Cruel Winter (County Cork Mystery Series #5)

Cruel Winter (County Cork Mystery Series #5)

by Sheila Connolly


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Praise for the New York Times Bestselling County Cork mysteries:
"A truly fabulous read that brings you right to the small county of Cork. With descriptive writing, well developed characters and wonderful storyline, An Early Wake is a true hit that brings the magic of Ireland to any reader."
Open Book Society on An Early Wake

"[A] well-set and nicely paced cozy."
Library Journal on Scandal in Skibbereen

—"A traditional cozy set in the Emerald Isle and starring an amateur sleuth seems quite fresh. A very promising start to a new series."
Booklist on Buried in a Bog

"Full of charm and mystery... The locals are warm and welcoming and the central hub of the village, Sullivan's Pub, is a slice of comfort."
RT Book Review on Buried in a Bog

"Connolly’s latest is a captivating tale—sweet, nostalgic, and full of Irish charm, but also tightly plotted and full of twists, turns, and shocking reveals...Connolly’s County Cork Mysteries have a ton of promise.”
The Maine Suspect on Buried in a Bog

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781683311003
Publication date: 03/14/2017
Series: County Cork Mystery Series , #5
Pages: 304
Sales rank: 541,977
Product dimensions: 5.70(w) x 8.30(h) x 1.10(d)

About the Author

Sheila Connolly is the Anthony and Agatha Award–nominated author of over thirty titles, including the Museum Mysteries, the Orchard Mysteries, and the County Cork Mysteries, in addition to the Relatively Dead paranormal romance e-series, the standalone books Once She Knew, a romantic suspense, and Reunion with Death, a traditional mystery set in Tuscany, as well as a number of short stories in various anthologies. She lives in Massachusetts with her husband and three cats, and visits Ireland as often as she can.

