Tag Archives: Sheila Connolly

A day in the life with Meg Corey Chapin by Sheila Connolly

When I arrived in Granford, Massachusetts, I was ready to turn around and run after a week. My mother wanted me to fix up and sell a family home she’d inherited, that I’d seen only once in my life. It was the middle of a New England winter, and it was cold and damp (both inside and outside the house). The problem was, I’d lost my job and given up my Boston apartment, and I really had nowhere to go.

That was before my ex-boyfriend was found dead in the septic tank in my yard. And then I disrupted a town meeting to get at the truth of how he died. Heck of a way to introduce myself in a new town.

Meg’s old house

Meg’s new house

What a difference a couple of years can make! I’ve just married the “boy next door,” Seth Chapin, who literally lives next door, as his family has done for centuries. He was the one who found that body I mentioned. He really didn’t like me much when we first met. Well, that changed.

I needed a job, and I kind of knew there were apple trees on the property where I was staying (it took me a while to think of the place as “mine”), and it definitely didn’t occur to me that I could make a living from those spindly bare trees. Wrong again: Now I manage (with some skilled help) an orchard and sell my crop, and I’ve even expanded it to include more heirloom varieties. I even helped create a new and much-needed restaurant in the center of town, featuring local produce.

And I’ve solved more than one murder. I really didn’t see that coming—but who would? I don’t go looking for murder, and I don’t pretend I have any knowledge or expertise that applies, but somehow I keep getting pulled in. Don’t blame Seth, because one of those murders happened in my parents’ back yard in New Jersey.

Granby Church

Sadly, the latest victim was Monica Whitman, a nice, friendly older woman who retired to Granford with her husband. She threw herself into town activities and made friends quickly—and then she died suddenly and unexpectedly. Did I tell myself, “oh, I must go investigate?” No, of course not. I simply offered her husband my sympathy and asked if he needed help, and things got more complicated from there. The fact that the local police chief is a friend to both Seth and me is purely coincidental.

Granby old town hall

But I’m not a busybody or a know-it-all. I’m simply a member of the Granford community, by marriage and by choice. If something goes wrong in the town—and murder is the biggest wrong I can think of—I want to see it put right, and mostly I’ve been able to help. That’s what being part of a community means, and Granford is my home now.

You can read more about Meg in A Late Frost, the 11th book in the “Orchard” mystery series.

The usually quiet town of Granford, Massachusetts, is even drowsier during the colder months. But this year it’s in for a jolt when Monica Whitman moves into town. She’s a dynamo who wants to make friends fast in her new home, and she throws herself into community activities. Meg Corey, now Chapin after her marriage to Seth Chapin, is intrigued by the new arrival, who has already sold the town board on a new, fun way to bring in visitors during the off-season: WinterFare, which will feature local foods (such as Meg’s apples) and crafts, as well as entertainment.

Tragically, Monica falls ill and dies after the event in what looks like a case of food poisoning. When all the food served at WinterFare has been tested, including Meg’s apples, it becomes clear that there’s a more sinister explanation to the older woman’s sudden demise.

Meg’s investigation uncovers a bushel of potential suspects, one of whom is rotten to the core.

Includes Delicious Recipes

Buy Link

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Giveaway: Leave a comment below for your chance to win a print copy of A Late Frost. U.S. entries only, please. The giveaway ends November 18, 2017. Good luck everyone!

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About the author
Sheila Connolly, Anthony and Agatha Award–nominated and New York Times bestselling author, writes mystery series set in Philadelphia (the Museum Mysteries), rural Massachusetts (the Orchard Mysteries), and Ireland (the County Cork Mysteries), as well as a paranormal romance series (the Relatively Dead series). She will introduce a new Victorian Village series set in Maryland in 2018. In addition, her short stories have appeared in multiple anthologies. Formerly a professional genealogist, she currently lives in Massachusetts, surrounded by many, many departed ancestors, with her husband and three cats, and owns a cottage in West Cork in Ireland, where her father’s family came from.

All comments are welcomed.

A day in the life of Maura Donovan by Sheila Connolly

cruel-winterBefore I moved to Ireland last year, I spent all my life in Boston. There are real winters there. It snows in Boston, which makes the whole city a real mess for a day or three. That was the only time I was glad we didn’t own a car, because it would have been a pain to dig out a car, even if you could find a parking space.

