Solving the five year old murder of her sister, Triona, has become nothing short of an obsession for Dr. Nora Gavin as she returns to Minnesota from Ireland in an attempt to gather the evidence that will substantiate her conviction that her sister’s husband Peter Hallett was in fact the person responsible for Triona’s death.
FALSE MERMAID combines the horror of multiple 21st century murders interwoven with charming Irish folk-tales of various sea creatures and their magical connection with humans. The book is an engrossing concoction that draws the reader back and forth between current “cold cases” and the unexplained 19th century disappearance of a fisherman’s wife.
The idea of selkies temporarily abandoning their home in the sea, shedding their skins, and living on land appears to be a metaphor of sorts for several of the characters in the book whose true selves are hidden deep beneath the outer skin they show to the world.
There are numerous threads to this unconventional plot line and author Erin Hart manages to neatly knit them together while still leaving the questions concerning Nora’s boyfriend Cormac and niece Elizabeth unresolved. I have discovered that this is the third book in the Nora Gavin saga, so perhaps the love and family issues will sort themselves out in volume four. (I am assuming that certain aspects of Nora’s life such as her tenuous relationship with Detective Frank Cordova were explored in greater detail in preceding books……and that had I read those books first I would have had a better understanding of the conflicts between several of the characters). All things considered I found this to be a well written and atmospheric tale of murder most foul.