The Book of Killowen by Erin Hart

Pathologist Nora Gavin and archeologist Cormac Maguire have been called by the police to a small farm in Killowen, Ireland to examine the remains of a body found in a bog. Like most bog bodies, this one has been in the ground for a long time.  What’s unusual is that this body was found in the trunk of a car. And when removed, a second body was found underneath it.  The first man turns out to have died 1000 years ago, while the second has been dead less than a year.  Both men, however, have been murdered.

Nora and Gavin stay at a local farm while they examine the bodies. The farm is an artist’s retreat, with many people living there on a long term basis, all contributing to the farm work while also practicing their art or craft.  As the investigation proceeds, Nora and Gavin identify the earlier victim as a monk who may have also been a scribe.  The police find that the most recent victim was Benedict Kavanagh, a prominent philosopher well known to the general public as the host of a national television program.  Kavanagh was fascinated by the ancient books produced in Ireland’s early monasteries and was searching for a long lost book of philosophy. The artists at the farm turn out to have known Benedict personally.  In addition, his wife frequently stayed on the farm.  Is it possible that Kavanagh’s murder was related to the bog man?  Can Nora and Gavin solve either murder before they become targets?

I love the idea of tying a current mystery to historical events, and Ireland is a wonderful setting for this.  The Book of Killowen is the most recent in a series of mysteries starring Nora and Cormac, and it was especially good.  But you may want to start with the first one, Haunted Ground.

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