A Gruesome Discovery

Written by Cora Harrison
Review by Ilysa Magnus

In Cork, Ireland, in 1925, Reverend Mother Aquinas receives a charitable donation of a trunk filled with old books for the children at the convent school. Always desperate for charity, Reverend Mother happily receives the gift, only to open the pungent trunk to discover the body of a wealthy local merchant, Mr. Mulcahy, dead within.

Mr. Mulcahy’s death is not mourned by most, including members of his own family. But when suspicion falls on a former lay sister from her convent, the Reverend Mother must put her sleuthing talents to work. Always helpful in these investigations are Reverend Mother’s two former students, Patrick (now a police detective) and Eileen (a former Republican operative who now works in a print shop), as well as Dr. Scher, who always is the source of helpful clues about the decedent.

The Reverend Mother, as aged as she thinks she is, is clever, engaging and energetic, an altogether lovable character who I have grown to respect and love over the installments of this series. Eileen has also matured into a fascinating character who has become increasingly realistic about politics. These books are chock full of information about Cork in the 1920s—the enormous disparity between rich and poor, and the “Irish problem”—giving me a perspective, in a most entertaining way, I would not otherwise have had. A thoroughly enjoyable read and a deserving entry in the series.