American pathologist Nora Gavin fled to Ireland three years ago, hoping that distance from home would bring her peace. Though she threw herself into the study of bog bodies and the mysteries of their circumstances, she was ultimately led back to the one mystery she was unable to solve: the murder of her sister, Trona. Nora can't move forward until she goes back to her home, to the scene of the crime, to the source of her nightmares and her deepest regrets.
Determined to put her sister's case to rest and anxious about her 11-year-old niece, Elizabeth, Nora returns to Saint Paul, Minnesota, to find that her brother-in-law, Peter Hallett, is about to remarry and has plans to leave the country with his new bride. Nora has long suspected Hallett in Trona's murder, though there has never been any proof of his involvement, and now she believes that his new wife and Elizabeth may both be in danger. Time is short, and as Nora begins reinvestigating her sister's death, missed clues and ever-more disturbing details come to light. What is the significance of the "false mermaid" seeds found on Trona's body? Why was her behavior so erratic in the days before her murder?
Is there a link between Trona's death and that of another young woman? Nora's search for answers takes her from the banks of the Mississippi to the cliffs of Ireland, where the eerie story of a fisherman's wife who vanished more than a century ago offers up uncanny parallels. As painful secrets come to light, Nora is drawn deeper into a past that still threatens to engulf her and must determine how much she is prepared to sacrifice to put one tragedy to rest...and to make sure that history doesn't repeat itself.
©2009 Erin Hart (P)2010 Audible, Inc.
"Rich with atmosphere and Irish legend, this exceptionally crafted story of murder, family secrets, and redemption is a welcome addition to Hart’s suspenseful series.” (Library Journal)
“Few writers combine as seamlessly as Hart does the subtlety, lyrical language, and melancholy of literary fiction with the pulse-pounding suspense of the best thrillers.” (Booklist)
“Many readers will find this passionate, complex novel almost impossible to put down.” (Publisher's Weekly)
I really enjoyed this book from beginning to end. It took me several chapters to get used to the strong irish accent of the narrator but after I got used to it, I loved it! Her accent added more depth to the book. It's interesting when you find out why the book is titled "False Mermaid". There are twists and turns in the book that will keep you turning the page or in the audible version - it will make you keep your earphones in !!!
Great story, with twists that added an enjoyable depth to the narrative. The writing captured the feeling of the Irish countryside and the romance of the Irish fairy tales. I love the character developments.
The narrator was great - loved her style and ability to breath life in to the story.
Would thoroughly recommend this to anyone who likes mysteries - of the folk story kind as well as murder/police investigation kind.
I thoroughly enjoyed the production.
Very perplexing -- I've listened to hundreds of audiobooks in the last 20 years, and this has never happened before, but I absolutely could not stay focused on this book. Time and time again I backtracked, realizing my mind was "off with the fairies", only to loose it again, and then again. One section I think I "listened to" about three times, and still couldn't stay with the story. I can't quite identify the problem -- very strange, because I've read two Erin Hart books before and generally liked them. I expected to enjoy this recording a lot -- but that didn't happen.
It might be the narrator -- no problem with the Irish accent (I wouldn't know an authentic Irish accent from a bad one), but the constant switches among the piping of the little girls voice, the high-pitched garble of the policeman, the broad and somewhat grating American accents.... I found myself paying more attention to how she was pronouncing the words than following the story. Very odd. It just didn't grab my attention -- and I tried, I really did.
I finally gave up about three hours from the end -- at a point at which I realized that even though I didn't have more than a vague idea what this book was all about, I still knew what was going to happen next. When exactly what I expected did happen, I decided that was it. Enough.
Having enjoyed the previous Nora Gavin stories, I looked forward to reading one with a foot in St. Paul. I appreciate her "sense of place" details from both MN and the Donegal coast. The links with traditional music and folklore make this a satisfying read. Details of the mystery, from both this current book and the previous two, are tied together through characters in the subplots and unexpected connections - very well done. I look forward to more from Ms. Hart. I enjoyed the narration a great deal. While male voices, particularly American, were harder to believe, I found the differences in dialect, between northern Donegal and Dublin or Clare very true and a wonderful detailed addition.
Mother of 3, grandmother of 6, retired nurse and substance abuse counselor. Thrilled to have the time to read or listen to books again.
I kept getting lost in the telling of this book, I kept listening because I wondered if it was just me as I was having a lot of problems following the story line. My mind continued to wander no matter how hard I tried to stay focused. Personally I like a book that holds my attention and this one failed on all levels.
Descriptive, Mystery, Legend
It was a bit predictable, but there was a twist.
She was able to switch from both Irish and American accents and also from female to male quite effectively.
I didn't have an extreme reaction. I liked the inclusion of the silkie legend in the story, which made me want to read more about the history.
This book was pretty good, although I thought it was a bit long, and the character development was a bit superficial. Its strengh was in the description of the Irish setting and the connection between the silkie legend and the contemporary story.
I love all genres of books. However, when I listen to audio books as I clean, garden, drive they are better with a lot of heat!
I appreciate her "sense of place" details from both MN and the Donegal coast. The links with traditional music and folklore make this a satisfying listen. I enjoyed the narration a great deal. I loved the Irish acsent and then the American it really seperated the charaters. I would highly recommend this book.
Retired CFO, Army wife, Mom of five, Grandma of six, two sons who served in combat, love to read books that reflect my values and faith, love mysteries, historical, military stories, and books that don't waste my time . . . if it doesn't have an ending that was worth the wait, I'm not a happy camper.
First off, let me say, I loved the narration, loved the Irish folk lore, and TRIED HARD to love the story, but it went on too long, without enough substance to keep it going . . . I wish it had enveloped me and took me on the journey, but as hard as I tried, it just didn't quite make it . . .
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This is, perhaps, a unique specialty in the murder mystery category.
I have listened to all three of the books. I do enjoy a mystery, an independent woman, and a bit of character(s) development. Needless to say there is travel to peat bogs when there is a new discovery, urgency to excavate the mummy, and pressure to solve the mystery.
The narration is well done.
Erin Hart's three mystery novels set mostly in Ireland have been compelling and enjoyable experiences. She has woven together murder mystery, a little romance, and a wonderful exposure to many of the nuances of Irish culture and history and mythology into the fabric of a very satisfying novel.
The narrator does an excellent job of providing clear distinctions between the characters and reads with good pacing, great expression, and what sounds to me like an authentic Irish accent for the Irish characters.
I would certainly highly recommend this novel and Hart's other two novels: Lake of Sorrows and Haunted Ground.
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