Ireland. 1925. The body of the priest is found wedged in a confessional cubicle. Loved by all, Father Dominic had lent a listening ear to sinners of all kinds, but who inserted a deadly weapon into that listening ear? The Reverend Mother Aquinas can do nothing more for Father Dominic, but find out who killed him, and why. Here, author Cora Harrison tells us more about the setting for her work…
I haven’t lived in the city of Cork for over sixty years, but oddly, as I write these books, I seldom hesitate. Streets, shops, houses, turns of phrase, names, scenes: all are there on the fingertips of memory. And the water, of course. The two channels of the river Lee that ran through the centre of the town, the flooded streets when high tide, spurred on by a south easterly wind, raised the river to overflow into the quays, and up through every drain. And the rain, of course; rain and fog. Dripping windows, wet streets, umbrellas, galoshes: I had forgotten about galoshes until one day my fingers wrote the word on the screen ahead of me.
And then the bright side of Cork. The shops, most dating back to the beginning of the century and even older: Queen’s Old Castle where the customers’ money and the customers’ change whizzed sixty feet high above our heads; the Munster Arcade, Cash’s. Egan’s Jewellery, its name engraved on the box where my mother’s engagement ring reposed, had its origin back in the beginning of the 19th century. And the markets: roasting chickens, potatoes, marrows, orange carrots, golden buttered eggs, chestnut-coloured hoops of drisheen resting on top of the cream-coloured honeycombs of tripe.
And the churches, of course. Forty, fifty of them. They seemed to be everywhere. Bells sounded through the day, quick signings of the cross hardly interrupting the sing-song speech of the inhabitants. I can still picture their interiors so readily: the glowing candles; the sacred pictures, the carved figures of the Stations of the Cross, the gold embroidered robes; the Italianate marble statues and altars. The dark carved confessionals, mysterious and frightening. Kneeling there in the dark, glimpsing through the iron screen the outline of a listening ear.
And that is where BEYOND ABSOLUTION is set: in that dark space of a confessional where a deadly weapon is pushed into the brain of a most beloved priest.
BEYOND ABSOLUTION by Cora Harrison is published by Severn House on 28 April (UK) and 1 August 2017 (US). For further information about Cora Harrison and her work, please visit here.
Praise for Cora Harrison’s previous book, A SHOCKING ASSASSINATION
“Period ambience, an intriguing look at a desperate time in Irish history, an absorbing plot, and a wise and intrepid amateur sleuth in the form of the Reverend Mother make this an engaging historical mystery” Booklist
“Well-drawn characters, including a lead capable of sustaining a long series, complement the clever plot” Publishers Weekly Starred Review