Death of an Irish Politician

Death of an Irish Politician

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by Bartholomew Gill
     
 

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Chief Inspector of Detectives Peter McGarr is the hard-nosed policeman of Bartholomew Gill's widely acclaimed series of atmospheric Irish mysteries. Now, here is the novel that started it all—the Chief Inspector's very first appearance.

It was twilight on Killiney Bay when they pulled the Yank out of the water, his head split open by a violent blow. For

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Overview

Chief Inspector of Detectives Peter McGarr is the hard-nosed policeman of Bartholomew Gill's widely acclaimed series of atmospheric Irish mysteries. Now, here is the novel that started it all—the Chief Inspector's very first appearance.

It was twilight on Killiney Bay when they pulled the Yank out of the water, his head split open by a violent blow. For McGarr, the case was a welcome chance to escape the gloom of Dublin. But from his first moment at the injured man's yacht club, McGarr realizes getting at the truth will require fitting together a number of jagged pieces: the world-class sailor who ran both his boat and his life aground; the beautiful woman who paid his bills; and the politician who was uncharacteristically involving himself in a homicide investigation. Suddenly, McGarr must face a malevolent plot of IRA gunrunning, betrayal, and conspiracy—all aimed at not just killing one unhappy sailor, but framing a certain Chief Inspector, and keeping him away from secrets even more dangerous than murder.

Chief Inspector of Detectives Peter McGarr is the hard-nosed policeman of Bartholomew Gill's widely acclaimed series of atmospheric Irish mysteries. Now, here is the novel that started it all—the Chief Inspector's very first appearance.

It was twilight on Killiney Bay when they pulled the Yank out of the water, his head split open by a violent blow. For McGarr, the case was a welcome chance to escape the gloom of Dublin. But from his first moment at the injured man's yacht club, McGarr realizes getting at the truth will require fitting together a number of jagged pieces: the world-class sailor who ran both his boat and his life aground; the beautiful woman who paid his bills; and the politician who was uncharacteristically involving himself in a homicide investigation. Suddenly, McGarr must face a malevolent plot of IRA gunrunning, betrayal, and conspiracy—all aimed at not just killing one unhappy sailor, but framing a certain Chief Inspector, and keeping him away from secrets even more dangerous than murder.

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Editorial Reviews

New York Times
Gill knows his Ireland and his police work.
Washington Post Book World
A police procedural that defies the limits of the genre...He writes with literary grace.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780380732739
Publisher:
HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date:
02/28/2000
Series:
Peter McGarr Series, #1
Pages:
240

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Chapter One

In the twilight near the Killiney Bay Yacht Club, all that flowed was grey. The tidefall, a shimmering rush like molten lead, heeled buoys and made the yachts dance at their moorings. White patches of the houses on the steep hill had begun to mute with dusk. Only the gorse of Bray Head ten miles south caught the last of the sun and bristled green. Between these two promontories, a gentle sweep of ivory beach fringed the valley floor. It wasn't only approaching night that made the wind off the Irish Sea cold. Autumn had arrived.

Chief Inspector of Detectives Peter McGarr remembered Wicklow from the thirties, when, as a lad, his family-all thirteen of themwould board a tram at Inchicore, a train in Dublin, and, debouching at Bray, would climb the Head to Greystones. Then Bray was a resort town, not the sprawling suburb of small homes he could see before him. But the view from Killiney was still more beautiful than any of those his former police travels for Interpol had shown him. He had jumped at the chance to get away from Dublin Castle. There, even the most trivial item of business involved the politics of the fighting in the North. This case seemed free from that sordid bog and accommodatingly routine.

McGarr glanced down at his feet. Here the dock was old. He wondered how it would be to lay his head on a yawing plank and sight down its weathered grooves, white as cigarette ash. This the man just pulled from the water by the club steward and dock boy might have done, had his eyeballs not drifted into his head. His sclerae alone were visible when McGarr depressed a tanned eyelid. His bald head was split to expose a buff wedge of cranium,which, now that the seawater no longer rinsed the wound, quickly filled with a thin vermilion fluid like blood. In spasms, his body pushed brine from his nose and mouth. He was not dead.

"Ah, the poor blighter," said a towering man in a blue Garda uniform. The chin strap of his cap cinched tightly about a flame-red face. "Easy with him, lads. Go easy." The ambulance attendants were lifting the victim onto a stretcher. Superintendent Liam O'Shaughnessy was one of McGarr's assistants, his perennial companion, and good friend. He had yet to accustom himself to the spectacle of others in pain, however, and agonized over every injury.

McGarr, said, "Go with him, Liam. See what the hospital can discover." O'Shaughnessy had already searched the man's pockets and the cabin of the vessel, abeam of which the police inquirers now stood. He had found only a small brass key attached to a wooden float. On it a Dublin phone number had been scratched.

The boat was a trim schooner of some sixty feet, bug-eye rigged, and perhaps the high point of Alden small-schooner design. The low cabin, spoon bow, and graceful lines betrayed this much to McGarr, who, during the late fifties and sixties, had covered Marseilles and as much of the Riviera as was important to largescale drug traffickers. Thus, he had learned to distinguish between types of pleasure craft, their potential uses and cargo capacities.

This boat, however, was a near wreck, its brightwork weathered grey and blackening with rot in places. The shrouds were rusted, deck caulking heaved, winches appearing to be locked with corrosion. The main hatch cover had been split months past as though a forcible entry had been gained. A halo of charring ringed the perimeter of the aftmost porthole on this, the port side. McGarr speculated that the man, while drunk, had set the galley afire. Also, the mainsail was lying in heaps, bloodspattered, on the cabin roof. In the shadows of a soda-pop case that was set on an edge and read "Canada Dry," an inch of Mt. Gay rum shimmered in a quart bottle. A jelly glass nearby held less.

McGarr asked the dock boy, an ancient man who wore a battered yachting cap, service khakis, and a heavy cardigan through which the elbows of his shirt peeked, "Was this the Yank's port of entry? How much and what sort of cargo did he off-load here? Certainly you required him to log in with the club's commodore--may I see the book, please? How much rum did he drink daily and where did he purchase it? Lastly, how did the accident occur?" The inspector didn't really expect answers. The battery of questions was merely his way of catching the wary off balance: that he knew with one glance the origin of the victim, a good deal about the boat, and something of nautical procedures; that he was fully prepared to ask all the questions should the dock boy or the steward, who now pushed through the other policemen and faced McGarr, prove reticent. Once either of them began speaking, however, McGarr would say as little as possible and simply stare at the speaker, his hazel eyes unblinking and attentive.

The ploy worked, for the eight men on the...

The Death of an Irish Politician. Copyright © by Bartholomew Gill. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.

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