Now I live in Ireland, in West Cork, which is in the southwest part of the country. I got here last March, so this is my first winter here. It snowed.

By Boston standards this snowstorm was kind of a joke, but Ireland’s not used to snow at all. Like, the county owns about two snowplows (and it’s a big county!), which they use on the highways. Forget about all the small roads leading out into the country—a snowplow is useless there. If you live up that way—which I do—you just have to wait until the snow decides to melt before you can go home.

I don’t have a television or a radio at my house—and I don’t own a computer or even a fancy cell phone (they call them mobiles here)—so I didn’t know it was going to snow until I showed up at the pub I own, Sullivan’s, which is on a main road in Leap. The people who work for me—Mick, Jimmy, and Rose—were all there (better to use someone else’s heat than pay for your own, right?), and there were a few customers too. The pub opens at 10:30 on weekdays, and there’s always somebody stopping in. Old Billy Sheahan was there too—he lives at the other end of the building, so it’s easy for him to get to the pub. He spends most of his days in front of the fire at Sullivan’s (and we’re happy to have him).

After I got there it started to snow, and then he snow really got going, and a few more people drifted in. Some I knew, some I didn’t, but I wasn’t about to turn anybody away into a storm. By the time the power went out and the cars stopped going by on the street, we had maybe a dozen people in the place, including two young musicians from Dublin who weren’t scheduled to play until the weekend but thought they’d beat the storm. They did—barely.

And there was one maybe killer, Diane Caldwell. I told you I’m new to Cork, so I didn’t recognize her or her name, but other people in the pub took me aside and told me she was suspected of killing a neighbor near her holiday cottage not far away about twenty years back. The gardaí—that’s the police here—never arrested her because there was no evidence, or not enough, anyway. Still, everybody just assumed she was guilty. Diane went back to her home in England, and stayed there—until she came back to sell her old summer place. Then she showed up at Sullivan’s, trying to get back to the airport, which wasn’t going to happen.

So there we were, stuck in the dark. But we had plenty of coal and wood for the fire, and some old oil lamps I found in the cellar, and a kitchen out back that nobody had used for years, that Rose managed to get going so she could make soup out of what we could scrounge, and of course there was plenty to drink. So what did we do? We decided to give Diane the trial she never had.

It turned out to be a very interesting night.

You can read more about Maura in Cruel Winter, the fifth book in the “County Cork” mystery series.

Snow is a rarity in Maura Donovan’s small village in County Cork, Ireland, so she wasn’t sure what to expect when a major snowstorm rolled in around Sullivan’s pub. But now she’s stranded in a bar full of patrons–and a suspected killer in a long-ago murder.

Maura’s been in Ireland less than a year and hasn’t heard about the decades-old unsolved crime that took place nearby, let alone the infamous suspect, Diane Caldwell. But the locals have, and they’re not happy to be trapped with her. Diane, meanwhile, seeks to set the record straight, asserting her innocence after all this time. And since no one is going anywhere in the storm, Maura encourages Diane to share her side of the story, which she’d never had a chance to do in court.

Over the next few hours, the informal court in Sullivan’s reviews the facts and theories about the case–and comes to some surprising conclusions. But is it enough to convince the police to take a new look at an old case?

“Move over, Agatha Christie: a pub owner in County Cork fancies herself a young Miss Marple. . . A fine read in the classic style.”―Kirkus Reviews

“Maura Donovan, the American proprietor of Sullivan’s Pub in the Irish village of Leap, offers shelter—and more—to patrons stranded by a snowstorm, in Connolly’s engaging fifth County Cork mystery.” ―Publishers Weekly

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About the author
Anthony and Agatha Award-nominated and New York Times bestselling author Sheila Connolly writes the Orchard Mysteries for Berkley, the County Cork Mysteries for Crooked Lane Books, and the Relatively Dead Mysteries for Beyond the Page Press. Her new Victorian Village Mysteries from St. Martin’s Press will debut in 2018. She loves genealogy and history and is happiest prowling around old cemeteries looking for ancestors. She lives in Massachusetts with her husband and three cats and has recently bought a holiday cottage in Ireland. Visit her on her website at www.sheilaconnolly.com and on Facebook.

All comments are welcomed.

Cruel Winter is available at retail and online booksellers or you can ask your local library to get it for you.

Giveaway: Leave a comment below for your chance to win a print copy of Cruel Winter. US entries only, please. The giveaway ends March 20, 2017. Good luck everyone!

