Award-winning Halifax writer Anne Emery has added another instalment to the popular Collins-Burke series. Ruined Abbey, a prequel to her other books, situates priest/sleuth Father Brennan Burke in London and on the ol’ sod in the attempt to quell a number of family crises. Part mystery, part history lesson, Ruined Abbey recounts the tangle of the Northern Ireland conflict that has proved virtually impossible to unravel.
While Emery presents a clear, near-balanced account of the history of the Troubles in Ruined Abbey she seems to be an apologist for the IRA.
As interesting and well-researched as it is, there is much exposition here and at times, in the midst of the history and political discussions among the characters, and despite the occasional reminders, I often lost the thread of the mystery and forgot who was who. The heart-rending surprise ending, however, is worth the wade through.