Kathleen Valentine's Reviews > False Mermaid

False Mermaid by Erin Hart
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's review
Jun 17, 2011

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Read in June, 2011

I had a very mixed reaction to this book. The writing was fine -- neither noteworthy nor annoying -- and the story held my interest. At least part of it did. Nora Gavin, a pathologist who has been working in Ireland for five years following the murder of her sister, returns to her home in Minnesota leaving behind her lover Cormac. Nora has learned that her sister's husband, whom she suspects of being the killer but who has never been arrested for lack of evidence, is about to re-marry and Nora is worried about Elizabeth, their 11 year old daughter.

Back in St. Paul Nora is faced with new evidence that seems to further implicate her brother-in-law, her still-grieving parents, and a former lover who wants her back. The mystery unfolds from there. Back in Ireland Cormac is dealing with a dying father and an ancient mystery in the form of a woman who disappeared a century earlier but who was rumored to be a selki, one of the seal-women that sailors and fishermen claimed as their brides for as long as they could keep their seal-hide hidden from them.

I loved the selkie story, the legends, folklore, and bits of interwoven lore that fill this book. The mystery in Minneapolis was somewhat less fascinating. I found a few of the characters too contrived and frankly the tale got a bit convoluted. I found myself skimming the main mystery just to get to the selkie parts.

I'd give this book 3.5 stars if that were an option and I may try some of Ms. Hart's other books in the series at some point. Perhaps I should have read the first books in the series before this one. I wouldn't hesitate to recommend the book to anyone looking for a mystery story but I did feel that the main mystery itself was considerably inferior to the secondary/selkie mystery.

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