A Day in the Life of Meg Corey, uh, Chapin? by Sheila Connolly

seeds-of-deceptionSeth Chapin and I just got married. I still find that kind of hard to believe. We first met over a body in my septic tank, almost two years ago, and for a while he was angry at me for a lot of reasons connected to that body.

Seth lived next door, and getting involved with someone you have to live around is always risky. Plus he was a plumber, and I guess I had kind of a snobbish attitude toward blue-collar trades. Of course, I didn’t have a leg to stand on, since I had somehow become a farmer. Not my original game plan.

Fast forward two years. Along the way I discovered that Seth was one of the kindest, most decent people I had ever met, and I guess we kind of fell in love. So living next door was convenient, especially when he leased me some of his property so I could expand my orchard. Purely a business deal, of course.

But I was going to talk about the getting married part. I’m pretty sure it was not the wedding my mother had always envisioned for me—we got married in a local restaurant run by friends, with only our families and townspeople around us, and that was fine. Why in December? Because that was the first breathing space we had, right after I finished up my apple harvest and Seth wrapped up some renovation projects that had to be done before winter set in (he kind of veered from plumbing to historic building restoration). And we didn’t want a lot of fuss. We were very happy with our small wedding.

And then we realized we had never planned a honeymoon. We’re not beach people, and we didn’t yearn to tramp around exotic foreign countries. We don’t like packaged tours. But we did agree that getting out of Granford, much as we love it, and going somewhere else, just the two of us (the farthest we’d been together was Vermont, only one state away) was a good idea—but where?

We decided on Thomas Jefferson’s Monticello, because Jefferson loved apples and cultivated an orchard, and he created an amazing home for himself—something for each of us. We spread the drive out over a few days, and made some interesting stops along the way, just enjoying each other’s company.

It was a lovely honeymoon—or at least the first half was. We should have known our luck wouldn’t hold. While we were still in Virginia, my mother called to say there was a small problem at my parents’ home in New Jersey, where we’d planned to stop on our way back: there was a dead body in the back yard. So of course we had to go help them out. After all, Seth and I know something about murder investigations, although I’m still not sure how that happened. Solving murders may be a bonding experience, but not the way most couples start their life together.

But it all worked out, I guess. Seth is a rock in difficult situations (staying at your in-laws’ home while arguing with local law enforcement is certainly a test!), and we got the job done. We came home and we’re still married. Now my biggest problem is whether to take Seth’s surname or keep my own. He doesn’t care—he’ll take me just as I am.

Seeds of Deception is the 10th book in the Orchard mystery series, published by Penguin Random House, October 2016.

The New York Times bestselling author of A Gala Event returns with newlyweds Meg and Seth Chapin who should be worried about writing thank you notes, not taking a juicy bite out of crime. . .

With the bushels of time they spent organizing their wedding, Meg and Seth didn’t have a chance to plan a honeymoon. But now that winter has arrived, there’s not much to do at the orchard. So with their shared love of history and all things apple, they pick Thomas Jefferson’s orchards at Monticello as the perfect getaway.

While they enjoy the beautiful sights, there’s a rotten addition to the agenda when Meg’s parents discover their handyman dead in the backyard. With a bitter police chief eyeing Meg’s father as a suspect, Meg and Seth have to cut their honeymoon short to find the root of the problem.

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About the author
Sheila Connolly, Anthony and Agatha Award–nominated and New York Times bestselling author, writes three mystery series for Berkley Prime Crime, set in Philadelphia, rural Massachusetts, and the Wild West of Ireland. In addition, she writes the Relatively Dead paranormal romance series for Beyond the Page Publishing, as well as the occasional romantic suspense. Her short stories have appeared in multiple anthologies. She lives in Massachusetts, surrounded by a few hundred of her ancestors, and in her spare time she loves to travel and to excavate old trash heaps. Seeds of Deception will be her 30th book.

All comments are welcomed.

Giveaway: Leave a comment below for your chance to win a print copy of Seeds of Deception. US entries only, please. The giveaway ends October 9, 2016 at 11:59 AM EST. Good luck everyone!

A Day in the Life of Maura Donovan by Sheila Connolly

A Turn For The BadOkay, so I’ve been in Ireland for, what, six, seven months now? I got here in March, and then it was kind of a blur for a while when I found out I now owned a pub—Sullivan’s—and a house. I mean, the most I ever owned before was whatever clothes were in my closet. And suddenly I’m a homeowner and a manager, in a country I’d never seen before. At least they speak English here, except sometimes the people are a little hard to understand.

