Book Review: Death of an Irish Mummy by Catie Murphy
Death of an Irish Mummy by Catie Murphy is the third book in the Dublin Driver Mystery series, where former combat medic turned limo driver Megan Malone is squiring a self-proclaimed heiress around Dublin until she finds the woman dead and must investigate to solve her murder.
Just to give you an idea of how much I enjoyed this third installment of the Dublin Driver Mystery series, I immediately ran to purchase the first two books once I’d finished so I could get caught up on all the entertaining adventures of Megan Malone, intrepid American Irish limo driver and mystery solver. A former combat medic, the 40-something Megan has taken advantage of Irish citizenship laws to reestablish herself in Dublin after separating from the U.S. Military. To her surprise and consternation, though, she’s running into more unexpected dead bodies while driving around well-off clients than she had in her former career.
At least this latest slate of corpses she’s looking at has been dead for quite a while, as she chauffeurs Texan Cherise Williams on her quest to exhume the mummy of a former Earl of Leitrim. Cherise is convinced that a DNA sample will prove that she’s the great-granddaughter of the son who ran away to America and is thus the current heir. But Cherise is running into unexpected, at least to her, resistance, in no small part due to simply barking up the wrong trees.
A brash American voice bounced off the crypt’s limestone walls and echoed unpleasantly in the small bones of Megan’s ears. She, being Texas-born and not quite three years in Ireland, knew from brash Americans. Cherise Williams fell squarely into that bracket. Megan had been driving Mrs. Williams around Dublin for two days, and recognized the brief, teeth-bearing grimace the young tour guide exhibited after only knowing the woman for ten minutes.
Like Megan had done dozens of times herself, the guide turned his grimace into a smile as he shook his head. “No, ma’am, the earls are interred, but not among the mummies on display. As you can imagine, the church can hardly condone breaking open coffins to admire the mummies, so those we see here are…”
He hesitated just briefly, and Megan, unable to help herself, suggested, “Free-range?”
Megan’s wry sense of humor carries her through most such encounters, but not even her usually successful attempts at lightening potentially fraught situations can do anything to remedy the trauma of Cherise’s sudden death. Worse, she discovers Cherise’s body while bringing Cherise’s daughter Raquel, just flown in from Texas, to meet her. Raquel is soon joined by her own grieving sisters, Sondra and Jessie, who each have their differing opinions of their mother’s quest.
Megan is more than ready to honor her company’s initial contract to chauffeur the Williams women around, but her discovery of this latest body has her normally tough-as-nails boss and landlady, Orla Keegan, flipping out. She’s not the only one, as even Megan’s friend Detective Paul Bourke of the Irish police force is having to fend off irate inquiries from his superiors as to Megan’s unfortunate knack for stumbling across corpses.
Orla, however, takes it to the next level by trying to both fire and evict Megan. She’s forced to reconsider—first, when the Williams sisters demand Megan’s services as a driver and guide; second, when Megan invokes her legal rights; and third, when the Garda come around suspecting that Orla herself is somehow involved in Cherise’s murder. Orla agrees to give Megan her job and her lease back in exchange for Megan clearing Orla’s name.
Since Megan has every intention of helping the Williams sisters figure out who killed their mom, this is an easy bargain for her to make. But when it becomes clear that whoever killed Cherise won’t be satisfied with just one fresh corpse, it will take all Megan’s wits and expertise to save her clients and herself in the process.
This was an entirely charming cozy mystery, with a truly delightful modern-day heroine navigating life in Ireland as a woman proud of both her American and Irish roots, even if she can look at them both with a self-deprecating sense of humor. The sense of place is strong and makes me long for a return visit to Ireland as well.
Megan usually loved the drive through Dublin’s city center, even during the worst of its traffic. Crawling through the streets let her gaze linger on the landmarks—the General Post Office on O’Connell Street, which held a place in Irish history as being the headquarters for the 1916 Easter Rising, still bore wounds from that rebellion. A critical client, examining the pits and holes in the massive Georgian pillars, had once said, “Why don’t they fix those?” then exclaimed, “Oh, they’re historical holes!” at her explanation. She smiled every time she went by, remembering that.
With the world opening up again, perhaps a visit to Dublin might be in the cards for lucky travelers soon! For readers without the opportunity to do so, reading books like this one is the next best thing, especially since it fully showcases the growing diversity of the Emerald Isle. As funny and smart as its heroine, Death of an Irish Mummy makes a grand case for enjoying life in Ireland, vicariously or otherwise.