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Haunted Ground

(Nora Gavin #1)

3.68  ·  Rating details ·  6,613 ratings  ·  782 reviews
A dazzling debut -- already an international publishing sensation -- combining forensics, history, archaeology, and suspense.
Introducing Erin Hart, who brings the beauty, poignancy, mystery, and romance of the Irish countryside to her richly nuanced first novel.

When farmers cutting turf in a peat bog make a grisly discovery -- the perfectly preserved severed head of a yo
Hardcover, 328 pages
Published April 29th 2003 by Scribner Book Company (first published April 8th 2003)
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Average rating 3.68  · 
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May 11, 2012 rated it really liked it
In books with historical content, I need to trust that the author has done the research. I did look up a few things, but trusted Erin Hart on several points. Being educated about Bog People and their preservation was really interesting. Considering the destruction of the peat bog in favor of a fuel source for personal use and profit versus the environmental impact of the harvesting of an un-renewable resource was also a thought provoking topic. I’m surprised more was not said about the flora and ...more
Mar 04, 2010 rated it it was ok
When a pair of scientists go to investigate an ancient body discovered in a bog, they stumble into a more modern mystery in a small Irish community.

The author certainly has a way with language, but I found this book difficult to get interested in. The mystery story is coincidence-heavy, and I didn't feel that it meshed all that well with the archeological aspects. I thought the romance side of things was fairly flat, I just couldn't get why this couple was into each other. Part of that could be
Athira (Reading on a Rainy Day)
I finished reading this book at lunch yesterday, but since then I have been puttering around gathering my thoughts. The truth is, right after finishing it, I was not sure what I felt. I definitely felt relieved, since there was a lot of jargon in it that I didn't care for, but I know I enjoyed it too.

Firstly, this is not an easy book to get into initially. I read the first page of the book many times before I felt comfortable in going ahead. The first page is the most important page for me. I wo
Marty Selnick
Haunted Ground is a book chosen by one of the book groups I am a member of. It is a book I would have probably overlooked on my own. Generally speaking I am not inclined to read gothic mysteries. That said, this is a pretty good book that has history and archaeology interwoven in a suspenseful plot with not one, but two, mysteries. The first centers around a severed head recovered from an Irish peat bog, the other concerning a missing woman and child from a nearby estate.

Most enjoyable to me ar
Oct 22, 2011 rated it liked it
Shelves: mysteries, 2011-reads
Rating Clarification: 3.5 Stars

Haunted Ground is a very decent debut novel by writer Erin Hart. I enjoy reading stories where they have a historical subplot running along side of the present day story (in this case, the identity of a well preserved, decapitated head found in an Irish bog).

Hart's writing is easy to cosy up to, and her characters are well drawn and interesting. The slight romantic component was probably my least favorite aspect of the book. It seemed a little forced, and didn't ad
Azita Rassi
Dec 03, 2018 rated it it was amazing
What a debut! She's so adept in creating the atmosphere that I could even feel the cold, the immense silence, and the smell of smoke as vividly as if I were right there in the thick of things. The layered mysteries were presented perfectly, with different pieces of the puzzles being with different people.
The only thing I'm not buying is that the series is referred to as the Nora Gavin series, whereas I didn't feel her centrality at all. She was a big part of the story, sure, but hers was not the
Feb 01, 2013 rated it really liked it
I thought this was a pretty good first book for this author. It was a bit slow in the middle after the surprising beginning of finding the red-head's head in the bog. Like others have said, I loved learning about bog bodies and some of the history of Ireland. The suspense began to build up after book 2 (this average-sized book is broken down into 3 "books"). (view spoiler) Pretty enjoyable read. ...more
Chris Conley
Sep 24, 2018 rated it really liked it
My first Nora Gavin. Liked it very much. I am going to keep going and see where she goes next.
Overall I did not find Haunted Ground enjoyable, which is disappointing since I would love to find some decent books set in Ireland. Haunted ground features tedious writing and a lot of superfluous details that add very little except boredom. I often felt as though I was reading through molasses I was so bored and bogged down with infodumps and far too many issues for one book to hold. There were two mysteries, each character brings a lot of personal issues, there was a forced attempt at a roman ...more
Apr 19, 2013 rated it really liked it
Haunted Ground is the 1st book in the Nora Gavin series. A farmer is cutting peat and discovers the head of a red headed woman. This brings archaeologist Cormac Maguire, pathologist Nora Gavin and Detective Garret Devaney together. There are two mysteries in this book. One is the story behind the red headed woman who was found in the bog. The other mystery is about a mother and her son who disappeared on their way home from the village. The atmospheric location is Galway county in Ireland.