Well, I’ve made it this far. The pub hasn’t gone belly-up yet, and I haven’t burned the house down, although I’m not really sure how the heat works. If there are taxes and licenses and stuff like that to worry about, I’m going to save them until the end of the year. Maybe by then I’ll be able to afford an accountant or a solicitor or whatever the heck it takes. Maybe.

I’m not complaining, really. There is just this one problem: I get getting involved with crimes (no, I don’t commit them). I suppose I shouldn’t be surprised. People keep coming into the pub, and they start talking, which is what I want them to do, and the next thing I know, they’re telling me about somebody who died a long time ago, or something that went missing. Why do they tell me this stuff? It’s not because I look friendly, or even wise (I’m kind of young for that). I guess they just look at me behind the bar and say, yeah, that’s a bartender, and I’m supposed to spill my guts to bartenders. Right?

Don’t laugh. It keeps happening. And now it’s happening again.

You wouldn’t think a dairy farmer who disappeared a good number of miles from here would be any of my business, but I keep finding out that everybody around here in West Cork knows everybody else and is probably related to them three different way, and that makes it everybody’s business. How come I lived in the City of Boston all my life before I came here, but after six months I know more people here than I ever did in Boston? And Sullivan’s is kind of information central, where everybody comes to swap stories and see what’s new. It’s better than the national news.

Okay, this time around it’s that missing farmer. Don’t ask me how many farmers just up and disappear, because I just don’t know. If you ask me, farming, especially with cows, is a messy job, and it wouldn’t surprise me if a lot of people get fed up with it and walk away. But the thing is, this guy left his kid behind, on the beach, wondering where his daddy went. Everybody who’s come into the pub says he isn’t the kind of man to do something like that. So the only other possibility is that somebody took him away, and either didn’t see the kid on the beach or didn’t care. Which doesn’t explain why anybody would want to grab a dairy farmer.

But when they heard he was missing, people got busy—fast. I didn’t know how many rescue agencies there were around here, like the Coast Guard and the Irish Navy, although I guess I shouldn’t have been surprised since we’re so close to the coast. There’s a lot of coast around here. Most of it is too shallow or too rocky for boats. At least, that’s what people say, but then they kind of go nod-nod wink-wink, and I’m left wondering what they’re talking about, but nobody will tell me.

Maybe whatever is going on is not quite legal? But I can’t prove that. All I can do is try to help find the missing guy, and the best way for me to do that is to listen to the people who come into Sullivan’s, because I can promise you, someone knows something about it.

A Turn for the Bad is the 4th book in the County Cork Mystery series, published by Berkley Prime Crime, February 2016.

The New York Times bestselling author of An Early Wake returns to Ireland where Sullivan’s Pub owner Maura Donovan gets mixed up with smugglers.

After calling Ireland home for six months, Boston expat Maura Donovan still has a lot to learn about Irish ways—and Sullivan’s Pub is her classroom. Maura didn’t only inherit a business, she inherited a tight-knit community. And when a tragedy strikes, it’s the talk of the pub. A local farmer, out for a stroll on the beach with his young son, has mysteriously disappeared. Did he drown? Kill himself? The child can say only that he saw a boat.

Everyone from the local gardai to the Coast Guard is scouring the Cork coast, but when a body is finally brought ashore, it’s the wrong man. An accidental drowning or something more sinister? Trusting the words of the boy and listening to the suspicions of her employee Mick that the missing farmer might have run afoul of smugglers, Maura decides to investigate the deserted coves and isolated inlets for herself. But this time she may be getting in over her head.

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All comments are welcomed.

About the author
Sheila Connolly, Agatha and Anthony award nominee and New York Times bestseller, writes the Orchard Mysteries, the Museum Mysteries and the County Cork Mysteries for Berkley Prime Crime. In addition, she publishes the e-book paranormal romance series Relatively Dead through Beyond the Page Press, most recently Watch for the Dead. Her short stories have been included in Level Best Books’ anthologies, and other e-stories have been published by Berkley Prime Crime and Beyond the Page.

Visit Sheila at www.sheilaconnolly.com and Mystery Lovers’ Kitchen where she blogs.

