Death at Ashford Castle

Buy the Book:
Barnes & Noble

Published by: Turlough, Nolan Publishing
Release Date: July 5, 2020
Pages: 262
ISBN13: 978-0960056729


Enjoy this Irish cozy mystery with American amateur sleuth Star O’Brien solving crimes in Ireland’s County Mayo...

Successful American information broker and female amateur sleuth Star O’Brien is back in County Mayo, Ireland, hot on the trail of new clues to her mother’s long-ago disappearance. Who is Evelyn Cosgrove, a mysterious woman who may or may not have information about Star’s mother, who went missing when Star was only six years old?

This time Star’s splitting her time between the market town of Castlebar, and the island village of Cong, County Mayo, home to the medieval castle turned luxury hotel, Ashford Castle. But Star never expected a quiet walk in Cong Woods would lead to the discovery of a dead woman. The death was no accident. Why would anyone have wanted to murder her? Does the dog Star rescues have anything to do with the murder victim?

Star has a healthy skepticism of the local police—after all, the police tried to convince her that her mother abandoned her—but in spite of that, Star is determined to talk to them about what she witnessed the night of the murder. Complications deepen as Star works to untangle tales of ghost sightings, a rash of mysterious break-ins, and creepy encounters. When yet another body is discovered, Star is more determined than ever to find the truth. But when the murderer’s sights turn to Star, will she survive a confrontation with a killer?

Add on Goodreads


“Liked the way the story developed. Purchased another title by this author. Hope she writes more!”
– Abbie, Amazon reader review on Death at Ashford Castle




Tendrils of fog floated along the path that twisted through the woods at Cong. The mist, rising from the River Cong's depths, materialized as the spectral shape of a gnarled finger, curling around dead tree stumps.
Jane Doherty paused to remove the anorak she'd worn to the pub. The close-to-freezing daytime temperatures had unexpectedly risen a few points after sunset. Jane remained still for a few minutes and then flexed her long thin legs. She relished this night-time jaunt. The labyrinth of narrow paths, rutted from horses' hooves, meant she had to glance down every few seconds to keep from tripping over vines, fallen oaks, and mature, deformed roots brimming through the wet earth. Sometimes the ground was so wet it could suck the runners from your feet as if to envelop you in its dark, twisted environment.

Tying the jacket around her slim waist, she smiled at the simple pleasure that lay ahead of her. The strenuous exercise would burn at least three hundred calories. But then the corners of her mouth shifted downward when she thought of her husband, Dan.

Plain Jane was the nickname he dubbed her with when they first met thirty-five years ago. “My Plain Jane's beauty is inner,” he'd say as he grabbed the comb from her hand and smoothed out her tangled curls in the morning light. What had once been an endearment became an emotional battering ram, eroding her spiritual confidence. Now, whenever she glimpsed her pale and undefined features in the looking glass, the latest rumors about her husband's philandering came to mind.

Fifteen years ago, Jane, blaming her appearance for Dan's straying eyes, had taken up aerobics. After several years, she opened a studio at the local fitness center in Cong. She'd managed to build up a steadfast practice. What would her clients think if they discovered her primary motivation was for herself rather than for them? She'd imagined that once she transformed herself from a mousy brunette to a blonde goddess, Dan's gaze would return to her. For a while, this fantasy worked.

But then as the years passed, her confidence that Dan was attracted to her ebbed, and she turned away from the mirror more and more. Why, she asked herself, did she make the same mistake over and over? With the jacket anchored around her waist, Jane wondered again why she continued to love her husband. His unexplained, in-the-dead-of-night absences increased with each passing day.

Ahead of her, the dark woods promised to sweat out her obsessive, wasteful, and poisonous thoughts. The earlier ground fog had risen to eye level. She heard the slapping of the Cong's water striking the shoreline. Determined to burn energy, she took short strides over the ground, drowning out the sound of the footsteps that trailed behind her...

For a few minutes after the final air bubble broke the water's surface, the killer’s hands remained around the woman’s throat. Bending close to the woman's ear, the killer rasped, “Whatever you do in life, you have to pick up the tab.” Ready now, the killer seized the woman's hair and hefted her over a shoulder like a sack of potatoes. Then, satisfied that the rope and can of spray paint still remained in the overcoat, the killer proceeded to complete this masterpiece.