I like
Jenny (Reading Envy)
Another volume in my attempt to read more mysteries - this one is an archaeological mystery set in Ireland, where a "bog body" has been discovered. The archaeologist and historian involved work on simultaneous mysteries - one set in ancient Ireland, and one in the present. I was impressed by the unique feeling of this book and it actually made me interested in the mystery itself (a small feat). ...more
Shelby *trains flying monkeys*
Aug 16, 2009 rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-2010
I enjoyed this book. Interesting subject matter with a touch of forensics. Gothic setting. :)
Bridget Vollmer
Mar 08, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: ireland, 2019-read
A wonderful atmospheric mystery set in Ireland. If you enjoy a slow burn mystery with gothic undertones I’d highly recommend this novel.
Robert Beveridge
Jan 22, 2008 rated it really liked it
Erin Hart, Haunted Ground (Scribner's, 2003)

Erin Hart's first novel, Haunted Ground, shows some of the hallmarks of a first novel, but fortunately sheds them as the pages turn, and we end up with quite a fine read here. If you picked this up and couldn't get past the first few pages, press on. Trust me on this.

The story revolves around an ensemble of characters, but the central two (who seem to be becoming a detective team, as Ms. Hart's website informs us that she is working on a second novel f
Mar 25, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2016-goal, mysteries
Excellent mystery featuring an archeologist and pathologist who begin to unravel an ancient mystery only to be caught up in a modern one. I liked learning more about Ireland and the Cromwell era from that country's perspective. Plus, our hero and heroine both turn out to have some of their own unsolved issues. They are assisted by a local Detective who also has his own demons to vanquish.

Character development seemed to run in fits and starts but knowing this is the first in a series, I'm guessi
May 29, 2016 marked it as to-read
That synopsis sounds eerily familiar - have I read this already??

If not, I want to.
Lynn Spencer
Jun 24, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: mystery
This unusual mystery took a little while to get off the ground, but once it did, I found it quite satisfying. Set in Ireland, the story gets off to an intriguing start when a local farmer discovers the preserved head of a young woman in a local peat bog.

Called in to investigate and hopefully figure out the age of the find are Irish archaeologist Cormac Maguire and Nora Gavin, an Irish-American pathologist. The mysterious find is a fascinating thread that runs through the story, but it is a moder
I could not get into this story. And failed to understand that Nora was the main protagonist. She was not very well developed and her reactions were unrealistic.
Reindert Van Zwaal
Overall the book was too slow paced. The Until halfway I was quite interested, but after that it became a bit tedious and repetitive. I liked the Irish atmosphere and landscapes described especially in the first part.
Mar 17, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: mystery, kobo-kindle
A very well done mystery. Although the two protagonists had personal issues, these didn't overwhelm the story. I will definitely continue with this series. ...more
Haunted Ground begins with an Irish farmer cutting turf in a peat bog and finding more than he bargained for. The square of peat that he removes reveals a perfectly preserved head of a red-haired young woman. The local police call in Irish archaeologist Cormac Maguire and American pathologist Nora Gavin to work on the site and find out how long the bog has kept its secret. The searchers are unable to find the rest of the woman's remains. While the search is going on, local landowner Hugh Osborne ...more
Dec 31, 2011 rated it liked it
An oddly unfocused murder mystery with no assurance that there has even been a murder until late in the story. The severed head of a red-haired girl is found preserved in a peat bog in Ireland, and it is quickly determined that she died 400 years ago. A local woman and her young son simply disappeared from the face of the earth two years ago, and academics from Dublin, come to investigate the bog discovery, have the feeling that the two events are somehow connected. (I don't see why anyone who d ...more
Mar 09, 2013 rated it liked it
While he is cutting turf in a peat bog, an Irish farmer discovers the well preserved remains of a beautiful red headed girl. Archaeologist Cormac Maguire and pathologist Nora Gavin are asked to investigate the find. As they spend time in the little town of Dunbeg, Cormac and Nora make discoveries about the unfortunate girl from the bog and also uncover clues in the recent disappearance of a mother and her young child.