Giveaway: Leave comment below for your chance to win a print copy of A Turn for the Bad. US entries only, please. The giveaway will end February 19, 2016 at 12 AM EST. Good luck everyone!

My Musing ~ Edgar Allan Cozy edited by Sadie Hartwell

Edgar Allan Cozy: Wicked Short Stories is a collection of short stories and poems by Sheila Connolly, Sherry Harris, Sadie Hartwell, Edith Maxwell, Barbara Ross. Publisher: Wicked Cozy Press, January 2016

Edgar Allan CozyWhen cozy mystery writers meet Edgar Allan Poe, the result is Edgar Allan Cozy. Each story in this suspenseful new anthology is inspired by the work of Poe. “The Raven,” “The Lighthouse,” “MS. Found in a Bottle,” “The Tell-Tale Heart,” “The Cask of Amontillado,” and “Annabel Lee” have been updated and set in the fictional town of Raven Harbor, Maine. Edited by Sadie Hartwell.

This is a nice collection of poems and short stories culled from the likes of Edgar Allen Poe. I love the modern day homage to the Raven by Barbara Ross. Next up was a short story, echoing “nevermore” by Sherry Harris and I liked how it ended. As for the short story by Sheila Connelly, Edith Maxwell, and Sadie Hartwell . . . “love that twist.” And a fitting end to this collection is the poem by Sherry Harris. All six composites are excellent reads.

Tending Bar With Maura Donovan by Sheila Connolly

An Early WakeI’m still here, which is kind of a surprise. Here is the pub I inherited less than a year ago, Sullivan’s, in this place called Leap. It’s in Ireland, in a really small town. There’s a weird history to the name, about some guy a couple of hundred years ago who made his horse leap over a creek. Which doesn’t explain why it’s pronounced “lep.”

Anyway, the pub has been around almost as long as that story, and before I got it, it was run by an old guy named Mick Sullivan, who was some kind of relative of my grandmother, who raised me in Boston. I never knew Mick (mostly bandcalled Old Mick, because there’s a Mick who works in the pub now), but because of my grandmother I now have a pub, and a house outside of Leap. More than I ever expected. Gran raised me in a rental in South Boston, which was not a great neighborhood when I was a kid.

I guess I could have sold the pub and gone back to Boston, but there was no one and nothing there for me, so I figured I’d stick around and see what was what. I’d worked in bars before, since before I was legal, really, but I’d bridget cottagenever run one myself. But I’m pretty sure Irish pubs aren’t like Boston ones. I’m still trying to figure out how to bring customers in. It’s not so bad in summer, when there are tourists passing through, and we’re on a main road. But now it’s fall, and there aren’t so many tourists. Sure, I’ve got local customers, mostly men who come in once a day for a pint of Guinness and some conversation—called craic around here. No, not crack cocaine, just talk. Yeah, it’s confusing. It’s amazing how long they can nurse one pint when they get to talking.

Since I’ve been here, weird things have happened, like first somebody found an old body in a bog, and I kind of party pubhelped figure out who he was. Then there was this New York woman who came looking for a painting from some artist who died a long time ago, and she ended up a murder suspect. Is this normal? Got me. Now the people who’ve worked at Sullivan’s longer than me talked me into inviting a bunch of musicians who knew the place maybe ten or fifteen years ago back here to play. I was surprised when a lot of them came. Not that I’d ever heard of any of them, but some people told me they were big names, or at least they used to be.

I was even more surprised when one of them ended up dead. I’ve got to say, the murder rate around here is really cattlelow—nothing like Boston—so I don’t get why I keep ending up in the middle of murder investigations. At least the police—they call them gardaí around here—seem to be good guys, but I don’t know how good they are at investigating murders because they don’t see many.

You know, I don’t say it a lot, but I kind of like the place. Ireland, I mean. The people have been really good to me, and the business is doing all right. At least, if I make it through the winter. But if we keep the music events Lough Hynegoing, now and then, that’ll help bring in more customers. I’ve kind of made friends, which I didn’t expect. And I feel responsible for the people working for me at the pub, because there aren’t that many jobs around here, so I don’t know where they’d go if I closed Sullivan’s down. They’d probably get by. But honestly? I’d hate to see the pub shut down. So I’m going to keep trying to make it work. Wish me luck—which in Irish is ádh mór, or so they tell me. Easy to remember.

