An Irish Christmas

By Carlene O’Connor

I always harbored fantasies of spending Christmas in Ireland. My Irish friends all spoke of what a magical time it could be. A few years ago, when Irish friends decided to get married on December 27th, I was finally able to make this dream come true. Besides charming villages adorned with garland and lights, and Christmas music playing up and down the street, Christmas in Ireland is also a quiet time for family. The bride-to-be was understandably busy, but that didn’t stop her from making a Christmas dinner fit for a Kingdom. Bacon, ham, turkey, rolls, cranberry sauce, potatoes, and veggies. I can still picture nearly every spot on the table taken up by a dish. Afterward, there were treats by the telly as everyone digested and then visits to my friend’s mam laden with leftovers—the same traditions I enjoyed at home.

A few differences—although I hope they didn’t catch a fox, I did see the start of the fox and hound hunt on Christmas morning—it was something to see all the hounds and horses gathered with townsfolk standing on the footpaths waiting for the trumpet to blow. And then there is Saint Stephen’s Day, the day after Christmas when everyone gathers in the pubs because they are closed on Christmas day of course. And the regulars at a pub in Cork told me they add a bit of cherry liquor to their Guinness (with a whisper and a wink) as I partook in the tradition.  

Therefore, I was happy to set the next Irish Village mystery at Christmas time, and this year in Murder at an Irish Christmas the O’Sullivan’s will travel to rugged and gorgeous West Cork to partake in the festivities. And although Garda O’Sullivan will have her hands full with a murder to solve, she’ll strive to do what we all do– find time to enjoy the holiday season in the midst of the chaos. Given how challenging 2020 has been for all of us, it is my wish for everyone that we do the same. For what is Christmas really about but love. Sharing love, and extending love, and remembering those we love. And as they say in Ireland– Happy Christmas. I wish you all a Happy Christmas this year, and many more to come.

The O’Sullivan clan of County Cork, Ireland, are back to investigate another case of murder–this time at Christmas!

Garda Siobhán O’Sullivan’s holiday plans hit a sour note when murder rearranges the Yuletide carols into unexpected eulogies…

This December in Kilbane, if you’re planning to warm up with a cuppa tea at Naomi’s Bistro, you may have a bit of a wait–the entire O’Sullivan brood has gone off to West Cork to spend the holidays with brother James’ fiancée Elise’s family, including her grandfather, the famous orchestral conductor Enda Elliot. Siobhán is so happy for James and Elise but also quietly disappointed that she must put her own wedding to fellow garda Macdara Flannery on hold. Mac will have to join them later, so he can spend part of the holidays with his mam.

When the O’Sullivans learn everyone will choose a name from a hat to buy a music-related Christmas gift for someone else at the gathering, it seems like their greatest concern–until the cantankerous conductor is discovered crushed under a ninety-pound harp in a local concert hall.

With the extended family–including Enda’s much-younger new wife Leah, a virtuoso violinist–suspected in his murder, it’s up to Siobhán to ensure the guilty party faces the music. But as a snowstorm strands both families in a lavish farmhouse on a cliff, Siobhán had better pick up the tempo–before the killer orchestrates another untimely demise…