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“The Coven Murders” by Brian O’Hare

What gives Brian O’Hare’s Inspector Sheehan mysteries their added frisson for me is the pervasive influence of a rigorously traditional, fundamentalist Roman Catholic viewpoint dominating the thoughts and actions of one or more of the main characters in the context of a rigorously tradition-bound, fundamentally troubled ‘Norn Iron’ (Northern Ireland). I imagine that in such a place, it is as easy to believe in the Devil as it is to believe in God. In this story, the devils and their minions are very real. It opens with a prologue containing a vivid description of the depraved actions of a Satanic...

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‘Novy’s Son: A Selfish Genius’ by Karen Ingalls

This is a long and painfully revealing story about the author’s father. He saw himself as “someone who was betrayed, who was never understood nor appreciated, but who is a genius of aristocratic blood”. His behaviour throughout his ninety-five years, however, deservedly earned him his reputation as “a ladies’ man, a curmudgeon, a son of a bitch, and an elitist.” It is a tough read. Murray Clark, or as he later re-named himself to escape his debtors, Michael St Germain, was a selfish, self-centred, egotistical, alcoholic, sex-addicted sociopath. He continually trashed the opportunities presented to him while exploiting the generosity...

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