When I got this book I thought the story would focus mainly on the girl found i
When the perfectly preserved head of a red-haired young woman is found in a in a peat bog on a farm in County Galway, Ireland, archaeologist Cormac Maguire and pathologist Nora Gavin are called in to consult on how long the head may have been there. Local police officer, Garrett Devaney, uses the discovery to resume his search for Mina Osborne and her son, whose disappearance two years ago still remains unsolved. Her husband, Hugh Osborne, has always been the main suspect and his land is located ...more
Erin Hart – 1st book
When head of a young woman is uncovered in an Irish peat bog, Irish archaeologist Cormac Maguire and American pathologist Nora Gavin are called to investigate. However, they also become involved with landowner Hugh Osborne, whose wife and son have been missing for three years.

I loved this book! It gave a real sense of Ireland, its people and it’s history, while telling a very good story. And, there were a couple twists and turns at the end that even I didn
Edwina Callan
Oct 01, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: bookcrossing, 2016
Like an archaeological dig site the plot of this book is revealed very slowly, in many layers upon layers. Numerous characters, plot and subplots galore, the storyline creeps along at a snail's pace and, as a rule, all of these things tend to get on my last nerve ... but not this time, because even though I was eager to find out the who, what, and why of everything, the waiting the worth it.
Bravo, Erin Hart, on an excellent first novel. Looking forward to returning to the bogs of Ireland with yo
Sheila Beaumont
A riveting, complex, well-told mystery set in Ireland, a captivating blend of 17th-century history, gothic suspense, evocative descriptions of the western Irish landscape, well-portrayed characters, Irish music and folklore, and archaeology, with much fascinating information about peat bogs and the disastrous effects of Cromwell's resettlement of Irish Catholics. Now I'm looking forward to the sequels, Lake of Sorrows and False Mermaid. ...more
Becky Lavoie
Jun 10, 2017 rated it it was amazing
It's like this book was made for me. History, bog bodies, romance, suspense--had me hooked from page one and binge reading every chance I got. ...more
Kristin Miller
Sep 01, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I enjoyed this mystery and found the premise of the body in the bog facinsting.
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Play Book Tag: Haunted Ground by Erin Hart - 3 Stars 1 11 Mar 15, 2017 07:03AM  
Review #4 1 3 Mar 14, 2017 08:57AM  
Review #4 1 2 Mar 13, 2017 01:38PM  
2017 Reading Chal...: Haunted Ground 1 11 Jun 09, 2015 07:14PM  
What's the Name o...: SOLVED. Murder mystery book set in Ireland involving body(ies) found in the moors [s] 12 100 Feb 03, 2013 08:50PM  

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ERIN HART'S archaeological crime novels are set in the mysterious boglands of Ireland. She introduced pathologist Nora Gavin in one of the most lauded mystery debuts of 2003: HAUNTED GROUND (2003), was a Booksense 76 pick, won the Friends of American Writers award and Romantic Times' Best First Mystery, was shortlisted for Anthony and Agatha awards, and translated into ten foreign languages. LAKE ...more

Other books in the series

Nora Gavin (4 books)
  • Lake of Sorrows (Nora Gavin, #2)
  • False Mermaid (Nora Gavin #3)
  • The Book of Killowen (Nora Gavin, #4)

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