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Friday 19 June 2020

‘Her Lost Sister’ by Gretta Mulrooney

Published by Joffe Books,
13 March 2020. 
ISBN: 978-1-78931-373-4 (PB)

After Kelly and Faith Dwyer were attacked on a ferry travelling from Dublin to Liverpool, their sister Orla asked a distant cousin, Tyrone Swift, if he could find out who was responsible and why the girls had been targeted. Both sisters had been hit around the head with a hammer.  Kelly had then been thrown into the sea and drowned, whilst Faith sustained serious brain damage and can’t remember much about what happened on the ferry or about her previous life. Swift, who used to work for the police but now works as a private detective in London, agrees to look into the incident.

Kelly and Faith lived together in a flat in London, but other than acquaintances from work and at their Camogie  club - a fast and furious Irish team game played with sticks and a ball - they didn’t seem to have many current friends or lovers. After the girls’ mother had died when the girls were in their teens, Kelly had become an alcoholic, only sobering up after her young husband was killed in a drunken car smash. Her drinking had resulted in several “incidents” during her working career, so there was a plethora of potential grudge-bearing individuals and their relations for Swift to investigate.

There were clients who got carbon monoxide poisoning after she’d forgotten to cap a gas pipe properly; a girl who had a miscarriage; a charity whose application for funds was botched; and a woman she invited to a drinks party when they were both in a rehab centre, etc etc.  Kelly was the type of person who couldn’t resist meddling in other people’s affairs and upsetting them in the process. By her own admission she was like a contagious disease, causing problems wherever she went. Unfortunately, Faith, who was quieter and more circumspect sometimes got caught in her sister’s slipstream.

Swift’s private life is not brilliant.  In between investigating who killed Kelly, encouraging Faith to make the most of her damaged life and rowing on the Thames, Swift has to cope with his ex-partner, Ruth, with whom he shares a feisty three-year-old Branna.  He loves Branna dearly, though she has an excellent talent for blackmail, especially when it comes to extra biscuits or chocolate.  Swift also has a moody girlfriend, Nora, whom Branna doesn’t like.

Seeing that Kelly was only in her mid-twenties when she died there is a surprisingly large number and variety of suspects in this book. By the time Swift has sifted his way through them, a little basic blackmailing of a young constable provides him with the link that confirms his suspicions.  It also presents him with a moral dilemma. What will he do?  And would you agree with his decision?

This is the seventh book in the Tyrone Swift series.  I hadn’t read any of the others, but this was not a problem.  Those interested in following the earlier exploits of this engaging investigator and his characterful little daughter might enjoy starting at the beginning. 
Reviewer Angela Crowther.

Gretta Mulrooney was born in London, of Irish parents. She studied for a degree in English Literature at the University of Ulster and subsequently worked in education and social care.  Gretta has written seven books in her series featuring Private investigator Tyrone Swift. Her most recent boom is These Little Lies, the first in a new police-based crime series, featuring DI Siv Drummond.

Angela Crowther is a retired scientist.  She has published many scientific papers but, as yet, no crime fiction.  In her spare time Angela belongs to a Handbell Ringing group, goes country dancing and enjoys listening to music, particularly the operas of Verdi and Wagner.  

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