‘They’re dead. They’re all dead. It’s my fault. I killed them.’
Those are the words of Iona Gardener, who stands bloodied and staring as she confesses to the murder of four people in a run-down cottage outside of Belfast.
Outside the cottage, five old dolls are hanging from a tree. Inside the cottage, the words “WHO TOOK EDEN MULLIGAN?” are graffitied on the wall, connecting the murder scene with the famous cold case of Eden Mulligan, a mother-of-five who went missing during The Troubles.
But this case is different. Right from the start.
Because no one in the community is willing to tell the truth, and the only thing DI Danny Stowe and forensic psychologist Rose Lainey can be certain of is that Iona Gardener’s confession is false….
I haven’t read anything else by Sharon Dempsey before Who Took Eden Mulligan?, which I found to be an intriguing Irish crime novel with some really likable, interesting characters.
The story follows our two protagonists: Danny Stowe, a Detective Inspector leading his first case in a rural area outside of Belfast, and forensic psychologist Rose Lainey, one of Danny’s childhood friends. Rose returns to the area for her mum’s funeral but ends up being pursuaded by Danny to stay and help him investigate a perplexing murder case.
A young girl has confessed to murdering four of her university friends in a frenzied attack, but the evidence doesn’t quite add up. There are links to a cold case where a woman disappeared for no apparent reason many years before. Together, Danny and Rose start to investigate.
The novel is not just about the investigation but their relationship, with tension and history between them bubbling under the surface, as well as Rose’s family history affecting her treatment of the case. The novel’s themes also includes lots about the IRA and The Troubles, and this subject is really interesting to read more about. The plot moves along quite slowly, so I wouldn’t say I was a particularly fast-paced read, if thats what you’re into.
The characters in this novel feel realistic and interesting, and I would happily read more about Danny and Rose, so I do hope this becomes a new series.
Many thanks to the publisher, Avon Books, for providing a copy of this novel on which I chose to write an honest and unbiased review.