In this rather marvellous Irish historical mystery I found myself immersed in the actions and times, set as they are in Cork, in 1925. My reactions to the wonderfully rich descriptive narrative was probably helped by the fact that I was actually in Cork at my time of reading. I felt immersed in the history of the time. The vivid reality of the story intertwined with my real life journey.
Reverend Mother Aquinas is a gem. When her long time friend, Father Dominic, a priest beloved by the people and respected by the Irish Republican Army is killed in the confessional, the Reverend Mother brings to bear her vast influence and intelligent mind to solving the problem. This includes childhood acquaintances and their remembrances of the great houses during that time, past students and current ones, police, bankers, and others. The mix of people the Reverend Mother can reach out to is inspiring.
The only irregular thing Father Domonic had been doing was visiting antique shops. When the Reverend Mother follows that trail her memories of times past surface and some disturbing puzzles come into play including the members of a local musical group, the Merrymen.
I love the humanness of the Reverend Mother, her understanding of children and their needs and her acknowledgment of their differences.
The secondary characters are strong and likeable. A great supporting cast.
Tragedy strikes again, upsetting and unlooked for. Who the murderer is keeps one wondering right up to the end. Some suspect the IRA, others the Anti-Sinn Féin Society.
A well executed plot that draws together many factors about Ireland in the 1920's and uses them to advantage, all the while illuminating the very real history and conditions of the times.