A Dublin Murder Squad Mystery by Tana French
Review: Tana French's third Dublin Murder Squad mystery, Faithful Place, is more of a personal journey of discovery for one of its officers than a murder investigation, though it is that as well, when the body of Frank Mackey's girlfriend when he was a teenager is found hidden in a building on the street where he grew up.
Faithful Place is two rows of buildings, each housing three or four families. Frank Mackey, "nineteen, old enough to take on the world and young enough to be all kinds of stupid," and his girlfriend Rosie Daly, have decided to take off together for London, away from their families and the dead-end lives they see for themselves if they stay. Only Rosie never showed up at their designated meeting place, leaving instead a note saying goodbye to her family. Frank left anyway, alone, and now, 22 years later, is an undercover police detective, divorced with a daughter. But now a body has been found in one of the buildings being renovated, a body identified as Rosie Daly. Having never forgotten her — and never forgiving himself for leaving — Frank returns to the street of his youth. "In between the moment when she left that note on the floor of Number 16, in the room where we had our first kiss, and the moment when she went to heave her suitcase over some wall and get the hell out of Dodge, something had happened." He's ordered not to participate in the investigation, but that doesn't stop him from pulling some strings from the sidelines.
Faithful Place is written in an expansive, literary style, immersing the reader into the lives of a multi-generational family. Parental responsibility, sibling rivalry, individuality, independence and loyalty are all explored here. The narrative is often lyrical; when Frank returns to Faithful Place, he muses, "Things around here were much more like they used to be than they ever had been." When he realizes that Rosie had intended to run away with him, he's alternately relieved that he hadn't been stood up, and angered that someone had come between them in the most permanent manner: "She had been coming to me, and she had almost made it. There had been about ten yards between us and our hand-in-hand brave new world. It felt like freefalling, like being shoved out of a plane with the ground rushing up hard towards me and no parachute cord to pull."
This exceptional novel has elements of a police procedural as well as elements of a standard whodunit-style mystery, and will likely appeal to readers who enjoy either genre. With a cast of memorable characters and an intriguing plotline, Faithful Place will certainly be remembered as among the best suspense novels to be published this year.
Acknowledgment: Viking Press provided a copy of Faithful Place for this review.
Review Copyright © 2010 — Hidden Staircase Mystery Books — All Rights Reserved
Selected reviews of other mysteries by this author …
Viking (Hardcover), July 2012
ISBN-13: 9780670023653; ISBN-10: 0670023655
Location(s) referenced in Faithful Place: Dublin, Ireland
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Faithful Place by Tana French — A Dublin Murder Squad Mystery
Publication Date: July 2010
List Price: $25.95