Irish Parade Murder by Leslie Meier

“The Irish Parade Murder” by Leslie Meier.  New York: Kensington Publishing, 2021.  278 pages.

Irish Parade Murder by Leslie Meier

Part-time newspaper reporter Lucy Stone becomes uneasy about her job when a new employee named Rob shows up at the Tinker’s Cove Pennysaver amongst rumors that her boss, Ted, has sold the paper.  She and the handful of fellow staffers find that Ted has bought the newspaper from the next town over in addition to the Pennysaver and Lucy must become familiar with a different news beat in the nearby town of Gilead and learn to work with big-city newcomer Rob.

Lucy is annoyed by Rob’s early attempts to curry favor with the boss. She is also stressed by the recent death of her father-in-law Bill “Poppop” Stone and an impending visit from her mother-in-law Edna.  She’s also stretched by her new reporting duties that entail interviewing Sheriff Murphy, the reputedly crooked county sheriff who operates out of Gilead, about the upcoming local St Patrick’s Day parade.

Sheriff Murphy supports the conservative Hibernian Knights that are sponsoring the parade and appears to have rigged the contest for parade Grand Marshal. It also appears that he is stonewalling the applications for parade entry by individuals of whom he does not approve.

In a worrisome side plot, a middle-aged female stranger named Kate, who purports to be an unacknowledged child from father-in-law Bill Stones’ past, is wooing mother-in-law Edna and appears to be alienating her from her family.  This leads the family to speculation that Kate’s after an inheritance since no written will has surfaced.

When Lucy’s workplace rival Rob is charged with killing corrections officer Gabe McGourt by tampering with his truck in a suspected love triangle murder, Lucy uses her investigative reporting skills to examine McGourt’s unsavory local reputation, which has undergone a rapid transformation after his death.   Lucy finds that McGourt’s memory has been conveniently sanitized due to Sheriff Murphy’s intervention in organizing a peace officer’s “show funeral” and muzzling dissent from McGourt’s abused ex-wife.

A newspaper “Truth Project” defense team along with Lucy’s investigative skills spell a winning outcome for Rob’s defense and the true murderer is revealed.

This is the 27th Lucy Stone mystery, most of which are set against a holiday backdrop.  Meier’s character Lucy is a somewhat entertaining small-town investigator, but this particular outing had an unnecessarily convoluted plot and was short on the character development that readers usually find necessary to become engaged.  Recommended only for those who have become invested in the series.  Publisher’s Weekly rated this as mediocre and those looking to celebrate the Irish in print would do better to read one of the series of Irish village mysteries by Carlene O’Connor.

Lisa Kobrin is the Reference and Local History Librarian at May Memorial Library. She can be reached at lkobrin@alamancelibraries.org.