Haunted Ground

Haunted Ground

by Erin Hart

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780743272100
Publisher: Scribner
Publication date: 02/22/2005
Edition description: Reprint
Pages: 352
Sales rank: 458,293
Product dimensions: 5.25(w) x 8.00(h) x 1.00(d)

About the Author

Erin Hart is a theater critic and former administrator at the Minnesota State Arts Board. A lifelong interest in Irish traditional music led her to cofound Minnesota’s Irish Music and Dance Association. She and her husband, musician Paddy O’Brien, live in St. Paul, Minnesota, and frequently visit Ireland. Erin Hart was nominated for the Agatha and Anthony Awards for her debut novel, Haunted Ground, and won the Friends of American Writers Award in 2004. Visit her website at ErinHart.com.

Read an Excerpt

Chapter One

With a sodden rasp, Brendan McGann's turf spade sliced into the bank of earth below his feet. Had he known all that he'd turn up with the winter's fuel, perhaps he would have stopped that moment, climbed up onto the bank, and filled his shed with the uniform sods of extruded turf that a person could order nowadays by the lorry-load.

But Brendan continued, loosening each sopping black brick with the square-bladed turf spade, tossing it over the bank, where it landed with a plump slap. He performed his task with a grace and facility that comes from repeating the same motion times without number. Though his father and grandfather and generations before had taken their turf from this same patch of bog, Brendan never thought of himself as carrying on an age-old tradition, any more than he considered the life cycles of all the ancient, primitive plants whose resting place he now disturbed. This annual chore was the only way he'd ever known to stave off the bitter cold that crept under his door each November.

Chilblains were the farthest thing from Brendan's mind this unusually sun-drenched late-April morning. A steady westerly breeze swept over the bog, chasing high clouds across the watery blue of the sky, and teasing the moisture from the turf. Good drying today, his father would have said. Brendan worked in his shirtsleeves; his wool jacket, elbows permanently jointed from constant wearing, lay on the bank above his head. He paused, balancing his left arm on the handle of the upright sleán, and, with one rolled-up sleeve, mopped the sweat from his forehead, pushing away the damp, dark hair that stuck there. The skin on his face and forearms was beginning to feel the first pleasant tightness of a sunburn. Hunger was strong upon him at the moment, but just beyond it was an equally hollow feeling of anxiety. This might be the last year he could cut turf on his own land without interference. The thought of it burned in the pit of his stomach. As he clambered up the bank to fetch the handkerchief from his coat pocket, he searched the horizon for a bicycle.

Forty yards away, his younger brother Fintan made a comic figure as he struggled against the weight of a turf-laden wheelbarrow. Fintan dumped his two dozen wet sods at the end of a long row, one of many that lent the surface of the bog the temporary texture of corduroy. For a good square mile around them, little huts of footed turf covered the landscape. Here and there on the neighbors' allotments, large white plastic bags bulged with sods dried as hard as dung.

"Any sign of her yet?" Brendan shouted to his brother, who raised his shoulders in a shrug and kept at his work. The two men had been hard at it since nine, with only a short tea break midmorning. Their sister Una was to bring them sandwiches and tea, and pitch in with footing the turf. It was cumbersome, backbreaking work, turning the sods by hand so that they dried in the sun. It would be another month before this lot could be drawn home.

Tucking his handkerchief in his back pocket, Brendan descended once more into his gravelike void, noting with a small grimace of satisfaction the angled pattern his sleán had made down the wall of the bank. He was reaching the good black turf now, more appreciated in these parts for its long-burning density than for the fact that it had remained in this place, undisturbed and undecayed, for perhaps eight thousand years.

He set to work again, trying to drown out the rumbling in his belly by concentrating on the sound and the rhythm of cutting. He was used to hard physical labor, but there was no doubt about it, something in the bog air put a fierce hunger on a man. What might the day's lunch be? Chicken sandwiches, or egg, or perhaps a bit of salty red bacon on a slab of brown bread. Each stroke became a wolfish bite, a slug of hot sweet tea to wash it down. One more row, he thought, heaving each successive sod with more violence, just one more row -- and then his blade stopped dead.

"Shite!"

Fintan's head poked into view at the edge of the cutaway. "What's the matter? Strike a bit of Noah's ark down there?"

