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March came in like a lamb here in Kentucky, bringing with it daffodils and springlike temperatures. And while a second taste of winter in March (or even April!) isn’t out of the question, hopefully spring is here to stay. With St. Patrick’s Day just around the corner, it’s a great time to curl up with a cupán tae and a good mystery. All you need is the perfect book to transport you to the Emerald Isle.

In this list. I’ve gathered six mysteries with Irish settings that range from cozy to gritty, so you’re sure to find something that will suit your taste. Sláinte!

Buried in a Bog by Sheila Connolly

In the first of the County Cork Mysteries by the late Sheila Connolly, Maura Donovan leaves Boston to fulfill her grandmother’s dying wish. She asked Maura to travel to Ireland to inform those she left behind years ago of her death. But Maura never expected to find herself taking a job at the local pub and investigating a murder. If you’re looking for a fun, cozy Irish village mystery, Buried in a Bog is a great choice. And if you find yourself eager to spend some more time with the inhabitants of Leap, there are 8 more stories waiting for you.


The Guest List by Lucy Foley

This one falls more under the heading of thriller than mystery, but I really enjoyed it. Perhaps not a surprise, as it’s received many comparisons to the works of Agatha Christie. On an isolated island off the coast of Ireland, a magazine publisher and a rising television star are about to get married, and everyone want to be on the guest list for their glitzy wedding. But with poor cell service, bad weather, and rough seas isolating the party from the mainland, it’s almost inevitable that guests are going to start dropping dead. If you enjoy modern settings and characters who aren’t always likeable, The Guest List is a good fit for you.


No Strangers Here by Carlene O’Connor

Carlene O’Connor is perhaps best known for her cozy County Cork Mysteries, which began with Murder in an Irish Village. No Strangers Here is the first installment in her new County Kerry mystery series. I couldn’t wait to read it when I saw it was set in Dingle, Ireland, where I spent a week a few years ago. It did not disappoint—I thoroughly enjoyed picking out all the details I remembered from my visit. But you don’t have to have visited Dingle to enjoy No Strangers Here, because it has an absorbing story and interesting characters. This series is a little less cozy than the County Cork series, but I wouldn’t call it dark at all. Looking for a more traditional style mystery story? This one would be perfect for you.


In the Woods by Tana French

In the Woods is the book that launched Tana French to fame and kicked off her Dublin Murder Squad series, which has since been made into a TV show. The book is very well written, but be aware that it is on the grittier side and if you aren’t a fan of unresolved questions, I’d steer clear. (That’s the one thing about this book that frustrated me.) Otherwise, it’s an excellent story with plenty of atmosphere and complex characters. Enjoy darker stories with ambiguous endings? This would be a good choice for you.


Haunted Ground by Erin Hart

Haunted Ground is also the first book in a series, this one about an Irish archaeologist and an American pathologist. The two join forces after farmers cutting turf in a peat bog discover the head of a young woman, so perfectly preserved it’s difficult to tell if she was killed hundreds of years ago or much more recently. (Bodies turning up in bogs seems to be a recurring theme in Irish-set mysteries.) As the archaeologist and pathologist attempt to uncover the woman’s identity, it begins to look as though there is a connection to a recent local disappearance. Looking for mystery, suspense, and a little romance? This is your book.


Himself by Jess Kidd

This recommendation comes via my sister-in-law’s mother, whose taste in books is always excellent, and it’s on my TBR list for this month. According to the Daily Express, it is a darkly comic tale of murder, intrigue, haunting and illegitimacy . . . wickedly funny. Himself is the story of a man who, after being abandoned at an orphanage as a baby, decides to return to the town where he was born in search of the truth about his past, But his arrival shakes up the town and not everyone is pleased to see him or willing to tell him the truth.

I hope you find something on this list to get you in the spirit for St. Patrick’s Day! Looking for more St. Patrick’s Day inspiration? Check out this free wallpaper I shared a few years ago. If you need me, I’ll be curled up with a cup of Barry’s tea and Himself.

How about you? Do you celebrate St. Patrick’s Day?
What is your favorite St. Patrick’s Day tradition?

6 mysteries with Irish settings for St. Patrick's Day

Fueled by equal parts sweet tea and passion, I spend my days capturing the kinds of images that make you stop, smile and ask time to please slow down. 

Your story, your love, is beautiful and I can’t wait to capture it in images you will treasure for years to come. I believe in real moments and heartfelt conversations on the front porch. In the kinds of images that remind you of the joy that can be found in the simplest of moments together. 

mystery writer & editor

I’m Amanda

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