First Line: Maura Donovan looked at the piles of paper spread out on her well-worn kitchen table and despaired.
Tourist season is at an end, and expat Maura Donovan is wondering how to keep the badly needed money rolling into Sullivan's Pub. When she hears that the place was once a hot spot for Irish musicians who'd come to play in the backroom, Maura wonders if that way lies salvation.
The word gets out, and scores of music lovers come to hear the legendary musicians' jam session. When Maura comes in the next morning she discovers one of the musicians dead in that backroom. There's a long list of suspects, and one of them is a killer who needs to face the music.
I've enjoyed reading this series and watching Maura become accustomed to her new home in the tiny village of Leap in County Cork. I like Maura even though her personality and mine are miles apart. She's an American who's come to Ireland to live, and she hasn't wasted any time in bemoaning the fact that the Irish don't do things the way they do in the good old U.S. of A. Instead she's worked hard to become accepted; getting to know her neighbors, her employees, and the people who come into her pub.
She's got a good head on her shoulders, and something tells me she's going to make a success of Sullivan's, even though she seems to be taking a long time to learn the ins and outs of running it-- like taxes, licenses, and the like. Maura's not the only character in town; the supporting cast is an interesting bunch, but the individuals do need to be fleshed out more.
The music sessions in An Early Wake are brilliant, and I could easily see and hear them in my mind as I read. Those scenes alone are worth the price of admission-- which is a good thing because there's really not much of a mystery in the book.
I wouldn't be surprised if this is the last book in the series. There's no first chapter of the next book in the back to tempt us, and the last pages seemed to be tying up loose ends. If this is the case and I've read my last County Cork mystery, I will bid Maura a fond farewell. This is an enjoyable three-book series.
An Early Wake by Sheila Connolly
Berkley Prime Crime © 2015
Mass Market Paperback, 304 pages
Cozy Mystery, #3 County Cork mystery
Source: Purchased at The Poisoned Pen.