Behind the Book


9780727885968Cora Harrison’s A Shocking Assassination is out this week. It is the second in her Reverend Mother Mystery series set in 1920s’ Southern Ireland.  Here, she shares some of the background to the book.

After the war of independence in Ireland, civil war broke out between those who wanted to accept a treaty with the UK and those who wanted complete independence. Even after the civil war petered out in most of Ireland, Cork, the rebel city, still fought on. Back then, it was a bitterly divided city, split politically but also separated by wealth and abject poverty. The poor were crowded into rotting Georgian houses, often with ten or more people in one room. There was virtually no employment for an unskilled man, so many deserted their wives and families and went to England. It’s in the centre of these people that I place my Reverend Mother Aquinas, who is a practical woman and knows that the city has one of the highest rates of prostitution and child prostitution in the whole of Europe.

My father and mother lived in Cork during these years. My father was a young solicitor from a wealthy family and my mother was from a poorer family. At the time, she was a convent schoolgirl with memories of the nuns telling them to run home from school as there was shooting on the streets.

After she retired from teaching, Cora Harrison turned to writing historical fiction and lives on a farm near the Burren in the west of Ireland.  As well as the Reverend Mother series, she is the author of the ‘Mara’ series of Celtic mysteries, set in 16th-century Ireland.

Praise for Cora Harrison:

 “Mistaken identities, strange twists, an intelligent and likable heroine, and a tragic tale of sex, greed, and betrayal – make sure your historical mystery readers get this one on their radar”  Booklist Starred Review of A Shameful Murder

“Harrison combines a savvy detective and a setting fraught with intrigue and tension for another winner”  Publishers Weekly Starred Review of A Shameful Murder

“Compassionate and wise, the Reverend Mother is a strong and distinctive character …Recommend for readers who enjoy M. C. Beaton and Carol Higgins Clark”  Library Journal on A Shameful Murder

Visit our website here for further information on Cora Harrison and her books.



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