A Novel

Book - 2017
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"Having been abandoned on the steps of an orphanage as an infant, lovable car thief and Dublin charmer Mahony assumed all his life that his mother had simply given him up. But when he receives an anonymous note suggesting that foul play may have led to his mother's disappearance, he sees only one option: to return to the rural Irish village where he was born and find out what really happened twenty-six years ago. From the moment he sets foot in Mulderrig, Mahony's presence turns the village upside down. His uncannily familiar face and outsider ways cause a stir amongst the locals, who receive him with a mixture of excitement (the women), curiosity (the men) and suspicion (the pious). Determined to uncover the truth about what happened to his mother, Mahony solicits the help of brash anarchist and retired theater actress Mrs. Cauley. Together, this improbable duo concoct an ingenious plan to get the town talking, aided and abetted by a cast of eccentric characters, both living and dead. Because in Mulderrig, ghosts can be just as chatty and opinionated as the town's flesh and blood residents. Mahony's investigation incurs the wrath of sanctimonious Father Quinn and the Widow Farelly, provokes letter bombs and poisoned scones, and culminates in a riotous production of the most controversial play in Irish history."-- Provided by publisher.
Publisher: New York : Atria Books, 2017, c2016
ISBN: 9781501145179
Characteristics: 375 p. ; 24 cm


From the critics

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Oct 25, 2020

Warning: some fairly nasty violence at the start, but it's necessary to the plot. After that, we get beautiful writing, ghosts, humour, intolerance, a steadfast hero, a delightful aging actress, and a decent murder mystery.

Aug 19, 2020

hover near heaven's rim,
hold on ghost with him.
Mulderrig is beguiling and dim.
Mercy at gods whim.

When mammy depart,
my innards torn apart.
long repose since Prologue,
only recur with Jack's dog.

self-made village Sherlock,
church and police to block.
Lady bard set the stage,
feline Doosey wove the cage.

still ponder daddy who,
eye is not brown but blue.
granddaddy exiled to boo?
mystery tempted me to chew.

Nov 23, 2019

Story deals with dark topics but told with honesty, sensitivity, humour, and even ghosts. Especially endearing for anyone who has done elder care or has elderly people in their lives. Bang on funny. Engaging writing style with quirky, likable characters. I love this author and look forward to all of her future novels.

IndyPL_SteveB Oct 04, 2019

An imaginative and gripping first novel. It’s a beautifully written mystery with a combination of humor, violence, odd Irish village characters, and a lot of ghosts.

Mahony (pronounced MAH-hanee) is a young man who grew up in an orphanage in Dublin. He has had no idea of his parentage until a few days ago when he discovers one of the nuns at the orphanage has died and left him a package. It contains a picture of his mother, her name and his real name, and a note that they came from the village of Mulderrig. He travels there to find about his mother and what happened to her. He quickly discovers that the village holds many secrets, including the likelihood that his mother was murdered when he was a baby (no secret to us readers who have already seen the murder in a flashback which opens the book, although the killer is not identified). Mahony’s presence in the village stirs up everyone, from the young women noticing the new man in town to the older men who may know what happened 25 years ago.

Wonderful book with a strong Irish atmosphere, well-read in audio by Aidan Kelly. The colorful language includes a wide variety of “f-words” but also creative metaphors and beautiful descriptions.

Sep 22, 2019

This book was magical, kind of reminding me of Waking Ned Devine and The Secret of Roan Inish - part mystery, part humor, a splash of romance and local Irish town gossip, along with some supernatural occurrences! It has something for everyone and Kidd is a gifted writer.

Aug 28, 2019

Thank goodness for friends who bug you to read something you'd normally never pick up. I finally got around to this & what a wonderful, magical story it is. It begins with the premise of an orphan searching for the mother he never knew & ends up delivering a tale full of humour & mystery.

Mahoney is a charming young man who was left at an orphanage as a baby. All he has is a faded photo of his mother. Naturally he has questions & returns to her home town of Mulderrig to find out what happened. There he hooks up with Mrs. Cauley, an elderly actress who revels in shaking up the residents of this sleepy little town.

At it's heart, it's a possible murder mystery. But there's so much more to enjoy here. Mulderrig is not your typical village. It's a place where you might see frogs perform synchronized dance moves, trees eavesdrop on conversations & books can attack when threatened (do NOT piss off an anthology of Russian literature).

The prose is gorgeous & you'll find yourself grinning as you turn the pages. The cast ranges from sinister to downright wacky & the dialogue is frequently hilarious. And although many of the characters are already dead, that doesn't stop them from weighing in with their opinions. There's a strong theme of Irish folklore & mysticism that underlies the story & you start to believe anything can happen.

It's a book that is difficult to stick in one category & reminded me of The MIlagro Beanfield War & The Shadow of the Wind. Magical other worldly forces interact with the living & the result is a story that is touching & funny. I thoroughly enjoyed it & will now become one of those annoying people who pushes this on other readers.

Jun 13, 2019

9 copies. 8 available. Looked like a good read for the darkness of autumn.

Jan 26, 2019

Very interesting, absorbing and fun. Lots of ghostly happenings in Mulderrig, Ireland, and Mahoney, along with Mrs. Cauley and Doosey, is just the one to figure it all out.... with the help of a few nosy spirits still annoyed and uneasy with their own demises.

Jul 15, 2018

A delightful book with wonderful use of language and a vivid line up of extraordinary characters. Highly recommended. Also very funny.

Jan 28, 2018

This was a well written, poetically phrased and intriguing book. It kept me engaged and guessing for the most part ( though I wasn't floored by the "whodunnit" ending).

Despite the humour & whimsy, it was a bit of a quirky, dark read. Ghosts and supernatural occurrences popped into the story line--a genre bending thing. I loved her writing style even if I didn't quite "get it" at times...and since I'm not a lover of the dark, gory (ghost) descriptions, I could pass on those as well. That said, it is an overall good story.

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