You can read more about Maura in An Early Wake, the third book in the “County Cork” mystery series, published by Berkley Prime Crime. The first two books in the series are Buried in a Bog and Scandal in Skibbereen. Note: Congratulations to Sheila as An Early Wake is on the New York Times Bestsellers List.

GIVEAWAY: Leave a comment by 12 p.m. eastern on February 23 for the chance to win a copy of An Early Wake. The giveaway is open to U.S. residents only. Winner will be notified within 48 hours after giveaway closes and you will have three days to respond after being contacted or another winner will be selected. Make sure to check your SPAM folder.

About the author
Sheila Connolly, Anthony and Agatha Award–nominated author, writes three bestselling cozy mystery series for Berkley Prime Crime. Her “Museum Mysteries” are based in Philadelphia, her “Orchard Mysteries” take place in rural Massachusetts, and her “County Cork Mysteries” are set in Ireland, and include Buried in a Bog and Scandal in Skibbereen, both New York Times bestsellers. In addition, she writes a paranormal romance series, which began with Relatively Dead in 2013. She has also published Once She Knew, a romantic suspense, and Reunion with Death, a traditional mystery set in Tuscany, as well as a number of short stories. She lives in Massachusetts with her husband and three cats, and visits Ireland as often as she can.

Visit Sheila at her website or on Facebook

*Photos taken by Sheila from her trips to Ireland.

Picked to Die by Sheila Connolly

Picked to DiePicked to Die by Sheila Connolly is the 8th book in the “Orchard” mystery series. Publisher: Obsidian, October 2014

It’s harvest time in Granford, Massachusetts, and orchard owner Meg Corey and her fiancé, Seth, are both racing to beat the New England winter. Meg is bringing in her apple crop with a team of workers, while Seth is working to restore an old building in the center of town. But when his project is set back due to the unexpected discovery of a skeleton under the building—and even worse, a young man related to one of Meg’s former apple pickers is found dead behind the local feed store—the couple’s carefully laid plans are quickly spoiled…

Meg can’t help but wonder: are they just unlucky, or is there something rotten in Granford? If so, she knows she’s got to seek out the bad apple before it ruins the whole bunch…

I liked it. The author did a great job in pulling this mystery together as I followed along with Meg. As always it’s good to see Meg and her friends and I’m glad we have a resolution to their personal relationship.

A Day In The Life Of Nell Pratt by Sheila Connolly

Razing the DeadEvery time I think I’ve finally settled into my position as President of the Pennsylvania Antiquarian Society, something happens. You would think that a staid Philadelphia institution would run smoothing after well over a century, but you’d be surprised at what really happens behind the scenes. I’m sure many institutions suffer from problems with documenting and caring for their collections, but I haven’t heard of many that attract crimes, including murders. Yes, plural.

And here I thought things were going well. We’d been approached by a Major Developer (one whose name is on a lot of buildings in the city) to check out the history of a property in the suburbs that he was planning to develop, because he didn’t want any nasty surprises. Well, he got them anyway, starting with the body of a local man in a pond on the land. I and another Society employee were unlucky enough to be on hand when the body was discovered. Not a good start for a major high-profile project.

Things got worse.

The victim was a zoning officer for the small township where the development was going to happen, and had no obvious enemies, so why had he been hit over the head with a rock and dumped in the pond? It didn’t take long for me to realize that it was more than a simple murder, and by the time we figured out what had really happened, there were more bodies, I had learned a lot about the history of the area—and I had helped to rewrite a small piece of the Revolutionary War. It’s not every day that someone in my position can say that.

But for me, that’s what preserving our history is all about, and why I like my job (in between finding bodies). I’m always surprised by the way the past intrudes in our lives today, and I want to make people recognize that. Philadelphia and the counties around us are so rich in history! Sadly, in the end we proved that the poor man in the pond had died because he was a history buff, and he found something that others had kept hidden for a long time.

You know, I met my, um─shoot, what do I call him? Gentleman friend? Boyfriend sounds stupid, but we’re not quite to the “partner” stage yet. But almost. Anyway, I would never have met him except that he’s a cousin of some sort to one of the Society’s board members, who comes from an old and distinguished Philadelphia family, and she dragged him to a party. Well, maybe that’s not true: he’s also an FBI agent, and with all the crimes I keep stumbling into, we probably would have crossed paths anyway. But I think he’d agree that we make a great crime-solving team.

