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Cruel Winter: A County Cork Mystery (edition 2017)

by Sheila Connolly (Author)

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126768,668 (3.63)1
Member:Kris_Anderson
Title:Cruel Winter: A County Cork Mystery
Authors:Sheila Connolly (Author)
Info:Crooked Lane Books (2017), 304 pages
Collections:Your library
Rating:***
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Winters Past: A County Cork Mystery by Sheila Connolly

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I always love a good locked room story, so when a snowstorm threatens tiny Leap, in Ireland, everyone in town and at Maura Donovan's pub battens down the hatches to prepare, I was ready to be entertained. Not wanting to turn any travelers away, Maura keeps the pub open and is rewarded with several folks, looking to ride out the storm. One is discovered as the chief suspect in a two decades old murder. In this framework, Diane relates the story of what happened the night of that long ago murder, with help from the long memories of some townsfolk. The groups acts as jury, with Maura in charge, all listening and proposing other ideas of how the crime may have been committed. And while it got a bit repetitious, I liked how they group was able to come to other conclusions. Although the fifth in a long running series, it would read well alone because of the way this story is told. ( )
  ethel55 | Mar 21, 2017 |
A freak winter snow-storm strands employees, regulars and assorted others at Sullivan’s Pub in County Cork, Ireland. American owner Maura Donovan is concerned at first about food, heat and sleeping space – but it eventually comes down to keeping the group occupied while awake. Turns out one of the strangers at Sullivan’s, Diane Caldwell, was suspected of the murder of a neighbor 20 years earlier. She was questioned by police but never charged and the suspicion has been hanging over her head.

Maura suggests and everyone agrees it would be good to hear Diane’s story – her side, which was never aired at the time of the crime. By coincidence, a police officer who was a newcomer to the force 20 years ago is among the strangers, too. As the evening progresses, new facts and opinions arise as to who could have been the murderer.

I’ve read all the books in this series, and must say this is the best yet. Readers who like more action in their mysteries might want to pass on Cruel Winter. As for me, I don’t mind a story that unwinds slowly, mostly by dialogue, including internal dialogue. I must applaud the author for carrying it off in such stellar fashion. ( )
  NewsieQ | Mar 17, 2017 |
Cruel Winter by Sheila Connolly is the sixth book in A County Cork Mystery series. Maura Donovan owns Sullivan’s Pub in Leap, Ireland. Maura inherited the pub from Old Mick Sullivan nine months ago, after the death of her grandmother. This is Maura’s first winter is Ireland and she is unprepared (she had originally only planned to spend a week in Ireland). Maura heads to Sullivan’s to check in with Mick Nolan, her bartender. A big snow storm is expected to come through that night and Maura is unsure what to do to prepare for it (she is from Boston where they have big snowstorms frequently). It turns out that other people do not want to stay home alone during the storm and decide to visit the pub. One of pub’s patrons turns out to be Diane Wolfe Caldwell. Diane was questioned in the murder of her neighbor, Sharon Morgan twenty years ago. In the court of public opinion, Diane was found guilty. The murder is still unsolved. Maura decides that this is the perfect opportunity to hear Diane’s story and get some answers (Maura wants to prove that Diane did not commit the crime).

