Friday, April 5, 2013

A Stone of the Heart: John Brady

A Stone of the Heart by John Brady is a police procedural. Like some books of that sub-genre, it goes much deeper and examines the character of the policeman and how his family and his environment affect his ability to do his job. The setting is primarily Dublin, Ireland in the late 1980's. Thus the unrest and violence in Ireland at the time is a part of the story.

Matt Minogue is a Sergeant in the Garda Murder Squad in Dublin. He was seriously injured when a government official that he was protecting was killed by a bomb. Soon after he has returned to work, he is put on a case.

Jarlath Walsh, a student at Trinity College Dublin, is killed on the grounds of the college. Evidence points toward the death being linked to drugs, although people who knew Jarlath don't believe that. Minogue is not sure whether his superiors genuinely want him to handle the case or if this case is a test of his ability to work as a policeman again. Either way, he has no doubts about his abilities. He is, however, affected negatively when the case proves to be related to IRA violence in Ireland.

This is the first book in a series of ten, published in 1988. Brady was awarded the Arthur Ellis Award for this title for best first First Novel in 1989. The award is presented annually by the Crime Writers of Canada for the best Candian crime and mystery writing.

The author was born in Dublin and graduated from Trinity College. Per the author's website, he and his wife divide their time between Ireland and Canada, where their family lives.

Minogue's back story and his family relationships are revealed gradually throughout the book. I enjoy books that combine themes of family and relationships with a mystery. I am looking forward to more of this story.

8 comments:

  1. Tracy - Like you, I like crime fiction that has a solid blend of plot (i.e. the crime/mystery itself and the investigation), character development (which means home life, etc.) and setting. This one seems to combine them all and I'm glad you've reminded me of the series. It's one I've been meaning to dip into for a while.

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    1. Margot, I will be interested in what you think of the series, if you try it. Family is definitely very central to Minogue's life.

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  2. I'm always curious about authors who choose to set books in countries other than their own. It seems that happens less with mystery books, so I will have to check this one out to see how that aspect works out.

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    1. The author was born in Ireland, not sure how much of his life he lived there. He seems to be knowledgeable but I am no expert.

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  3. This sounds good too. I'm not sure how easy it will be to find the book in the UL but definitely one to watch out for thanks!

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    1. Not so easy to get here either. I got this one at a bookstore years ago, but my notes on the book say that it was out of print by that point. Not sure. Anyway, to get the earlier ones I am using Abebooks or such, and I may try e-books for the later ones.

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  4. This one might be a yes, but I know that I won't want to stop at the first,if I enjoy it. I'll feel compelled to get the others in the series.

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    1. I agree, at this point, I feel like I have to follow up on the story. I have the 2nd one on order.

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