"Ah, no," Brendan said. "Only a bit of horsehair."

There were four things, their father always said, that could stop a man cutting turf. Brendan could hear the old man's voice: Wig, water, blocks, and horsehair. Then he'd hold up four fingers in front of their faces. Meet any of them, boys, and it's your Waterloo.

"Hand us down the spade, will yeh?"

Fintan obliged, then leaned on the handle of his fork to watch. Though these things typically turned out to be tree trunks and roots, other wonders turned up in bogs occasionally -- rough beams of oak, ancient oxcarts, wheels of cheese or wooden tubs of butter. Stores buried for keeping in cool wetness and long since forgotten -- objects caught and suspended outside of time by the watery, airless, preserving power of the bog.

Working deliberately, Brendan dug around the perimeter of the fibrous mat, probing for its edges, and scraping away loose bits of peat. He knelt on the spongy bank and pulled at the strands that began to emerge from the soaking turf. This was not horsehair; it was tangled and matted, all right, but it was too long, and far too fine to be the rooty material his father called horsehair. Brendan worked his broad fingers into the dense black peat he'd pried loose with the spade. Without warning, a block in his left hand gave way, and he cast it aside.

"Holy Christ," Fintan whispered, and Brendan looked down. Almost touching his knee were the unmistakable and delicate curves of a human ear. It was stained a dark tobacco brown, and though the face was not visible, something in the line of the jaw, and the dripping tangle of fine hair above it, told him at once that this ear belonged to a woman. Brendan struggled to his feet, only dimly aware of the cold water that was seeping through the knees of his trousers and down into his wellingtons.

"Sorry, lads. You must be perished with the hunger." Una's breathless apology carried toward them on a bit of breeze. "But you should have seen me. I was literally up to my elbows..." Her voice trailed off when she saw the faces her brothers turned toward her. Brendan watched her stained fingers tighten their grip on the flask, and on the sandwiches she'd wrapped hastily in paper, as Una stepped to the edge of the bank beside Fintan and looked down at their awful discovery.

"Ah, Jaysus, poor creature" was all that she could say.

Copyright © 2003 by Erin Hart

Table of Contents

Reading Group Guide

Reading Group Guide for Haunted Ground by Erin Hart
1. Consider the title, Haunted Ground. In what ways are locations and people in the story haunted by the past? Near the end of the book, Cormac is thinking about all that's taken place around Bracklyn House: "It was a mistake to imagine the past simply buried underground. There was that element, yes, but it might be more accurate to think of it living, breathing, and walking upon the earth as well." How and why do various remnants of the past remain, and what pieces of the present day do you imagine will survive into the future?
2. Because they provide a practically anaerobic environment, Ireland's peat bogs suspend ordinary processes of decay-preserving for hundreds or even thousands of years organic materials and objects that would otherwise disintegrate and disappear. How is the bog used as a metaphor in this story?
3. In ancient Irish literature and folklore, the war goddess Badb often took the shape of a hooded crow -- an appropriate guise, since Badb was well known as a harbinger of death and devourer of battlefield corpses. How is the presence of crows woven through the narrative, and what are some of the other themes and symbols that occur throughout the story?
4. Each section of Haunted Ground opens with a quotation from a 17th-century historical source and describes conditions in Ireland during the Cromwellian resettlement. Did the quotations provide any hints or clues about the identity or history of the cailín rua?
5. Cormac compares his own work to that done by detectives -- "sorting through evidence and piecing together clues to unlock the secrets and the lives of those long dead." Both police work and archaeology use forensic science to answer questions, not only about causes of death, but also about the motivations and actions of the living. In what ways are archaeology and forensic pathology linked in Haunted Ground?
6. The three main characters (Cormac Maguire, Nora Gavin, and Garrett Devaney) are all initially unwilling to allow anyone else access to the painful experiences that have shaped their lives. How do these inner demons drive each of them to become involved in the death of the cailín rua and the disappearance of Mina Osborne?
7. How are the two parallel mysteries intertwined in this story? In particular, how does the life of the cailín rua intersect with the lives of the present inhabitants of Bracklyn House and the people of Dunbeg, and what are the parallels and the dissimilarities between the stories of the cailín rua and Mina Osborne?
8. Discuss the many ways in which history is conveyed -- through songs, tunes, traditional folklore and folkways, memories of local inhabitants, written documents -- and how all of these elements are necessary in solving the puzzle of the cailín rua. Science also plays a large part in unraveling the riddle; what are the scientific discoveries that lead Nora to the final proof of the red-haired girl's identity?
9. Even though she was born in Ireland and feels a strong connection to its musical traditions, Nora feels somewhat cut off from Irish culture. Is this a common experience for immigrants, and is it a gap that can ever be bridged? Garrett Devaney also experiences a kind of cultural disconnect from his children, and though this split is more generational than geographic, is it just as difficult to overcome?
10. Nora and Garrett Devaney both worry about how much traditional culture is lost each time a person who is a repository of that culture expires. What do you think of Cormac's theory that old ways are never completely lost, but are embedded within the subconscious of each succeeding generation, and only rise to the surface under certain conditions? Is there any such thing as a collective unconscious?
11. Nora has a very strong emotional reaction to the sight of the red-haired girl, and again experiences a disturbing jolt while alone with the girl's head in the museum conservation lab. She knows that expecting to discover the identity of the red-haired girl goes against reason and all her scientific training, and yet her conviction is real. Have you ever had such a strong emotional connection with someone or something, or experienced any similarly strange convergences of coincidence like those that lead to the discovery of the red-haired girl's identity?
12. A common device in crime novels is the use of so-called "red herrings" to led the reader astray from the actual perpetrator of the crime. Who and what are the red herrings in Haunted Ground, and how did each of them seem to point to possible suspects?
13. Do you think Nora's brother-in-law really killed her sister? And does solving the mystery of the red-haired girl give her a sense of closure about her sister's death, or increase her desire to find justice? Is it possible for Hugh and Jeremy to have a successful relationship, and, given the harrowing events he's experienced, do you think Jeremy will ever be able to lead an ordinary life?

