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A June of Ordinary Murders

(Joe Swallow #1)

3.63  ·  Rating details ·  331 ratings  ·  58 reviews
In the 1880s the DMP classified crime in two distinct classes. Political crimes were ‘special’, whereas theft, robbery and even murder, no matter how terrible, were ‘ordinary’.

Dublin, June 1887: the mutilated bodies of a man and a child are discovered in Phoenix Park and Detective Sergeant Joe Swallow steps up to investigate. Cynical and tired, Swallow is a man living on p
Paperback, 381 pages
Published February 15th 2012 by New Island (first published January 1st 2012)
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3.63  · 
Rating details
 ·  331 ratings  ·  58 reviews

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May 26, 2012 rated it really liked it
In reality I rated this book 4.5 stars.

“G Division divided all crime into two categories: ‘special’ or ‘ordinary’. The absolute priority was ‘special crime’ – anything with an element of politics or subversion. ‘Ordinary crime’ might be serious but it took second place to security or politically related issues.”

Dublin, June 1887. It’s the year of Queen Victoria’s Golden Jubilee and Dublin is getting ready for a visit by the Queen’s grandson. A royal visit that is worrying those in authority; for
Rob Kitchin
Aug 16, 2012 rated it really liked it
A June of Ordinary Murders is an engaging historical police procedural. The start is quite ponderous and has too much show and not enough tell, with Brady spending time setting out the organisation of the Dublin police force, sometimes repeating certain information, and positioning the main characters. As the story unfolds the storytelling becomes more lively with a number of intersecting subplots, and the tale progresses to a nice resolution. The set-up is fairly standard police procedural fare ...more
Jun 12, 2012 rated it really liked it
Enjoyed reading this over the last week. More of a full police investigation novel than a quick whodunnit, lots of layers and nuances. Plenty of historical insight into the political situation in Dublin pre-independance, but good central RIC characters. Hope there is going to be a series featuring Joe Swallow, look forward to more, there is plenty of scope with the characters and situations established.
Joanna McDarby
Jan 08, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I did like this book, I liked the characters and the plot moved along at a fairly plodding pace and picked up towards the end. I liked the fact that I couldn't identify the murderer easily.

I would like to read more from this author as there are very few historical mystery writers who set their stories in Ireland.

The only really annoying thing about reading this was because I chose to read the kindle version, everything in italics was tiny, and it became very tedious.
Charles Finch
May 19, 2015 rated it really liked it
I gave this book a blurb, which I don't often do! A very engaging read.
Amy Skretta
Jul 01, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Totally started slow, but was a delicious mystery set in a time unlike my own. I loved it.
Nov 13, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
A decent murder mystery, set in Dublin in 1887. As well as murder, there's the actions of various Irish Nationalists as the celebration of Queen Victoria's Golden Jubilee meets with public expressions of protest against British rule.
Although Conor Brady does capture the atmosphere of late 19th Century Ireland, and has obviously researched the history of the period, there's a lot of padding in the book's 400 pages and it tends to get a bit repetitive. That said, I'll probably check out the other
Rachel Lapidow
Oct 09, 2018 rated it really liked it
Brady does a great job of making you feel like you're in Ireland in the Victorian era. Joe Swallow is an interesting protagonist because although he is dedicated to his job, he is clearly a man with flaws. There were times when I didn't like Swallow, but that made the story feel more real.

At first, the murders that start the story felt very similar to murders that have happened in other books, especially those by P.D. James. As the story progresses, the identity of the victims becomes crucial.
Mar 22, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Aside from the times that it seemed to ramble endlessly with background information, this very much had the same feel as Charles Finch's Lenox series. I love mysteries set in this general time period of the late 1800s and it was interesting to have Ireland as a setting since I typically read about England, Canada or the US. The characters held my interest and the story itself was intriguing ... even if I did, at times, find myself skimming paragraphs at a time because it seemed to be just descri ...more
I was sadly not very impressed with this book. For starters, it was much longer than it needed to be, and I'm not one to say that lightly. Part of this frustration is due to the fact that Brady unnecessarily repeats himself a lot. Once you define a term for your readers, you don't need to define it again later. Once you mention a particular character's motivations or worries, you don't need to spell it all out again in the next chapter.

I enjoyed the story and the setting, though, and it was fas
Linda Brue
Jul 11, 2015 rated it really liked it
This story takes place in Dublin, in June of 1887. Two shot and mutilated bodies are discovered in Phoenix Park. Detective Sergeant Joe Swallow catches the investigation. Swallow is nearing middle age and has enemies within his department and in the press, and his many successes are in the past and he needs to solve these murders.

Dublin is baking in an unusually long summer heat wave, a crime bosses' imminent death leaves two warring factions of criminals to fight for dominance, the Prince is co
Aug 10, 2015 rated it it was ok
If given the opportunity, I would have rated this book 2.5/5.

