Hart, Erin. Haunted Ground
Two brothers cutting turf in a peat bog in rural Ireland turn up a grisly discovery in Hart’s debut mystery. It isn’t a body, as they originally think, but is the severed head of a red-haired girl. The problem is that peat preserves bodies so perfectly that it is impossible to tell how long ago the girl was killed and buried. So archaeologist Cormac Macguire and pathologist Nora Gavin travel from Dublin to investigate the find. Soon, however, they are drawn into a more immediate and gripping mystery: Will the bodies of the wife and son of a local landowner, Hugh Osborne, also be found in the depths of the peat bog? And if so, was it Osborne who put them there? These outsiders, both with baggage of their own that predisposes them to an interest in the case, are drawn into the often tumultuous, sometimes violent, internal doings of a small rural town and find themselves in danger as well.
Rich with atmosphere and detail about both contemporary Irish life and the history and archaeology of the country, this is a complex, multi-layered novel that goes beyond mere murder mystery into the realm of literary fiction. Highly enjoyable.