Introduction

Reading Group Guide for Haunted Ground by Erin Hart

1. Consider the title, Haunted Ground. In what ways are locations and people in the story haunted by the past? Near the end of the book, Cormac is thinking about all that's taken place around Bracklyn House: "It was a mistake to imagine the past simply buried underground. There was that element, yes, but it might be more accurate to think of it living, breathing, and walking upon the earth as well." How and why do various remnants of the past remain, and what pieces of the present day do you imagine will survive into the future?

2. Because they provide a practically anaerobic environment, Ireland's peat bogs suspend ordinary processes of decay-preserving for hundreds or even thousands of years organic materials and objects that would otherwise disintegrate and disappear. How is the bog used as a metaphor in this story?

3. In ancient Irish literature and folklore, the war goddess Badb often took the shape of a hooded crow — an appropriate guise, since Badb was well known as a harbinger of death and devourer of battlefield corpses. How is the presence of crows woven through the narrative, and what are some of the other themes and symbols that occur throughout the story?

4. Each section of Haunted Ground opens with a quotation from a 17th-century historical source and describes conditions in Ireland during the Cromwellian resettlement. Did the quotations provide any hints or clues about the identity or history of the cailín rua?

5. Cormac compares his own work to that done by detectives — "sorting through evidence and piecing together clues to unlock the secrets andthe lives of those long dead." Both police work and archaeology use forensic science to answer questions, not only about causes of death, but also about the motivations and actions of the living. In what ways are archaeology and forensic pathology linked in Haunted Ground?

6. The three main characters (Cormac Maguire, Nora Gavin, and Garrett Devaney) are all initially unwilling to allow anyone else access to the painful experiences that have shaped their lives. How do these inner demons drive each of them to become involved in the death of the cailín rua and the disappearance of Mina Osborne?

7. How are the two parallel mysteries intertwined in this story? In particular, how does the life of the cailín rua intersect with the lives of the present inhabitants of Bracklyn House and the people of Dunbeg, and what are the parallels and the dissimilarities between the stories of the cailín rua and Mina Osborne?

8. Discuss the many ways in which history is conveyed — through songs, tunes, traditional folklore and folkways, memories of local inhabitants, written documents — and how all of these elements are necessary in solving the puzzle of the cailín rua. Science also plays a large part in unraveling the riddle; what are the scientific discoveries that lead Nora to the final proof of the red-haired girl's identity?

