The Sting of Justice

Written by Cora Harrison
Review by Sara Wilson

Mara, the Brehon judge, attends the funeral of a local priest little expecting that his will not be the only dead body in the church that day. Sorley Skerrett, silversmith and local mine owner, has been stung to death by bees. Mara becomes convinced that his death is no accident and is soon on the trail of the murderer.

Her efforts are hampered by the multitude of suspects available, ranging from his wife, his son, his daughter, his apprentice. Even Mara’s own fiancé might be implicated in the gruesome death. A man as unpleasant and as harsh an employer as Sorley is bound to have hidden enemies too, and the innocent are relying on Mara to clear their names.

With her superb attention to detail, Cora Harrison brings medieval Ireland into vivid life, being equally skilful at portraying the good, the bad and the ugly. Her research appears impeccable and is always included using a lightness of touch.

Mara is up there with the great fictional detectives. Her formidable intellect is beautifully balanced by her humanity and ability to empathise even with those she dislikes. She is a creation to be proud of and one assured a long stay on my bookshelves.