The Eloquence of the Dead

Written by Conor Brady
Review by Tom Vallar

Conor Brady’s latest Joe Swallow procedural (after his debut in A June of Ordinary Murders, HNR 72) involves the 1880s Dublin Detective Sergeant in a murder, robbery, and land swindling at the highest ranks. The victim, a pawnbroker who concentrates in jewelry and estate sales, was loved by few. The city remains on edge, however, because his sister, who hid her brother’s demise for days, disappears without a trace.

Joe has his pick of the best cops in his unit to assist him in his search for clues and suspects. His best friend, the medical examiner, once again provides a key assist by using rudimentary fingerprinting techniques. This serpentine case takes Swallow to London and the Irish countryside in addition to the mean streets of his city. He often crosses paths with a childhood friend who has grown to be a formidable businesswoman, love interest, and possible suspect.

If you are seeking an action-and-adventure murder mystery (though the body and liquor counts are high), look elsewhere. But if intricate plotting and journalistic descriptions of time and place pique your fancy, Brady is your man.