9. Even though she was born in Ireland and feels a strong connection to its musical traditions, Nora feels somewhat cut off from Irish culture. Is this a common experience for immigrants, and is it a gap that can ever be bridged? Garrett Devaney also experiences a kind of cultural disconnect from his children, and though this split is more generational than geographic, is it just as difficult to overcome?

10. Nora and Garrett Devaney both worry about how much traditional culture is lost each time a person who is a repository of that culture expires. What do you think of Cormac's theory that old ways are never completely lost, but are embedded within the subconscious of each succeeding generation, and only rise to the surface under certain conditions? Is there any such thing as a collective unconscious?

11. Nora has a very strong emotional reaction to the sight of the red-haired girl, and again experiences a disturbing jolt while alone with the girl's head in the museum conservation lab. She knows that expecting to discover the identity of the red-haired girl goes against reason and all her scientific training, and yet her conviction is real. Have you ever had such a strong emotional connection with someone or something, or experienced any similarly strange convergences of coincidence like those that lead to the discovery of the red-haired girl's identity?

12. A common device in crime novels is the use of so-called "red herrings" to led the reader astray from the actual perpetrator of the crime. Who and what are the red herrings in Haunted Ground, and how did each of them seem to point to possible suspects?

13. Do you think Nora's brother-in-law really killed her sister? And does solving the mystery of the red-haired girl give her a sense of closure about her sister's death, or increase her desire to find justice? Is it possible for Hugh and Jeremy to have a successful relationship, and, given the harrowing events he's experienced, do you think Jeremy will ever be able to lead an ordinary life?

Erin Hart is a Minnesota theater critic and former administrator at the Minnesota State Arts Board. A lifelong interest in Irish traditional music led her to cofound Minnesota's Irish Music and Dance Association. A theater major from St. Olaf College, she has an M.A. in English and creative writing from the University of Minnesota, Minneapolis. She and her husband, musician Paddy O'Brien, live in Minneapolis and frequently visit Ireland. Erin Hart was nominated for the Agatha and Anthony Awards for her debut novel, Haunted Ground, and won the Friends of American Writers Award in 2004. Visit her website at www.erinhart.com.

