Mar 8 2016. 290 p. Prometheus/Seventh Street, paperback, $15.95. (9781633881303). e-book, (9781633881310).
The chronicles of Carrickfergus detective Sean Duffy open a sardonic portal to 1980s Belfast; every detail rings true, from the persistent threat of mercury-tilt car bombs to the complex criminal motivations that breed in a climate of unrest. Financial Times reporter Lily Bigelow is covering a Finnish technology giant’s highly publicized visit.
The morning before the Finns’ scheduled departure, Lily’s body is found in Carrickfergus Castle, an apparent suicide from the castle walls. Duffy isn’t convinced, but the only other explanation is a locked-room murder, and it’s unlikely that he’d see another of those after solving the killing of Lizzie Fitzpatrick in a locked pub (In the Morning I’ll Be Gone, 2014). Duffy traces Lily’s movements in Belfast, telling his boss that he’s tying up loose ends for the inquest. His investigation reveals a strong motive for murder; Lily was secretly investigating an anonymous tip implicating iconic celebrity Jimmy Savile, the visiting Finns, and powerful political players in a sex-abuse ring.
Duffy is warned off the case by his superiors and dangerous representatives of the aforementioned suspects, so it’s no easy feat to figure who murdered Lily Bigelow, not to mention how they managed to do it in a locked castle. McKinty manages a second locked-room success and folds in the recent headline-snatching Jimmy Savile scandal to boot; another great standout in a superior series, combining terrific plotting with evocative historical detail.
— Christine Tran