The Haunting Ballad
A Lee Plunkett and Mr. O'Nelligan Mystery by Michael Nethercott
Review: Young Connecticut private investigator Lee Plunkett and his well-versed, cultured Irish friend Mr. O'Nelligan, who has an aptitude for solving mysteries, are hired to investigate a suspicious death in Greenwich Village, in The Haunting Ballad, the second mystery in this series by Michael Nethercott.
It is 1957. Lee has decided to take his fiancée Audrey to the Village to visit with a few of her friends, who had moved there recently. Audrey was thrilled to get away from their little town of Thelmont, even for just a day. They went to the Café Mercutio, a Bohemian coffeehouse, where they listened to the melancholy, sometimes gloomy and sad songs and poems and met their writers. They watched a lively squabble between Lorraine Corbin, a professional song catcher, accusing another writer, Byron Spires, of stealing one of her songs. Tony Mazzo, the owner, stopped argument and Lorraine stormed out of the room. It was a ninety minute drive back to Thelmont so Lee was anxious to get on the road, and they left soon thereafter. A few weeks later word came that Lorraine Corbin had killed herself by jumping off of the roof of her four story apartment building. Lorraine's younger sister did not believe Lorraine would take her own life so hires Lee to go back to the Village and seek out the true story of Lorraine's death. Together with his good friend Mr. O'Nelligan, Lee takes on the assignment. There are plenty of suspects with motives at the Café Mercutio, including the owner Tony Mazzo. There is also a family of balladeers with possible connections to the IRA, and a blues singer, who is also an ex-con, and even a 105-year-old Civil War drummer boy is a suspect, along with a self-proclaimed "ghost chanter", who sings songs she receives from the dead. Lee and Mr. O'Nelligan adopt their "Holmes and Watson" personalities, and began their search for clues to eliminate the suspects one by one.
The storyline in The Haunting Ballad is fairly complex, though straight-forward to follow. The process of deduction is put into play here, as one by one the suspects are interviewed for motive and opportunity. And when the impossible has been eliminated, whoever remains, however improbable, must be the killer. The multi-faceted characters are interesting, but it is Lee and Mr. O'Nelligan and their interpersonal dynamic that are a delight to read. This is definitely a series worth watching and following.
Special thanks to guest reviewer Betty of The Betz Review for contributing her review of The Haunting Ballad.
Acknowledgment: Minotaur Books provided a copy of The Haunting Ballad for this review.
Review Copyright © 2014 — Hidden Staircase Mystery Books — All Rights Reserved
Selected reviews of other mysteries by this author …
The Séance Society
Minotaur Books (Hardcover), October 2013
ISBN-13: 9781250017390; ISBN-10: 1250017394
Location(s) referenced in The Haunting Ballad: Greenwich Village, New York City
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The Haunting Ballad by Michael Nethercott — A Lee Plunkett and Mr. O'Nelligan Mystery
Publisher: Minotaur Books
Publication Date: September 2014
List Price: $25.99
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Page Author: Lance Wright
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