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Haunted Ground 3.9 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 60 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
At first when i started reading this book it sounded like it was going to be very interesting...as i read on i began to think,'not so much'. There were a few characters that werent completley developed and there were major holes in there existences. It gets very wordy and ultimately boring. But the way Hart descibes things are amazing! I actually felt i was around the characters looking at the Irish scenery. Eventually when i did finish the book it seemed to be more of a general murder/mystery instead of a thrilling novel. I was happy to be done with it.
Guest More than 1 year ago
What I thought would be a thrilling and interesting read got a little bogged down when there was some incomplete character development. What I was hoping would be historical fiction turned into a weak murder mystery. However, the chapters relating to the 'science' of bog bodies were very interesting. I was eager to learn more and hear about other bodies found throughout history. Unfortunately, the characters involved in the discovery were less interesting. Details hinted at were never delved into further. In the end, I felt I didn't really get to know any of the characters.
readerbynight More than 1 year ago
"Haunted Ground" is a rare find, an amazing book. It is not too often one finds a book that speaks to them. Hart's book does exactly that. I was hooked from the very first and savoured every page. The location is a wonderfully haunting part of Ireland, with its bogs that can preserve history as fresh as yesterday. The use of song to vocalize and hand down history adds a traditional aura. Perhaps it was best said in the review by The New York Times: "Hart writes with a lovely eloquence about how character is shaped by the music, the architecture, and the history of this harsh and beautiful land." I was so enveloped by the story that I could hear the voices as I read, feel the emotions and see the locale and happenings as though I were witness. The mystery remained true to itself throughout the book, with a separate underlying mystery from 400 years earlier. The characters are honestly depicted, growing throughout the book and arriving full-fledged by the end. I've read several exceptionally good books recently but I was invested in this one. Hart's fluid writing is reminiscent of that of Sharyn McCrumb's Appalachia series. My only regret is that it sat on my bookshelf so long before I was able to get to it. I wholeheartedly recommend "Haunted Ground" and will be on the lookout for more of Erin Hart's books.
edofarrell More than 1 year ago
This is a very poorly written book. There were several continuity problems -- characters suddenly doing things that were not foreshadowed, letting go of hands that were never held, moving items that were in another room -- in the novel. The characters were plastic, two-dimensional. The attempts by the author at portraying Irish people were shoddy and badly drawn. The novel was also derivative, taking some of its tone from Kathy Reichs and similar books. The 'mystery' was obvious from nearly the beginning of the novel and the plot twist at the end was shallow and unbelievable. Not worth the money, even in paperback.
cbl_tn on LibraryThing 26 days ago
The discovery of a woman's head in an Irish bog brings together archaeologist Cormac Maguire and forensic pathologist Nora Gavin. As they conduct their archaeological investigation, they're forced to deal with a much more recent mystery. Cormac's client for the archaeological survey, Hugh Osborne, has become a controversial figure in the small community. His wife and young son disappeared without a trace two years earlier, and the police investigation is still open. For personal reasons, Nora, like many, believes that Osborne must have murdered his wife and child. However, other people are behaving oddly, including Osborne's cousin's widow, her teenage son, and an angry neighbor.While I enjoyed the characters and the setting, neither the historical nor the modern mystery captured my interest. The combination of archaeology and pathology is one that appeals to me, but there wasn¿t enough of either one in this book. Nora and Cormac spent more time on their developing romance than on a systematic investigation of either mystery. The breaks in the mysteries seemed almost effortless on their part, the result of luck or convenient confessions. If I continue with the next book in the series, I'll borrow it from the library rather than purchase it.
thornton37814 on LibraryThing 26 days ago
While cutting some sod in a bog, a red-headed woman's head is found. Archaeologist Cormac Maguire is called to the scene and enlists forensic pathologist Nora Gavin to help. There are several threads running in the story line. There is the ancient mystery involving this bog body (or head, in this case), and there's a modern mystery with a missing wife and her child. Investigations into the modern mystery have mostly focused on the husband and father in the past, but there are plenty of motives abounding elsewhere. Although the investigation was formally turned over to officials in Dublin, the local detective "unofficially" reopens the investigation.What did I think? I wish there'd been a little more focus on the ancient investigation in the book. Too often the readers were just given the results of the research by a consultant. I thought the book itself got bogged down in a few places and was probably a little longer than it needed to be. I thought the "romantic" interactions between Cormac and Nora were awkward. The first time it happened I wasn't really expecting it, and I think there was an assumed familiarity that readers of which readers were not aware since this was the first in the series. Overall, though, it was a very entertaining read.
cmbohn on LibraryThing 26 days ago
Themes: secrets, crime, missing mothers and children, tradition vs. technologyA farmer is cutting peat when he find a long buried body in the bog. Well, part of a body. A woman's head. At first, locals think it might belong to a missing mother who disappeared 2-3 years ago, but the head has been there much, much longer. Nora Gavin, a forensic scientist who studies bog bodies, and Cormac Maguire, an archeologist, join up to figure out what happened to the body. Meanwhile a police inspector has been warned off the disappearance of Mina Osborne, but he won't give up the case without one last investigation.I liked this one, the first in a series set in modern Ireland. For some reason, I had the idea that modern day Ireland is mostly like England, with a little Irish flair. But this book was so totally different, in the names of people and places, in their mindset, and in the setting itself. Just really different, and I really enjoyed my little trip to the Emerald Isle. 4 stars.
