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Publisher's Summary

Having been abandoned on the steps of an orphanage as an infant, lovable car thief and Dublin charmer Mahony assumed all his life that his mother had simply given him up. But when he receives an anonymous note suggesting that foul play may have led to his mother's disappearance, he sees only one option: to return to the rural Irish village where he was born and find out what really happened 26 years ago.

From the moment he sets foot in Mulderrig, Mahony's presence turns the village upside down. His uncannily familiar face and outsider ways cause a stir among the locals, who receive him with a mixture of excitement (the women), curiosity (the men), and suspicion (the pious).

Determined to uncover the truth about what happened to his mother, Mahony solicits the help of brash anarchist and retired theater actress Mrs. Cauley. This improbable duo concocts an ingenious plan to get the town talking about the day Mahony's mother disappeared and are aided and abetted by a cast of eccentric characters, both living and dead.

Himself is a simmering mixture - a blend of the natural everyday and the supernatural, folklore and mystery, and a healthy dose of quintessentially Irish humor. The result is a darkly comic crime story in the tradition of a classic Irish trickster tale, complete with a twisting and turning plot, a small town rife with secrets, and an infectious love of language and storytelling that is a hallmark of the finest Irish writers.

©2017 Jess Kidd (P)2017 Simon & Schuster Audio

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Masterful narration of a clever story

Jess Kidd has written a very funny, very colorful mystery set in a small town in County Mayo on the west coast of Ireland. Mahony is a 26-year-old man living in Dublin who was raised in an orphanage there. He receives a clue about his birth parents, and heads to Mulderrig to try to unravel the mystery.

The story alternates between the present (1976) and the time of his birth (1950 and earlier). The characters are brilliant, with Mrs Cauley, a geriatric actress masterminding the investigation. The cast includes many ghosts who also populate the village alongside the living. Jess Kidd's dialogue captures the lyrical slang of Ireland (often a bit salty, so don't get your bollix in a twist!) and her constant similes had me laughing out loud. I do have to say that the story gets to be almost overwhelming about 3/4 of the way through the book and I found myself often skipping back a minute or two to make sure I didn't miss something. There is an incredible amount of action and many characters involved in it. As a warning, there are several gruesome descriptions of killings throughout the story: while this book has much humor throughout, it is a dark mystery at its core.

This story is brilliantly brought to life by Aiden Kelly's narration. He has a different voice for each character, and seamlessly switches from the dead impish little girl, Ida, to the laid-back Mahoney, or the sanctimonious false piety of Father Quinn and Mrs. Kelly. This book was meant to be heard in an Irish brogue.

18 of 18 people found this review helpful

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Lush and imaginative and well performed

Aiden Kelly does a superb job performing and narrating this imaginative novel, lushly and brazenly written about basically the stranger who comes into a small town and cleans up its little bit of corruption for it. There is a bit of horror, fantasy, mystery, and some Clint Eastwood Wild West genre going on to tell this story set in a little town in Ireland with a delightful array of characters that Aiden Kelly masterfully distinguished and embodies. This novel thrills, amuses, and entertains.

7 of 7 people found this review helpful

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Fantastic

Incredible book, lyrically written. Told like a story passed down like a myth from a trusted grandmother. The Irish narration makes me want to cross the sea and begin a new life. Pain, friendship, discovery and growth are all explored like a new doctor picking through an infected wound, but shot through with colour and life and poetry. Highly recommended!

12 of 13 people found this review helpful

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A good story well told

I found the combination of mystery and just a bit of magical thinking very refreshing.
The narration was superb.

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

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I see dead people til I don't

It was difficult to stay engaged with this story. I was either rewriting sentences as the author did not seem to have a natural grasp for transition, or my mind wandered and I didn't care about the part I missed. The narration was fine, can't fault performance.

10 of 11 people found this review helpful

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  • Rebecca
  • Seattle, WA, United States
  • 02-06-18

Clever, darkly humorous mystery

I really enjoyed this book. Sly humor and dark mystery abound when a young man returns to village of his birth seeking answers as to what happened to his mother.
This novel is difficult to sum up. It’s style is unique. It is a who-dunnit twenty years ago, and who’s doing it now, with a spiritualist twist. Really great character development. I listened to it twice straight through, because I wanted to make sure I hadn’t missed anything.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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Great read

Looking for a well told, easy listen, entertaining story? This hits the spot. Beautifully descriptive, funny, and charming.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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Unique and entertaining

Great story. Full cast of characters. Wonderful narration. I enjoyed every moment of this book.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Wonderful book!

Both author and reader are extremely talented!! Command of language was exceptional and I look forward to reading/listening to author’s other works.

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Even Better than Neil Gaiman

Kidd’s prose is imaginative and rich. Just the right balance of magic and darkness, and of the hardness and the thrill of community. Written and performed beautifully.