This is a first novel where the major interest is in its setting – the wild Inishowen Peninsula in the Republic of Ireland. Malin Head, on its northern tip, I only knew previously from the shipping forecast.
The abandoned village of Whitewater is close to Malin, and the only building there of any note is the church, deconsecrated years ago. Benedicta O'Keeffe, known as Ben, is acting for the present owners of the church, the Kellys, who live mainly in America. Ben is the local solicitor in Glendara, the nearest small town. The Kellys hope they have at last found a buyer for the church, and she is accompanying the surveyor, who has come to examine the structure of the building.
It is a grim evening in November, and rapidly growing dark. Paul, the surveyor, has completed his survey of the actual church, but also has the keys to the crypt. Ben waits outside, but is startled to hear cries of fright from Paul, the surveyor, a few moments later. He emerges looking dishevelled and petrified. Just inside the crypt he found a bundle wrapped in a blanket. It contained a skeleton. Ben contacts the local small Garda station. Both the two officers stationed there are good friends of hers.
When the news reaches Glendara, it causes a sensation. Everyone jumps to the conclusion that the remains are those of Conor Devitt, a well-known local character who disappeared on his wedding day a number of years ago, leaving his bride waiting for him at the altar.
The plot is a complicated one, and I found I sometimes got confused with the identities of the numerous characters. Ben, who tells the story in the first person, is an intriguing protaganist with a few secrets of her own. For me, the location is the strongest element of the book. I should think there is every possibility that sequels will follow.