Lá Fhéile Pádraig, “The Day of the Festival of Patrick”

by Carlene O’Connor

I would begin with Top of the Mornin’ to ye, but Irishman would be horrified if I tossed out that old cliché. So… Hiya. What’s the craic? (Irish word for fun: Loosely translated—what’s up—anything good going on?)

Instead I’ll start with my name, but I warn you, that’s a tad confusing too. I write the Irish Village Mysteries under the pseudonym Carlene O’Connor. And since people ask me all the time—why the name change—let me begin there. In the publishing industry, it’s a matter of branding. “Apples and oranges,” my editor said. “Just tell people that.” I tried:

“Why the name change?”

“Apples and oranges.”

(Insert bewildered look and tilt of the head).

Let me try again. My previous novels weren’t Irish mysteries so with a new genre comes a new name. But don’t panic. It’s still me. My great grandmother emigrated to America from Ireland. One of those nifty DNA kits showed I’m 74% Irish. But I’m still somewhat of a wannabe, except for one day a year where instead of Queen for a Day, I get to be Irish for a day. We all do. Lucky us!

And for this conversation, I must out myself—my real name is Mary Carter—Mary Patricia Carter. Named after my mother, Mary Patricia who went by Pat, named after her mother Mary Patricia who went by Mary, and I was supposed to go by Mary Pat. (If you’re confused, believe me, so was I). I started saying my name was Mary Pat Matricia Carter—and after driving everyone nuts with that, supposedly I came home from school one day, threw my exhausted four-year-old self to the floor and said—Just call me Mary. (I don’t remember that at all, I must have blocked out the trauma). In a normal world, having the middle name Patricia wouldn’t make me any kind of expert on Saint Patrick’s Day, but given that the day makes us all go a little bonkers, I can admit I do feel a kinship with my ancient namesake: Saint Patrick.

Stay tuned for some fun facts about my BFF and his special day!

In USA Today bestselling author Carlene O’Connor’s eighth Irish Village Mystery, the long-engaged garda of County Cork, Ireland, Siobhán O’Sullivan and Macdaras Flannery, are about to get married at last. But just as the rowdy O’Sullivan brood and all the regulars of the local bistro have gathered at the church, the nuptials come to an abrupt halt when the discovery of an unidentified skeleton puts the wedding on pause…

If only her mother could be here! The entire O’Sullivan brood—not to mention the regulars from Naomi’s Bistro—have gathered at St. Mary’s Church for the wedding of Siobhán and Macdara. It’s not every day you see two garda marrying each other. Only Siobhán’s brother James is missing. They can’t start without him.
But when James finally comes racing in, he’s covered in dirt and babbling he’s found a human skeleton in the old slurry pit at the farmhouse. What farmhouse? Macdara sheepishly admits he was saving it as a wedding surprise: he purchased an abandoned dairy farm. Duty calls, so the engaged garda decide to put the wedding on hold to investigate.
James leads them to a skeleton clothed in rags that resemble a tattered tuxedo. As an elderly neighbor approaches, she cries out that these must be the remains of her one true love who never showed up on their wedding day, fifty years ago. The garda have a cold case on their hands, which heats up the following day when a fresh corpse appears on top of the bridegroom’s bones. With a killer at large, they need to watch their backs—or the nearly wedded couple may be parted by death before they’ve even taken their vows. . .