A June of Ordinary Murders is the debut Victorian Era historical mystery by Conor Brady about a Dublin detective who begins piecing together a connection from string of suspicious deaths (available April 21, 2015).
In the 1880s the Dublin Metropolitan Police classified crime in two distinct categories. Political crimes were classed as “special,” whereas theft, robbery and even murder, no matter how terrible, were known as “ordinary.”
Dublin, June 1887: The city swelters in a long summer heat wave, the criminal underworld simmers, and with it, the threat of nationalist violence is growing. Meanwhile, the Castle administration hopes the celebration of Queen Victoria's Golden Jubilee will pass peacefully. Then, the mutilated bodies of a man and a child are discovered in Phoenix Park and Detective Sergeant Joe Swallow steps up to investigate. Cynical and tired, Swallow is a man living on past successes in need of a win. With the Land War at its height, the priority is to contain special crime, and these murders appear to be ordinary—and thus of lesser priority. But when the evidence suggests high-level involvement, and the body count increases, Swallow must navigate the treacherous waters of foolish superiors, political directives, and frayed tempers to solve the case, find the true murderer, and deliver justice.
Friday June 17th, 1887
The place where the bodies of the adult and the child were found was cool and shadowed before the sun burned off the morning mist.
It was on wooded ground that sloped down towards the river with a view across the city towards the mountains. Swallow knew it well. When the muttering constable with sleep in his eyes and clutching the crime report dragged himself up to the detective office from the Lower Yard of Dublin Castle, he could see it in his mind’s eye.
This was where the boundary wall of the Phoenix Park met the granite pillars of the Chapelizod Gate, and where beech and pine trees formed a small, dense copse close by.
At this point, the trees are trained by the wind that funnels along the valley of the River Liffey towards Dublin Bay, inclining them eastward as if permanently pointing the way to the city. Outside the wall the ground falls away towards the river with the open fields and the village of Chapelizod beyond.
It was here, just inside the boundary wall of the park, that a keeper found the two bodies on the third morning of the extraordinary heatwave that settled on the island of Ireland in the third week of June, 1887.
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