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Cruel Winter 4.2 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 25 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The series continues with another winner.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
20 year old murder solved when several people are snowed in Maura's pub
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is a great series, providing an escape from a busy, consumer-driven lifestyle and giving a glimpse of a simpler, uncluttered way. It actually makes me want to downsize and live simply. I appreciate Maura's character development. She arrives in Leap after her grandmother dies, not knowing what she wants from life. She has built a cocoon around herself and hasn't allowed herself to enjoy life. In each book in the series it appears Maura discovers something new about herself that frees her from a bit more of her self-imposed limitations. All this combined with great story plots has moved this series up to my favorites list.
Rachel Avila More than 1 year ago
There were some flaws and contradictions with some of the details, but all in all, it is still a good read. I thoroughly enjoyed it. In my opinion, it makes you think and piece clues together. If you want a book that you won't want to put down until you finish, this is the one. I haven't read any other books within the series, but in my opinion it can be read without the other ones.
KatzMama More than 1 year ago
Couldn't wait to get to the plot's resolution! Connolly is a gifted writer, setting virtually the entire book inside her main character's Irish pub over a 24-hour period, and holding my entire attention using just the right pace and amount of information to keep me on edge and speculating about the mystery's outcome. A good mental workout for those who enjoy trying to figure out how the story will end before the final reveal. In spite of the fact that the setting and many of its inhabitants are rural, I was reminded by the story that people are people the world over, and that many individuals are most loyal within the confines of their own social and geographic circles. People who dwell outside that comfort zone are "other" and, right or wrong, can be treated with suspicion. The characters are well-drawn and engaging. wonderfully rich and varied. I felt a definite connection with many of them and found myself unable to stop reading because I cared so much about what would happen as the story progressed. Old Billy is one of my favorites, a quiet elder whose memories span many years, affording him the long view of the history and mores of Leap and its surrounding villages. I was enchanted by the picture painted of the small village and its people. I will be visiting Ireland for the first time in May, so I can't wait to see how this accounting and my own notions of my mother's "people" compare to the real deal. I received this book from the author in exchange for a fair and honest review.
Griperang72a More than 1 year ago
I have enjoyed this book even more than the last one I read in this series. It is nice to go back to Ireland and visit "friends". Can you imagine being stuck in a pub with a murder suspect from an unsolved murder? I for one would be a nervous wreck. Luckily for Diane this was a chance to clear her name with the town. It was fun to see how all these people ended up working together to solve a twenty year old crime. This was the enjoyable part of the book for me. I thought the characters really came to life and the author did a good job of making the reader feel like a part of the story. I can't wait to see what she has in store for us in the next book.
MicheleWatson More than 1 year ago
I received a copy of this book from the author in exchange for an honest review. This being said, I didn't read the other books in this series. This book stands on it's own just fine, I didn't notice that I missed the 1st four books when I was reading it. I really loved this book. I enjoyed the characters. It was great to sit down and read this book that was set in a quiet, slow paced world so far from the one I live in. It was such a cozy escape from my phone and social media. It made me yearn for the days when people interacted face to face, when there was a sense of community, and people didn't have to run to Facebook to be reminded that someone cares about them. I found it really exciting to read a book that was set up the way it was, with a group of people sitting around a fire, drinking beer, and trying to solve an old mystery. I kept feeling like I was watching a play! I highly recommend this book to anyone wanting to escape to a more simple setting.
vt_loki More than 1 year ago
Cruel Winter is the fifth book in Shelia Connolly's County Cork Mystery series. There's a bit of a twist with this one--rather than having our intrepid protagonist Maura Donovan stumble across a dead body within the first few chapters, we readers are instead treated to a "quasi-bottle episode" plot where our protagonist and main supporting characters are trapped by a fierce snowstorm in Sullivan's pub for an overnight. One bar patron, Diane Caldwell, who ends up trapped inside just happens to be a prior suspect in an infamous, decades-old murder. Maura's never-ending quest for justice manifests once again as she encourages Diane to tell her side of the story and has the fellow bar patrons review and rethink the case. A previous fan of this series, I was predisposed to like this book; however, the different direction(s) that Ms. Connolly took the plot really made it for me. I've been getting a bit tired of the typical "our hero or heroine comes across a body and feels compelled to seek out the truth" plotlines that are present in cozy mysteries. This book may feel slightly predictable to some readers toward the very end, but I definitely enjoyed the ride from start to finish. It is possible to read this book as a stand-alone, but I would suggest that new readers to the series start from the beginning and work their way back. It's a richer read that way, as you will have developed more of an investment in the primary characters (Maura, Mick, Jimmy, Rose, Gillian, and Billy).
momelaine More than 1 year ago
I really enjoyed this book! I loved the snowstorm and the challenge of dealing with that and the power outage. The flow of the story really worked for me. I enjoyed how everyone was trapped to be a captive audience and the twenty year old murder mystery was hashed over with the mostly open minds of the people who had never heard about the murder. I wanted to just keep reading to get to the end and get this old murder mystery solved! This is an advanced reader copy and there is still some editing that needs to be done. But I am so happy to have had the chance to read it!
D-does-reviews More than 1 year ago
I have always wanted to travel to Ireland and reading this mystery gave me a better understanding of Irish culture and how vital their history, family and love of the land are to them, so the setting definitely enhanced my enjoyment of the book. I felt the story got off to a slow start and not having read the first four books in the series made it a challenge to keep up with all of the characters but soon the urgency to solve the mystery became more appealing. As the storm raged outside of Maura's pub the winding road of supposition leading to the revelation of the events the night of the twenty year old crime fully illustrated the talented storytelling of this author. I'm definitely planning to read the entire series in the very near future. I read a complimentary copy of this book and all opinions expressed in my voluntary review are completely my own.
