I wish this were not a trilogy. This is the third (and presumably the last) of McKinty’s “Troubles” trilogy. Disgraced and thrown off the police force after having been reduced in rank after his dissing of the FBI in the second volume, Sean is sought out by Special Branch to help locate Dermot McCann, an old acquaintance and IRA terrorist, who had escaped from jail. They fear he is about to embark on a new bombing campaign. They hope his knowledge of the area and McCann’s friends, not to mention that they know he’s a really good detective, will help them locate the terrorist.
To make things really interesting, McKinty adds a locked room mystery to the mix. Mary Fitzgerald’s daughter, Lizzie, had died, ostensibly in a tragic accident as she was closing up her father’s bar. All the doors were locked and barred, there were bars on the windows, there was no attic, and no entrance through the basement. Supposedly she was changing a light bulb by standing on the bar, slipped, fell, and broke her neck. All the evidence points to an accident, but the part-time coroner insists her injuries were not consistent with a fall.
Mary Fitzgerald knows where McCann is and offers a trade: Dermot’s location for Lizzie’s killer.
The last chapter, really a form of epilogue is a bit strange. It foretells what McKinty knows will happen politically with a bit of puppet stringing thrown in for good measure. <i> “I’ll tell you a little story. After victory in the Franco-Prussian war, an adjutant went to General Von Moltke and told him that his name would ring through the ages with the greatest generals in history, with Napoleon, with Caesar, with Alexander. But Moltke shook his head sadly and explained that he could never be considered a great general because he had ‘never conducted a retreat.’” “And that’s what you’ve been doing here, is it? Conducting a retreat?”</i>
Duffy is a great character, a Catholic in a Protestant institution, the RUC and we see what desperate straits Northern Ireland was in during the euphemistically named “Troubles.” I hope McKinty brings him back. In the meantime, I intend to read his other books.
Read the series in order.
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