Review: A Finnish delegation is in Belfast to look into the possibility of establishing a factory to produce electronics in the region, with a requisite number of reporters following their every move. When one of these reporters, Lily Bigelow of the Financial Times, is later found dead in Carrickfergus Castle, an apparent suicide, detective Sean Duffy is there to dot the Is and cross the Ts for the police. But he's puzzled by a number of elements surrounding her death, and doesn't close the case immediately, in Rain Dogs, the fifth mystery in this series by Adrian McKinty.
The coroner complicates matters by declaring that Lily probably didn't die from a fall, but was killed earlier and her body dumped over the top of the castle. But with the castle grounds locked up tight overnight, and the only way in or out through a massive gate that can only be opened from the inside, does that imply the castle's only guard, an elderly man, is the killer? What could possibly be his motive? Duffy definitely has a locked room puzzle on his hands, and as improbable as it may be, it's the second in his career. Maybe the best solution is the simple one, that the guard killed Lily, reason to be determined, and for him to move on to more pressing cases. Like the murder of a Chief Superintendent, killed by a mercury tilt bomb in his car. Still, Duffy can't seem to close the case on Lily's death. There has to be something he's missing …
This series, set in the late 1980s in Northern Ireland during The Troubles, is a fine one, and Rain Dogs won't disappoint fans of it. The cast of characters, Duffy in particular, time and place are all pitch perfect. And it's hard to go wrong with a solidly set up and intricately developed locked room-style mystery, even if the solution to it isn't original in the least. The issues here, and they are really quite minor ones, are that the storyline is just a little more complicated than it needs to be, creating a few unnecessary tangents that slow up the narrative and really don't advance the plot significantly, and an ending (completely unrelated to Duffy's investigation) that can at best, and charitably, be described as cozy, completely out of character with the style and tenor of the series to date. This latest entry is recommended, as are all of the previous titles, but if there is another to follow, proceed with caution.
Acknowledgment: Seventh Street Books provided an ARC of Rain Dogs for this review.
Review Copyright © 2016 — Hidden Staircase Mystery Books — All Rights Reserved
Selected reviews of other mysteries by this author …
Gun Street Girl
Seventh Street Books (Trade Paperback), March 2015
ISBN-13: 9781633880009; ISBN-10: 1633880001
Location(s) referenced in Rain Dogs: Belfast, Northern Ireland; England; Finland
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Rain Dogs by Adrian McKinty — A Sean Duffy Mystery
Publisher: Seventh Street Books
Format: Trade Paperback
Publication Date: March 2016
List Price: $15.95
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Page Author: Lance Wright
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