It is 1509 and, for the people of the Burren in western Ireland, the Michaelmas Fair is a joyous time for trade and celebration, signaling the start of autumn. It’s a chance to gather, buy and sell their wares, and pay tribute to the lord of their clans. But this year is different. The steward of the MacNamara clan has decided to raise the amount demanded for its tribute, and it’s not long before tempers are running high.
When the steward’s body is found in the local churchyard, it falls upon Mara, the Burren’s Brehon Judge, to piece the puzzle together. Was it revenge, greed, or something more sinister that motivated the murder? When another body is discovered, it is up to Mara—despite the distraction of a surprising marriage proposal—to bring the killer to justice before there can be yet another death.
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Praise for A Secret and Unlawful Killing:
“Captivating . . . compelling reading.” —Publishers Weekly
“Mara makes several momentous and unpleasant discoveries on her road to a just verdict. [A Secret and Unlawful Killing] features well-drawn characters, a tantalizing mystery and an intriguing look at the surprisingly complex and liberal laws of 1509 Ireland.” —Kirkus Review
“This follow-up to My Lady Judge is a leisurely amble through the countryside of medieval Ireland. Like Peter Tremayne’s clerical sleuth, Sister Fidelma, Mara is no one’s fool.”—Library Journal
“Another well-researched, appealing historical mystery.” —Booklist
“Once again, Cora Harrison brings sixteenth-century Ireland beautifully to life and her Brehon detective, Mara, is a fantastic protagonist—an absolute one-off and yet refreshingly real.” —The Historical Novel Society (Editors’ Choice)
“The book reads like a police procedural. . . . A Secret and Unlawful Killing is a gripping mystery.” —Irish American News
Cora Harrison lives in the Burren in the west of Ireland, an area whose landscape and history form the background to a medieval series of which this is the second novel. She has published twenty-six books for children, mainly dealing with Irish history and mythology.