Biszemom More than 1 year ago
From the first few moments of picking up Cruel Winter and beginning to read, I was captivated by the story. From the descriptions of both the characters and the place, I felt that I was right there in the tiny village of Leap in County Cork, Ireland. I had previously read one other County Cork mystery, so the names were already familiar to me, however this installment is certainly descriptive enough to stand alone. Maura Donovan had come to Leap, her grandmother's hometown, almost a year prior after her beloved grandmother who raised her passed away. Upon arriving, she found out that she was the owner of Sullivan's pub. Over the past 9 months she has been adjusting to her new surroundings and has been busy striving to learn the business of owning a pub. There is a wonderful band of regulars.....her good friend Gillian, the bartender Mick, old Billy who lives in the building and holds court each day by fire, and Jimmy and his daughter Rose. When a major snowstorm rolls through, the cast ends up stranded at the pub along with some other patrons. One woman who arrives is Diane Caldwell, who was a suspect in a murder long ago that was never solved. Diane has always stressed that she was innocent of the crime. While the storm rages outside, Maura and the patrons of the bar hold a mock trial to discuss the facts and theories surrounding the case. As the story weaves, its way thru the twists and turns of the long ago crime, there begin to be doubts about the original investigation and the possibility of Diane’s involvement. Maura organizes the facts as they go along, asking questions and challenging theories. Meanwhile, the storm outside continues to rage and you learn how everyone copes. As the storm ends, the decades old crime comes to its conclusion. I enjoyed every page of this book and will be going back to read the other books in the series. They are well written and descriptive, I stayed up later than intended on a couple of nights as I couldn't put it down. I enjoyed the change of pace of a “past” crime rather than one that occurred as the book took place.
Miccox99 More than 1 year ago
This book from the County Cork series is the best installment yet! A huge snow storm is brewing so Maura, her employees and a couple of friends decide to ride the storm out at the pub. As the storm starts to roll through, a few other stranded stragglers find their way in as well. When it turns out that one of them was a woman accused of murder over 20 years ago, most of the locals decided she was guilty and have stuck to that. However, with no power and running low on food they decide to let the woman tell her story while they try to work out what really happened back then. The plot was woven masterfully and rolls out in part "dinner theater" and partly like the game "Clue." As always each character has a bit of their story unveiling itself as well, which just enhances the nuances of each characters personality. If you like a good cozy mystery and enjoy an Irish setting, then this series will delight you. I won this book in a giveaway and that led me to read the entire series! I am so thrilled that I found this series and can't wait for the next book to come out!
grandmareads102 More than 1 year ago
Maura Donovan isn't prepared for the major snow storm that hits her small Irish village. It brings everything to a standstill and strands her at Sullivan's Pub along with her other patrons. Things take an unsettling turn when she discovers that a suspected killer is in their midst. Diane Caldwell was suspected of killing her neighbor twenty years ago. Maura believes Diane when she says that she's innocent and gives her the opportunity to tell her side of the story. Can this random group discover the truth while they wait out the storm? Maura is a newcomer who brings a fresh viewpoint to the case. I enjoyed her passion for the truth and her logical mind. She cares for people and wants to help. The other patrons are an interesting mix. They are a sounding board for Maura and they offer differing view points as well as their own memories of the crime. I was pulled into the mystery as they assembled pieces of the puzzle. I wanted to know who killed Sharon Morgan and why. I couldn't put down Cruel Winter until I got answers. The setting and the winter storm added to the suspense. Sheila Connolly did a wonderful job. The characters were compelling, the tension kept building and the ending was a surprise. This book is a keeper. I received a copy of this and I voluntarily reviewed it. My comments are my honest opinion.
KrisAnderson_TAR More than 1 year ago
Cruel Winter by Sheila Connolly is the sixth book in A County Cork Mystery series. Maura Donovan owns Sullivan’s Pub in Leap, Ireland. Maura inherited the pub from Old Mick Sullivan nine months ago, after the death of her grandmother. This is Maura’s first winter is Ireland and she is unprepared (she had originally only planned to spend a week in Ireland). Maura heads to Sullivan’s to check in with Mick Nolan, her bartender. A big snow storm is expected to come through that night and Maura is unsure what to do to prepare for it (she is from Boston where they have big snowstorms frequently). It turns out that other people do not want to stay home alone during the storm and decide to visit the pub. One of pub’s patrons turns out to be Diane Wolfe Caldwell. Diane was questioned in the murder of her neighbor, Sharon Morgan twenty years ago. In the court of public opinion, Diane was found guilty. The murder is still unsolved. Maura decides that this is the perfect opportunity to hear Diane’s story and get some answers (Maura wants to prove that Diane did not commit the crime). Cruel Winter is nicely written and can be read alone (the author provides the necessary background information on Maura and how she ended up in Ireland). I did, though, find the pace of the novel to be extremely slow. The story takes place over the course of one day (a very long, drawn out day). I give Cruel Winter 3 out of 5 stars. The mystery is one that plays out over the course of the novel. Most readers will be able to figure out the whodunit before the reveal. I did find some elements of the story to be unrealistic. Maura knew winter was coming, but she has no winter clothes (wouldn’t you purchase some clothes if you did not bring them with you). Maura has been responsible for the pub for nine months, but she has no clue how it is run. I found it odd that after living in Boston, Maura has no idea on how to prepare for a storm (making sure you have fuel, food, batteries, blankets, water). There is some information that is repeated throughout the novel (how Maura only planned to stay in Ireland one week and facts about the murder). For some reason, Maura felt it necessary to keep recapping the facts presented about the murder. I found Cruel Winter to be atypical for Sheila Connolly. I have read her other cozy mysteries and enjoyed them. In future books of A County Cork Mystery series I would like to see Maura start to grow up and take responsibility. In Cruel Winter, we do get to catch up with Jimmy, Rose, Mick, Gillian, Harry, Sean, Eveline, and Old Billy.