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False Mermaid


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About the Author

Erin Hart is a theater critic and former administrator at the Minnesota State Arts Board. A lifelong interest in Irish traditional music led her to cofound Minnesota's Irish Music and Dance Association. She and her husband, musician Paddy O'Brien, live in St. Paul, Minnesota, and frequently visit Ireland. Erin Hart was nominated for the Agatha and Anthony Awards for her debut novel, Haunted Ground, and won the Friends of American Writers Award in 2004. Visit her website at


As in Hart's Haunted Ground and Lake of Sorrows, the bittersweet Celtic otherworld haunts her outstanding third tale of family sorrows centered on the ancient mystery of what keeps a woman in a bad relationship. After three years of studying Irish "bog people," corpses preserved in peat fields, Nora Gavin realizes she has to leave Ireland for Saint Paul, Minn., her childhood home, to prove that her architect brother-in-law, Peter Hallett, who's about to remarry, murdered her sister, Triona, five years earlier. A desire to protect Triona's 11-year-old daughter, Elizabeth, from Peter's savagery also motivates her. Woven deftly into Nora's real-world mission are the old Irish selkie stories, tales of seals who shape-change into women, marry for love, and find themselves tragically caught between two worlds, a duality Hart suggests is deeply embedded in humanity. Many readers will find this passionate, complex novel almost impossible to put down. (Mar.) Copyright 2010 Reed Business Information.

Dr. Nora Galvin, the forensics expert from Hart's two previous Irish mysteries (Haunted Ground and Lake of Sorrows) has come home to Saint Paul, MN, in hopes of healing the wound left by her sister's murder three years ago. Still certain that her sister's husband, who is about to remarry, is the killer, Nora resumes the hunt for evidence with the detective who had worked the case and finds a link to the death of another young woman in the same vicinity. Back in Ireland, Cormac Maguire, Nora's sometime partner, is dealing with his own demons. His father is ill, he fears losing Nora to the St. Paul detective, and the mysterious disappearance of a local woman long ago continues to haunt him. Verdict Rich with atmosphere and Irish legend, this exceptionally crafted story of murder, family secrets, and redemption is a welcome addition to Hart's suspenseful series. Nora Gavin is an intelligent and engaging protagonist who leaves the reader anxious for her next adventure. This solid, traditional mystery will appeal to a wide range of readers. [See Prepub Alert, LJ 11/1/09.]-Susan G. Braun, Aerospace Corp., El Segundo, CA Copyright 2010 Reed Business Information.

"Rich with atmosphere and Irish legend, this exceptionally crafted story of murder, family secrets, and redemption is a welcome addition to Hart's suspenseful series." --Library Journal, starred
"Evocative descriptions ...captivating characters... [and] lush romanticism. The story races to a breathless confrontation." -Minneapolis Star-Tribune
"Few writers combine as seamlessly as Hart does the subtlety, lyrical language, and melancholy of literary fiction with the pulse-pounding suspense of the best thrillers." --Booklist, starred
"A haunting, eerie page-turner that combines a wealth of Irish mythology...with archeology and the compelling forensic details of several linked murders, all set against gorgeously rendered settings."

--Irish America

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