Haunted Ground by Erin Hart

Title:  Haunted Ground

Author:  Erin Hart

Genre:  Mystery

Published:  April 2003 – Scribner

About:  (back of the book) When farmers cutting turf in an Irish peat bog make a grisly discovery – the perfectly preserved head of a young woman with long red hair – Irish archaeologist Cormac Maguire and American pathologist Nora Gavin must use cutting-edge techniques to preserve ancient evidence. Because the bog’s watery, acidic environment prevents decay, it’s difficult to tell how long the red-haired girl has been buried – two years, two centuries, or even much longer. Who is she? The extraordinary find leads to even more disturbing puzzles. The red-haired girl is not the only enigma in this remote corner of Galway. Two years earlier, Mina Osborne, the wife of the local landowner, went for a walk with her young son and vanished without a trace. Could they too be hidden in the bog’s treacherous depths, only to be discovered centuries from now? Or did Hugh Osborne murder his family, as some villagers suspect? Bracklyn House, Osborne’s stately home, holds many secrets, and Nora and Cormac’s inquiries threaten to expose them all.

My take:  If you’re a regular reader of this blog you know it’s rare to find a mystery review. I met Erin Hart at my city’s Irish festival in August and bought three of her books which she kindly signed for me. Haunted Ground is her first book. I loved that the setting is where my father’s family is from – County Galway. I’ve visited twice and hope I can return someday.

From page one I was drawn in as Cormac and Nora discovered clues that led to solving the mysteries. The characters intrigued me and most were under suspicion. One character I hope to see in future books is Detective Devaney. He’s the guy I’d want in my corner. He’s a regular man with regular problems and even though he was taken off the case, he can’t not see it through. As wrapped up in the case as he is, he also wants to be more involved in his family – especially his youngest daughter who has recently shown an interest in learning trad music, one of his passions.

I found the details about traditional music, archaeology and preservation, and Irish history really interesting. The importance of history and passing it on to the next generation is a theme that stood out for me.

If you enjoy a gothic mystery and an Ireland setting then you may enjoy Haunted Ground. I loved it and can’t wait to read Erin Hart’s next book.

Source:  I bought it.

Disclaimer:  See sidebar.

22 thoughts on “Haunted Ground by Erin Hart

  1. I was surprised to see you review a mystery book but this one sounds absolutely wonderful! Books set in Ireland with a sense of history and mystery are so intriguing. It’s going on the wishlist. Glad you enjoyed it.


  2. This sounds great. I love history and discoveries of things long buried, even heads. The addition of traditional music lore is an added bonus.


  3. The mystery in this one sounds intoxicating to me, and I would love to check it out. It sounds like a book that I would really like, and I am glad to hear that you loved it! I will be eager to hear what you think of the other books that you picked up by this author! Great review!


  4. Lovely review, Mary. I don’t read many mysteries either, and I honestly don’t know why. But this one sounds quite interesting and I think I’ll add it to my list.


  5. Wow, this looks fantastic. I do love mysteries, and I love books set in Ireland — my mother’s family is from County Cork, and I have enjoyed traveling in Galway. This is going on my TBR — thanks!


  6. OH! I am so glad you loved this book! It is one of my favorites and it’s on the keeper shelf which I don’t do often with mysteries unless it’s a signed book. My copy isn’t and I am so envious that you got to meet Erin. I emailed her after I read the book several years ago and she was sweet enough to write me back.

    HAUNTED GROUND is definitely one of those that stays with the reader.


  7. I love this review! A great gothic mystery and passing on family history are both very appealing to me. And a book is alwasys so much more interesting when you meet the author first. It’s like putting the book in context when you read it.


  8. Thanks for this recommendation – I just ordered it and plan to share it with my Mom! Have you gotten to her other books yet? I am interested to hear what you think.


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