You can read more about Nell in Razing the Dead, the fifth book in the “Museum” mystery series, published by Berkley Prime Crime. The first book in the series is Fundraising The Dead. Books are available at retail and online booksellers.

Comment on this post by 6 p.m. EST on June 24, and you will be entered for a chance to win a copy of RAZING THE DEAD. One winner will be chosen at random. Unless specified, U.S. entries only.

Meet the author
Sheila Connolly is the New York Times bestselling author and the Anthony and Agatha Award–nominated author of three cozy mystery series. Her Museum Mysteries are set in Philadelphia; her Orchard Mysteries take place in small town Massachusetts. Scandal in Skibbereen is the second in her Ireland-based County Cork Mysteries, following Buried in a Bog. In 2013 she also published ebooks Relatively Dead, a paranormal romance, and Reunion with Death, a traditional mystery set in Tuscany.

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A Conversation With Maura Donovan by Sheila Connolly

Scandal in SkibbereenThree months ago I wouldn’t have believed it, but I’m still in Ireland. In a tiny village called Leap (there’s a long story about why, but I won’t bother you with it), in County Cork. It’s on the main road along the south coast, but don’t blink or you’ll miss it. Probably you’ll be heading for Skibbereen, the next town over, which is about ten times as big as Leap, which still isn’t very big.

I inherited a pub and a house from someone I’d never even met, thanks to my grandmother. She’s gone now, so there’s no reason to go back to Boston. Now I’m running the pub and getting to know people. Pubs in the country (which is most of Ireland, except for Dublin and Cork city) aren’t grubby dark places where men go to drink without talking, and certainly not where shiny “young professionals” go to impress each other. They’re more like a place to meet, to say hello to friends, to catch up on local news, and to kind of ease into what’s left of the day. Thing is, if you’re managing the place you have to talk to a lot of people, and I’ve never been good at that. But I’m learning.

I’ve got three employees—Jimmy Sweeney and his daughter Rose, who I’m still not sure is old enough to work here, and Mick Nolan, whose grandmother lives near that cottage I ended up living in. That’s it, but that’s usually enough to keep things running. We juggle schedules depending on what’s going on, which usually is not much. Oh, I nearly forgot Old Billy (we call him old because he’s somewhere past eighty), who doesn’t actually work here but who’s here every day. The tourists who stop in really enjoy listening to his stories, and he gets a lot of free drinks that way.

Things were going pretty well until Althea Melville shows up at the pub one day and starts throwing her weight around. She’s American. Worse, she’s from New York. She says she’s in Ireland looking for a lost painting by some fancy artist, and she thinks it might be somewhere around Leap, and she wants help to find it. Trouble is, she doesn’t know how to ask nicely, and she really doesn’t get how things work in Ireland. I mean, I don’t really either, but I’ve learned a lot in the past few months and I can tell that she’s doing it all wrong. But, hey, she’s American, so I kind of had to help her out and try to steer her in the right direction.

The local manor house is the best place to look for this mysterious painting, but then she tries to wheedle her way in and ticks off the owner. Then the gardener for the place turns up dead on the front lawn. And she might have had something to do with it (although anybody who’s met Althea could tell she wouldn’t do anything that would mess up her manicure and her expensive shoes). Still, it’s a murder, so her search kind of grind to a halt, which makes Althea even more annoying to be around because she wants that painting like yesterday, for some big show she’s putting on in New York. I keep trying to explain that Irish time isn’t much like New York time, but she’s not good at listening.

But do you know, by the time we’ve solved the murder (that’s me and Sean Murphy, a police officer from Skibbereen—we don’t have any in Leap—and his detective-inspector-whatever boss), Althea’s kind of slowed down. I think Ireland is getting to her.

That happens a lot around here. I mean, look at me—I never expected to find myself here, but I like it. I’m going to stick around for a while and see how things work out.

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Meet the author
Sheila Connolly is the New York Times bestselling author and the Anthony and Agatha Award–nominated author of three cozy mystery series. Her bestselling Museum Mysteries are set in Philadelphia; her New York Times bestselling Orchard Mysteries take place in small town Massachusetts. Scandal in Skibbereen (February 2014) is the second in her Ireland-based County Cork Mysteries, following New York Times bestselling Buried in a Bog. In 2013 she also published Relatively Dead, a paranormal romance, and Reunion with Death, a traditional mystery set in Tuscany.

Sheila loves restoring old houses, visiting cemeteries, and traveling, when she’s not writing.

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