For his new crime novel, Assassins, set at the time of the Talks for Irish independence in 1921, award-winning author and scriptwriter, Jim Eldridge, returns to his Irish roots.
Jim – whose grandmothers were both Irish – lived in Banteer in Co Cork from 1989 until 1998. During that time he produced the Banteer Drama Group, developing them from a group who did sketches to one of the most prestigious Drama Groups in Ireland, travelling all over Ireland and the UK with their productions of Irish classics and modern drama. Out of the Drama Group came the Glen Theatre in Banteer, created by Jim and his wife, Lynne, and now one of the foremost venues for drama and music in Munster. During his time in Ireland, Jim also wrote scripts for RTE, including being short-listed for the Golden Rose of Montreux for one of his episode for RTE’s TV sitcom “Upwardly Mobile”.
Now, Jim brings his own history from Banteer into his new novel. The grandmother of the novel’s hero, DCI Paul Stark, migrated from Banteer to England at the time of the famine. Stark is reminded of this fact by both the legendary Michael Collins and British Special Branch, as Stark works to solve the murder of a British aristocrat. Is the murder the work of Irish Republicans, as Special Branch claim? Or Bolsheviks? Which is the theory put forward by Winston Churchill – the Secretary of State for the Colonies – who is heavily involved in the talks with Collins, Robert Childers, Arthur Griffiths, Ned Broy and the rest of the Irish Delegation.
The prestigious American literary magazine, Kirkus has given Assassins a positive thumbs-up in its review:
“Against a backdrop of political unrest, a multiple murderer wreaks havoc in post-World War I Britain.October 1921. Shots are fired outside the residence of Lord Amersham’s home in Regent’s Park. When Scotland Yard DCI Paul Stark arrives with his sergeant, Robert Danvers, he’s confronted by a furious Winston Churchill, Secretary of State for the Colonies. Three bullets found their mark, indicating that the killer was an experienced gunman. Amersham’s vocal opposition to both the British Communist Party and the fight for Irish independence made him the target of many. Suspicion naturally falls on charismatic Irish Republican Army leader Michael Collins, who at first bristles under Stark’s questions but ultimately offers his assistance. Besides providing interesting nuggets of history, Eldridge depicts his lead characters with complexity and compassion, auguring well for this series kickoff.”
Assassins can be ordered at any bookshop or from any online vendor.
The next title in this series, Shadows of the Dead, will be published in the UK in January 2017.
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