I found the writing clumsy at times and a bit of struggle to keep my interest. The author definitely has the ability to be a good writer as Chapter 2 grabbed me and made me want more. Unfortunately, the rest of the book appeared to be a first time author in need of a better editor. At times, the book become a lengthy history lesson, which seemed unnecessary, that made me glaze over.

Try as I might, I really did not like the Joe Swallow
nikkia neil
Mar 29, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Perfect historical mystery! This book is so good I sat up in my bed and read the whole thing. I was so excited to have a great book to read I didn't even lay down, just sat up and smoked and read til it was over. Very satisfying
Georgia Lengyel
Jul 11, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: library, favorites
This book was really hard for me to get into. I almost put it aside. I finished it and it is a really well written story and great mystery.
May 09, 2015 rated it really liked it
good mystery buyer could have been shorter. Rookie mistake. here's going Brady tightens up the next one. I'll give it a try it was a good mystery with interesting characters.
Sep 22, 2014 rated it really liked it
Excellent period mystery that makes the most of it's setting and location.
More reviews available at my blog, Beauty and the Bookworm.

A June of Ordinary Murders was a Book of the Month pick a while ago, and while I missed out on getting it through BOTM, I added it to an Amazon order so I could get free same-day shipping at one point. I like mysteries with a historical setting much more than I like contemporary ones; investigation just seems so much more interesting in the days before the advanced forensics we have available now. I mean, those forensics are great for ac
Margaret Capozzolo
Aug 24, 2018 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: mystery readers, readers of books set in Ireland
Not all mysteries are created equal. I found this one to be a few steps above the run-of-the-mill pap, like the Agatha Raisin I had just finished reading. The author, a former editor for The Irish Times newspaper, knows his turf--and his history. The story is set in 1887 Dublin in the midst of a heat wave. (Yes, Ireland has them occasionally.) Without losing track of the narrative, the author is able to depict the climate of a country emerging from years of famine and heading toward revolution. ...more
Nov 26, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I read this after I read #3. The writing and plotting is excellent, and the characters well-drawn for the initial book. The competition between the different branches of security and police and the politics of the period add to the suspense. It is interesting to see police work changing due to changes in science and technology of the period: use of telephones and telegraphs, poison detection, the beginning of finger printing, the use of facial reconstruction in the case of victims mutilated. Sti ...more
Great mix historical fiction (1880s Dublin) and the newness of police detective work. Sgt. Swallow has a great relationship with Dr. Lafeyre, the medical examiner, so it was fun to read about how they were trying out "new" detective techniques together. Lots of Irish corruption, thanks to the British authorities and unrest in the country during this time period, and I loved reading about familiar streets, pubs, and landmarks in the city.
Oct 11, 2018 rated it it was ok
I finally got around to getting a new library card bit may have gotten carried away borrowing books that looked only vaguely nice to hold in my hands while I read. Mysteries are my guilty pleasure but this one was plainly just boring. The real tragedy is how once I reach the crime, I have to go along for the whole ride just to get some closure.
Jan (the Gryphon)
Feb 28, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: mystery
etective Sergeant Swallow investigates several murders committed, in the politically charged atmosphere of Ireland, in the ramping up of security for Queen Victoria's Jubilee. When the murder of a servant is swept out of his hands as a "special"--meaning political--murder, Swallow sees that the Scotland Yard (feds) mean to sweep it under the rug. He decides to solve it anyway.
Bob Harris
Dec 17, 2018 rated it really liked it
New author to me. Interesting and engrossing story and along the way get to learn some of Irish history about the time of the famine and mass emigration to the U.S. It also seems that the politics among police departments across the English-speaking globe, at least during the 18th and 19th centuries, mirrored each other.
Jun 12, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
DS Swallow is a wonderful addition to the crime pantheon, living as he does in troubled times that are not well-understood by many, myself included. I lapped up the contextual history as much as the detail of nineteenth-century policing. Hope there's more.
Jul 08, 2017 rated it liked it
I didn't find this an easy read, but persevered and enjoyed it to the end. It was a little slow though. I will read more in the series, to see how Joe Swallow's life as a detective in Victorian Dublin progresses.
Bernadette Shelby
Not a bad read. Took a long time to get to the murderers.
Jul 21, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This is first in a well done historical mystery series set in Ireland
Nov 15, 2018 rated it liked it
Straight-forward historical murder mystery, containing a bit too much historical detail and too little character development.
Nov 25, 2018 rated it it was ok
Didn't really get into this one at all. I almost gave up several times, but after reading positive reviews decided to stick it out. There really wansn't the payoff I was hoping for.
Anita H
Jan 07, 2018 rated it really liked it
Fantastic book. Can’t wait for the next one.
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Journalist, author, former editor (@IrishTimes, The Sunday Tribune), former Commissioner, Garda Siochana Ombudsman Commission.

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