Another Irish Medieval Mystery

CROSS OF VENGEANCE, by Cora Harrison, Severn House, 2014, 9781847514929

This appeared in Historical Novels Review Issue 67, February 2014

This is the tenth book in Cora harrison’s 16th-century Burren mysteries. Set in the west of Ireland, it begins with Mara, the Brehon of the Burrren, traveling with her law students and family to attend Mass at Kilnaboy church. As Brehon, Mara is the lawgiver and judge in the district. A routine duty turns into a mystery when first a holy relic is destroyed, and then a pilgrim is murdered. Harrison takes the reader through many twists and turns as Mara attempts to discover who killed the pilgrim, how it was managed, and why.

Mystery fans will enjoy Harrison’s tricky red herrings; this reviewer solved the mystery quite early, but was totally wrong. There were several other false trails throughout the story. Irish history lovers will like the information about medieval Brehonic law and the lifestyle of the times. Natural history buffs should enjoy vicariously visiting the ancient and ecologically unique Burren. There is no need to read the other books in the series to enjoy Cross of Vengeance, but it does whet the appetite for more. Recommended.

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