This is the story of Anne O'Brien, bestselling writer of Irish historical romances on the run from her husband, who she believes is cheating on her, back in Ireland. She is on her way to Pennsylvania to take up her annual teaching stint in the English Department of Sweetmount, a small liberal arts college, where she hopes she will find happiness with Professor Charles Matthews. But she keeps on bumping into an elderly gentleman in a cream-colored suit, who wants to tell her about a murder and who bears an alarming resemblance to her dead grandfather, Marcus Quilligan O'Neil. In this lively, funny and well-written novel, though, nothing is what it seems. The old man, for example, may be an apparition. But if he is not the ghost of Marcus, why does he appear only to Anne and why is he pestering her into writing his biography? And is Professor Matthews really a predatory sexual brute, shunned by his colleagues and guilty of a violent rape? What has Anne let herself in for? Although reared in Ireland, she is the daughter of Irish immigrants in America, and her struggle to come to terms with the two worlds becomes an odyssey through the secrets of the past. At the old man's insistence she starts to research a possible miscarriage of justice that took place during a Mafia trial in New York at the beginning of the century. Marcus, it seems, born in America after his family had fled the Famine, took various jobs, some extremely dubious, in order to pay his way through tuition at Yale Law School. Once graduated, he moved to New York, practiced criminal law and became part of the Tammany Hall machine. Although he was rewarded for his loyalty to Woodrow Wilson with an ambassadorship to the Dominican Republic, his soul is troubled, unable to rest because an innocent man may have been executed in a case Marcus handled back in 1913. Anne O'Brien's research, in turn, leads her into that violent metropolitan melting pot in which the new Americans - and the new Irish - were cre
About Mary Rose Callaghan
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Published November 1, 1996
by Marion Boyars Publishers Ltd.
Literature & Fiction.