The Maria Pell Mystery Series: Book 3
Publication Date: August 18, 2022
Battered by her archeologist lover’s betrayal, poet Maria Pell flees to an Irish village to study prehistoric people and write her next volume of poetry, but her sanctuary is invaded first by her moody cousin and then by her Togolese lover who unexpectedly show up on her doorstep. When the discovery of a girl’s body on a rocky shore reawakens Maria’s devastating childhood memory of finding a dead baby floating in a stream, her days become haunted by this child’s death. As teenage girls disappear, villagers are terrified that sex-traffickers are targeting their community. With crimes to be solved, both past and present, Maria risks her life to bring the perpetrators to justice.
From the opening pages of Old Sins, author Lynne Handy sets the stage for a haunting tale. As a young girl, the main character finds a dead baby in a creek, creating a lifelong fear of abandonment. As an adult, Maria Pell is the recipient of a fellowship in Ireland, where she plans to study Celtic prehistory in hopes of becoming inspired for her next book of poetry.
Instead, she finds her sleuthing skills put to the test when a young girl is found murdered. Maria’s character is interesting, particularly since she has the ability to read auras. When news of a sex-trafficking ring in the area breaks, Maria is even more determined to find out who is targeting the small community.
Between a cousin who seemingly becomes a permanent roommate and an unfaithful ex-boyfriend who shows up unexpectedly, Maria has little time for creative writing. Instead, she focuses on various clues that lead her to suspect the threat is coming from within the village.
Through descriptive language, the author provides a clear depiction of the community and the residents. With Maria’s interest in history, tidbits of information are provided to further immerse the reader in the area’s culture.
The eldest child in a farm family, I grew up in western Indiana where the tall corn drove me inward to create fantasy worlds. Books were my salvation. I was drawn to poetry in the beginning. Wordsworth and other poets taught me that metaphor, sound, and cadence made a good poem. From authors like Dickens, I learned that rhythmic sentences advanced plot. Hemingway taught me about verbs. Upon graduating from library school, I worked as a librarian in Illinois, Texas, and Michigan. In retirement, I co-founded Open Sky Poets, a collaboration of poets in the western suburbs of Chicago, and published poems and short stories in literary journals. I self-published three novels—two are mysteries. Current projects involve a mystery series with author Jake Westin, who, like Christie’s Miss Marple, somehow lands in the middle of murder investigations. I live in a blue, yellow, and brown house with a yucca plant out front and two wonderful rescue dogs.
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