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I've read the books in order and have enjoyed this series; however, Cruel Winter had some inconsistencies that bothered me, which may not bother others as much. First, I really enjoyed the character development and the plot is unique and moves along at a good pace. But, there were times when I wanted to give Maura a little shake. For someone who grew up fairly self-reliant and independent, her reactions are questionable. Despite living in Boston, home of some great nor' easters, not knowing what to do for storm preparedness was just too much. Further, even though you have been paying the bills for your business and doing so for the past 9 months, you have no clue that there's a tab at the local grocer? I can't imagine the shopkeeper not wanting payment. Finally, not knowing the names of your fellow business owners in such a very small town seems odd. Especially those places you would most likely visit - a hardware store and the grocer. Even if you didn't frequent those places, as a barkeep you would hear stories about so and so, the deal they got on whatever from, or some new product so and so is now carrying in their store. Considering the character's penchant for details, it was jut a little too inconsistent for me to dismiss. With that said, I will purchase the next book in the series because I have enjoyed the books that came before Cruel Winter and Cruel Winter was a good read, just not the best of the series to date.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Deals well with the mystery series issue of too many murders in a small town.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Missisue4 More than 1 year ago
Cruel Winter is the fifth book in Sheila Connolly's County Cork Mystery series. And even though I have not read the previous ones, I was able to enjoy the story completely. And what a story it was !! First of all it is set in Ireland and I love stories from there. In Ireland everything seems so relaxed.....even talk about a 20 year old cold case murder. Maybe because the story takes place in a pub and everyone is enjoying a pint and even though they are about to receive a snowstorm that will prevent anyone from traveling, there is still a calmness while you read it. Maura has been in Ireland for less than a year. She grew up in Boston with her grandmother but traveled to Ireland to settle her grandmother's affairs and in doing so she inherited a cottage and pub. The cottage and pub were owned by a friend of her grandmothers that had no one to leave them to. So Maura stays in Ireand longer that she expects trying to learn the ins and outs of owning a pub. In Cruel Winter Maura and friends are preparing for a snowstorm. Snow is a rarity there and Maura has no idea what to expect. They prepare as best as they can and as the snow falls, there is a lively bunch left standed at the pub. Maura and her few employees try to maintain business and keep everyone warm. Eventually it comes out that one of the individuals is Diane Caldwell. Twenty years ago she was a suspect in her neighbors violent murder even though there was no evidence supporting that theory. Diane still claims her innocence but not everyone in the pub believe her. When it is also learned that one of the individuals was a gardai (policeman) on the case Maura talks eveyone into re-examining the case and see if there was something missed when it happened. So while they are snowed in with no electricity, limited food and a fireplace for heat, the group come together and review the facts. Is it possible that they may solve an old cold case before the power returns ?? Or did Diane really do it ? What will happen if she is found to be guilty ?? I loved Cruel Winter !! Even though the entire story taks place within a matter of 2 days, there is so much going on. I was so engrossed in the story that my imagination was wide open......I could see the pub, the fireplace, the people...... I LOVE books like that and if you do also, you gotta read Cruel Winter !!!
Zach Helton More than 1 year ago
I just finished this book.It was great.Can not wait for the next one.Maura should pick Mick for her love interest
ethel55 More than 1 year ago
When a snowstorm threatens tiny Leap, in Ireland, and as Maura Donovan's pub battens down the hatches to prepare, I was ready to be entertained. Not wanting to turn any travelers away, Maura keeps the pub open and is rewarded with several folks, looking to ride out the storm. Within this limited pool of characters, one is discovered to have been the chief suspect in a two decades old murder. In this framework, Diane relates the story of what happened the night of that long ago murder, with help from some of the long memories of the townsfolk. The groups acts as jury, with Maura in charge, all listening and proposing other ideas of how the crime may have been committed. And while it got a bit repetitious at times, I liked how they group was able to come to other conclusions. Although the fifth in a long running series, it would read well alone because of the way this story is told.
mkdmom More than 1 year ago
I received an ARC from Netgalley for an honest review. I have been a fan of this series since the first book came out. I love how the author really makes you feel like you are in Cork Ireland sitting in Sullivan's Pub with the gang. The characters are well written and each book in the series works well as a standalone novel. Very few continuing story lines from book to book and the ones that are, enough background information is given so that you don't feel like you've missed out on anything. I have to say that this book was my favorite in the series so far. It really had an Agatha Christie mystery-type feel to it. I loved how the characters took apart a decades old murder case and put their own modern day thoughts into solving it. Stranded in the pub during a snow storm, characters both old and new all participated in the drama of retrying the case. The story moved briskly and kept me highly entertained. Stop in at Sullivan's and pull up a stool...Maura, Billy, Mick and the gang will be happy to share a story or two with you!
Nancy0708 More than 1 year ago
A blizzard hits the tiny village of Leap,, Ireland causing a few locals and strangers to take refuge in Sullivan's Pub. Marura Donovan, owner, finds out one of those people is the prime suspect in an unsolved murder from 20 years ago. Diane, the suspect, knows people are talking about her and wants to tell the true story so someone knows what really happened. An informal type of jury is formed and some new facts emerge. Now Maura is hoping the police will reopen the case. I liked the way the author had me re-examining the facts throughout the book and how everything came together at the end. This is book #5 in the A County Cork Mystery series but the author does a good job of filling in the necessary facts so that it could be read as a stand alone.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I really enjoy this entire series. Takes us to the pub in a small village in Ireland imparts the struggles and the victories of those that live in the village. We are taken on the journey of the young american and watch her mature and grow into a responsible adult.