can see them. As for pots of gold at the end of rainbows? Depends on your definition of a pot of gold. Maybe riches, along with beauty, are in the eye of the beholder.
Certainly, in the book I read most recently, money and fame doesn’t bring the characters any lasting pleasure. For the victims, of course, it brings the opposite; but that’s as it should be in a murder mystery book, I think. As for the other characters, they seem to enjoy their own version of riches, whether it’s being content on the job, or fighting for the environment, or realizing one’s own potential in a high powered sport.
The book, Death on the Green by Catie Murphy, is the second in a series of books that feature Megan Malone, limousine driver in Dublin. In this series, Megan’s job brings her into the world of some wealthy people, in this case a couple of highly successful golfers. As in the first book, murder ensues and once again, Megan is off on the hunt to discover the whys and wherefores.
As you might guess from the beginning of this post, the action is in Dublin, Ireland and although that area doesn’t figure in a huge way in the book, there is enough to feel as if you are dipping a toe in international waters. There’s enough of a flavor there to enjoy being somewhere “different” without the uncomfortable overnight flight. Here’s my review, which may help you understand the joy available in reading this book.
This is the second book in the Dublin Driver series featuring Megan Malone, an American who has exercised her dual citizenship and moved to Ireland after serving twenty years in the military as a medic. She is employed by a high end limousine service and is one of the top drivers because she can communicate easily with both Irish and American clients. Her attraction to the job is, as she explains it, because she is nosy and loves to hear all the gossip and information she gets as a result of driving these people around.
Although it is the second in the series, this book stands alone quite well. There is no need to have read the first book, as there is little overlap in terms of on-going stories between Megan and secondary characters. Those who do appear for a second time, like Detective Paul Bourke, have sufficient information for the reader to understand his relationship with Megan and that it began with a previous investigation that was chronicled in the first book.
In this novel, Megan has been assigned the Walshes, a golfing couple. He is an Irish superstar who is trying to make a comeback and is well known for his charismatic, Irish charm. She is an up and coming young golfer, his third wife and considerably his junior. Other characters involved are the Walshes’ best friend Lou MacDonald, the first victim, his daughter, Mr. Walsh’s caddy, and various people who work Megan’s limousine company. Because some of these names are typical Irish names and spellings, Murphy has included a pronunciation guide at the beginning of the book which is quite helpful.
The first day of driving the Walshes, Megan takes them to the golf course for Mr. Walsh to play an exhibition round. In the middle of his exhibition, the golfer and his gallery spot a body in a water hazard. Megan, aided by Mr. Walsh, pulls the body out and they discover it is his good friend, Lou MacDonald who has been murdered by some sort of blow to his head.
As the story unfolds, Megan begins to see Mr. Walsh is a smooth, charming man who is singularly focused on winning the golf tournament. As his caddy explains, he is totally committed to golfing, and indeed has his best games when the world around him is in chaos. Mrs. Walsh is also in a tournament at a sister golf club since the club where Mr. Walsh’s tournament is being held doesn’t allow women members. This is a minor point in the book, as it gives Megan an opportunity to express some equal opportunity thoughts she has
As the investigation unfolds, things get more complicated with the discovery that MacDonald’s daughter had an affair with Walsh that ended only when he married Heather. The daughter has pent-up resentment toward Walsh and his wife, but she is focused on her job as an environmentalist locked in a clash with an entrepreneur who wants to develop an area of the island where the golf clubs are located. Megan winds up beriending both Mrs. Walsh and Ms. MacDonald which leads to greater understanding between the two women.
The writing has enough Irish idioms to help the reader experience Dublin and surrounds in their mind while not being intrusive. If you are a reader who “hears” the conversation in your head while reading the book, it’s easy to hear the Irish accents that are speaking. The story has some excellent twists and turns and the reveal of the murderer has enough tension to pick up the reader’s pace. There are plenty of clues and the final solution is one that is totally satisfying and brings the book to a logical close. This is an excellent series that is enjoyable in every way.
My thanks to Kensington Books and NetGalley for an Advance Digital Read copy of this novel. The opinions expressed here are entirely my own.
I know travel is still difficult for some of us due to the pandemic. Here’s something to consider that will allow you to travel, at least in your mind. If this book isn’t your cup of tea, or Irish Coffee if you will, then perhaps this will serve as encouragement for you to find something else. You’ll find a number of books reviewed in this blog, or you can always ask your local librarian for a recommendation. In any event, Happy Reading.