Independently Published (2022)
Reviewed by Robert Leon Davis for Reader Views (12/2022)
“Old Sins” is the third book in the Maria Pell Mystery Series by Lynne Handy. Maria Pell, a University teacher from Indiana, has gone through a lot in life. A lover of all things poetic and a writer of poems, it’s a huge part of her life – one might even say it is her life! After her long-time partner of 12 years was caught cheating with a colleague, she felt what was her worst fear – rejection! After feeling despondent and dejected she decided that a complete change of venue might be just what she needs in her life.
Maria accepted an invitation through a fellowship program to spend 18 months in Ireland to study Celtic history. Not only would this provide an opportunity to heal from her bad relationship, she would be afforded the chance to visit a different country studying something she’s always loved. She eventually moved to the quaint and rustic town of Coomara, Ireland, to begin a new chapter in her life.
After moving there, a friend of hers was found naked and murdered on the rock cliffs of the sea! Later, other strange deaths seem relatable in this small town, which previously enjoyed no murders! Who was doing such a mad thing? Was it one perpetrator or a group? Maria was now forced to become a crime sleuth to help solve the mysteries! And later others learn she possessed a certain skill to solve the mysteries? What is that skill?
“Old Sins” by Lynne Handy is one of those what I call “old time mysteries” meaning that the actual suspense begins right off the bat from the very beginning, and it’s an exciting way to engage readers immediately. This book does that exceptionally well. I also enjoyed the way the author used a quaint, old-fashioned locale to bring the characters to life. Readers need and should feel the story, as if it’s applicable to them; sort of inserting yourself as the criminal, victim, investigator, etc., and I was able to feel like a participant in the drama.
In addition, the main characters are brilliantly displayed in their respective roles, and the story also has a lot of twist and turns; enough to really be interesting, but not so many that it’s boring. The actual settings are what stands out the most to me, though. There’s some interesting Celtic/Irish folklore involved, along with archaeology and ancient religions. Vivid descriptions of the landscape and fauna tie everything together. Word usage was really something I appreciated with this book as well, as I’ve found that mysteries don’t read well with “big words” causing one to consult a dictionary frequently! The ending threw me for a twist, a very intriguing ending. Beautifully written mystery! ….5 stars