“When a skeleton is discovered in the hidden crypt of a deconsecrated church, everyone is convinced the bones must be those of Conor Devitt, a local man who went missing on his wedding day six years previously. But the postmortem reveals otherwise. Solicitor Benedicta “Ben” O’Keeffe is acting for the owners of the church. She is reluctant to get involved, but when Conor’s brother dies in strange circumstances shortly after coming to see her, she finds herself drawn into the mystery. Whose skeleton is in the crypt and how did it get there? Is Conor Devitt still alive, and if so, is there a link? What happened on the morning of his wedding to make him disappear? Negotiating between the official investigation – headed up by the handsome but surly Sergeant Tom Molloy – and obstructive locals with secrets of their own, Ben unravels layers of personal and political history to get to the truth of what happened six years ago.”
-Synopsis from inside front cover
Death at Whitewater Church is book one in the Inishowen Mystery series by Andrea Carter. I first discovered this book a few years ago. I remember checking it out at the library and not getting around to reading it at the time. I kept it on my to-read list, however, because I knew that I wanted to read it eventually. Now was the time!
I’m so glad that I decided to read this book. It was a great mystery that kept me hooked from the very beginning when Ben O’Keeffe finds the skeleton in the crypt at Whitewater Church. Ben is fairly new to Inishowen and still learning about the local history as she’s been getting to know her neighbors.
The story of Conor Devitt, the man who disappeared six years ago, unravels in bits and pieces throughout the book as it is told to her by various people. Ben only gets personally involved in things when Conor’s brother, Danny, comes to her for help and then dies mysteriously afterward. She feels compelled to find out more about the Devitt family and their history, which is tied to Inishowen’s political history.
At times the terminology in the book tripped me up. It took me too long to figure out by Googling that solicitor meant lawyer, which I think would have helped me understand Ben’s job a little better. I also didn’t quite understand what the Garda was until I looked it up after finishing the book. Oops! I gathered that Tom Molloy was part of a police force so that one wasn’t as confusing for me.
I wished that the ambiguity between Ben and Tom Molloy had been explained a little earlier on. She mentions at the beginning that something happened between them but it isn’t revealed until later. An even bigger reveal that came later eventually explained why Ben was in Inishowen in the first place. I think knowing her backstory earlier would have helped move it along and provide more depth to her character. Still, the revelations about her past brought everything full circle, and none of it was a letdown by any means.
Overall, I really enjoyed this read. It takes place in February so the vibe is wintery, dark, and mysterious. It was the perfect winter mystery to read in the winter. I loved it, and can’t wait to read the rest of the series.