Cruel Winter is nicely written and can be read alone (the author provides the necessary background information on Maura and how she ended up in Ireland). I did, though, find the pace of the novel to be extremely slow. The story takes place over the course of one day (a very long, drawn out day). I give Cruel Winter 3 out of 5 stars. The mystery is one that plays out over the course of the novel. Most readers will be able to figure out the whodunit before the reveal. I did find some elements of the story to be unrealistic. Maura knew winter was coming, but she has no winter clothes (wouldn’t you purchase some clothes if you did not bring them with you). Maura has been responsible for the pub for nine months, but she has no clue how it is run. I found it odd that after living in Boston, Maura has no idea on how to prepare for a storm (making sure you have fuel, food, batteries, blankets, water). There is some information that is repeated throughout the novel (how Maura only planned to stay in Ireland one week and facts about the murder). For some reason, Maura felt it necessary to keep recapping the facts presented about the murder. I found Cruel Winter to be atypical for Sheila Connolly. I have read her other cozy mysteries and enjoyed them. In future books of A County Cork Mystery series I would like to see Maura start to grow up and take responsibility. In Cruel Winter, we do get to catch up with Jimmy, Rose, Mick, Gillian, Harry, Sean, Eveline, and Old Billy. ( )
  Kris_Anderson | Mar 9, 2017 |
This was the first book I've read in the County Cork Mystery series and also my first book by Sheila Connolly. The book series is about Boston native, Maura Donovan, who has moved to Ireland after her grandmother's death, and now is the owner of a pub in town after she inherited it from her grandmother's friend. Winter has moved in, and moved in fast. Snow has stranded about 10 people in the pub overnight, with nothing else to do than solve a twenty year old murder mystery.

That in itself, sounds like a great book to me. I liked the characters, the town, and the murder mystery story a lot. The characters had great depth, and I really felt like I knew them. I want to know where Rose, Mick, and Gillian's stories go. The town sounds like a place I want to visit. I want these people to be my neighbors!

However, this was really hard for me to read. I felt like a lot of the book was characters just repeating themselves. They even said a few times, "Like I said before..." Or they would recap (often) where they left off before taking a break. This caused me to skim some pages, because I didn't want to read the same things again, but I didn't miss anything by doing this either.

I really wanted to like this more, because the murder mystery story is a really interesting one... And I definitely didn't know who had dunnit. But it did leave my a little disappointed.

I received this book from the author in exchange for a fair and honest review. ( )
  Maggie.Chavarria | Mar 6, 2017 |
Cruel Winter by Sheila Connolly is the sixth book in A County Cork Mystery series. Maura Donovan owns Sullivan’s Pub in Leap, Ireland. Maura inherited the pub from Old Mick Sullivan nine months ago, after the death of her grandmother. This is Maura’s first winter is Ireland and she is unprepared (she had originally only planned to spend a week in Ireland). Maura heads to Sullivan’s to check in with Mick Nolan, her bartender. A big snow storm is expected to come through that night and Maura is unsure what to do to prepare for it (she is from Boston where they have big snowstorms frequently). It turns out that other people do not want to stay home alone during the storm and decide to visit the pub. One of pub’s patrons turns out to be Diane Wolfe Caldwell. Diane was questioned in the murder of her neighbor, Sharon Morgan twenty years ago. In the court of public opinion, Diane was found guilty. The murder is still unsolved. Maura decides that this is the perfect opportunity to hear Diane’s story and get some answers (Maura wants to prove that Diane did not commit the crime).

Cruel Winter is nicely written and can be read alone (the author provides the necessary background information on Maura and how she ended up in Ireland). I did, though, find the pace of the novel to be extremely slow. The story takes place over the course of one day (a very long, drawn out day). I give Cruel Winter 3 out of 5 stars. The mystery is one that plays out over the course of the novel. Most readers will be able to figure out the whodunit before the reveal. I did find some elements of the story to be unrealistic. Maura knew winter was coming, but she has no winter clothes (wouldn’t you purchase some clothes if you did not bring them with you). Maura has been responsible for the pub for nine months, but she has no clue how it is run. I found it odd that after living in Boston, Maura has no idea on how to prepare for a storm (making sure you have fuel, food, batteries, blankets, water). There is some information that is repeated throughout the novel (how Maura only planned to stay in Ireland one week and facts about the murder). For some reason, Maura felt it necessary to keep recapping the facts presented about the murder. I found Cruel Winter to be atypical for Sheila Connolly. I have read her other cozy mysteries and enjoyed them. In future books of A County Cork Mystery series I would like to see Maura start to grow up and take responsibility. In Cruel Winter, we do get to catch up with Jimmy, Rose, Mick, Gillian, Harry, Sean, Eveline, and Old Billy. ( )
  Kris_Anderson | Jan 11, 2017 |
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