Saturday, May 20, 2006

Title: Haunted Ground
Author: Erin Hart
Published: 2003, Scribner
Category: Mystery
Rating: 7/10

This is one of the first books in a long time that I read simply from having picked it up in B&N and thinking it looked good. Pretty much everything on my TBR list has been recommended to me, or is by a favorite author, or is something I've at least read positive reviews for (by someone or some source I trust). I had never heard of this book, or this author. I think I picked it up because it said it was a Booksense pick, which generally means it's a midlist book that got a lot of bookseller attention. I actually didn't buy it in B&N, because I'm poor and have made myself the promise not to buy books that I'm not sure I'm going to want to keep. I put it on hold at the library. Have I mentioned how much I love the Brooklyn Public Library? I LOVE THE BROOKLYN PUBLIC LIBRARY. 60 branches! Huge collection! Great online system! Yes, horrible public bathrooms, but hey, you can't have everything.

Haunted Ground is set in Ireland, present-day. A farmer is cutting turf in a bog when he uncovers the head of a young, red-headed woman. The police confirm that it is several centuries old (organic matter can be amazingly well preserved in bogs), and call in archaeologist Cormac Maguire and pathologist Nora Gavin. Through the book they uncover clues as to who this woman was and what happened to her. Threaded into this plot is the story of a local man whose wife and child have been missing for over two years. The local detective is still investigating whether they were murdered, and if so who the culprit is.

The two stories are entwined cleverly. The conclusion is very satisfying; both stories are tied up neatly, if a bit tragically, at the end. I really liked the tone of this book--very atmospheric with great descriptions of Irish settings and customs.

A good mystery, especially if you're interested in archaeology, forensics or Irish history. There is a sequel out, Lake of Sorrows. I'll put it on my TBR.

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