Maydacat on LibraryThing 26 days ago
There are actually two mysteries in this novel ¿ one a few years old and one a few centuries. One involves two missing people; one concerns identifying an unknown corpse. Set in Ireland, this audio version is rich in folklore and tradition and well read by John Keating. Author Erin Hart does an excellent job of intertwining the two mysteries as she weaves her way to a surprising conclusion. With believable and complex characters, this riveting mystery will capture your interest from the very beginning to the grisly end.
KatharineDB on LibraryThing 26 days ago
meh... just never quite got there for me...
auntmarge64 on LibraryThing 26 days ago
The first in a mystery series set in Ireland and starring an Irish archaeologist and an American pathologist. Here, the head of a woman is found in a bog, drawing the two scientists into a search for her ancient identity as well as into a more recent mystery: the disappearance of the young wife and child of the local landowner, upon whom suspicion has centered. The historical background, and especially the details concerning bog bodies, is very interesting, and the book has a wonderful final twist. The characterization is not quite as successful, with some less-than-convincing explanations of behavior which seems rather gratuitous. However, I enjoyed this quite well enough to read the sequel, which is already on my shelves.
carolmt on LibraryThing 26 days ago
It was a great read. The characters are weill-developed.
karinnekarinne on LibraryThing 26 days ago
Eh. "Haunted Ground" was okay. I very much enjoyed the two mysteries that were the focal points of the novel: an ancient beheading and a more recent missing-persons case. The timing was a little off, with all the solutions coming at once, wham bam, but the puzzles were interesting enough that I didn't notice that while I was reading; I just wanted to find out what happened.My main dissatisfaction with the novel was that the romantic bits seemed awkward and pasted on. There ...more Eh. "Haunted Ground" was okay. I very much enjoyed the two mysteries that were the focal points of the novel: an ancient beheading and a more recent missing-persons case. The timing was a little off, with all the solutions coming at once, wham bam, but the puzzles were interesting enough that I didn't notice that while I was reading; I just wanted to find out what happened.My main dissatisfaction with the novel was that the romantic bits seemed awkward and pasted on. There were some explorations of a few characters' family lives, and those were okay, but... you know how "Law & Order" will sometimes try to shoehorn in the personal stuff, and it seems forced? It was like that. I would have preferred this book without the romance. There were also details in there (along the lines of "she held the carton up to her nose to see if the milk had turned") that I guess were supposed to help set the scene, but felt awkward.On the plus side, Erin Hart has a knack for atmosphere. I don't know much about Ireland, so I can't say how authentic the setting was, but I enjoyed the place descriptions and use of local language.
mckait on LibraryThing 26 days ago
The Irish setting and the historical and archaeological details added to this read for me. It opens in a peat bog in a small town and offers a peek into the lives of some of those who live there. Tragedy and betrayal are part of the story, but so is love and hope. A very enjoyable weekend read!
krsball on LibraryThing 26 days ago
Great mystery by a promising new author! I love both her books!
chinquapin on LibraryThing 26 days ago
Irish archaeologist, Cormac Maguire, and American pathologist, Nora Gavin, are called to investigate a severed head that was uncovered by a farmer cutting peat in a remote Irish bog. Due to the preservative nature of the peat in bogs, the head could be from more recent times to centuries old. As they investigate the red-headed girl, Nora and Cormac discover that a more recent mystery is also disturbing this small village. Three years ago, the wife and son of the local, wealthy landowner went for a walk and never returned. Some in the village believe that her husband, Hugh Osborne, killed them and that the bog may some day turn up their bodies as well. As their investigations continue, Nora and Gavin find themselves living at the Osborne home and becoming drawn into this puzzling disappearance as well. I found this to be a beautifully written story told in a style that is perfectly evocative of the rural Ireland of its setting. Hart's depiction of Galway is rich and detailed, full of Irish lore, traditions and superstitions. I found myself drawn to the characters of both Nora and Gavin and the local police inspector, Garrett Devaney. I thought that there were some issues with the pacing in the novel, especially towards the end. The good, however, far outweighed the bad, and I am happy to add another author to my watch list.
mikedraper on LibraryThing 26 days ago
Brendan McGann is cutting turf in a peak bog in a chilly April morning when he discovers the head of a young woman in Lough Derg in County Gallway.Cormac Maguire is an archaeologist at the National Museum and Nora Gaven is an American pathologist. They work well in preserving the young woman's head and attempt to find out how she came to be there.Other young women have been missing from the area including the wife and young child of Hugh Osborne.Osborne is doing some renovations to his home and asks Cormac and Nora to help with a construction site. The move into his home while doing so and live with Hough's cousin and teenage son.This is a wonderfully descriptive novel with Gothic aspects. It depicts the emotions of the locals, their love of music that gives meaning to many of their lives and gives history of the bog that has provided a livelihoon to many for generations.Cormac and Nora find a ring in the girl's mouth and with that are able to date the time she was decapitated to around 1652. They learn that this was a time of ethnic cleansing similar to what has gone on in the world in the last number of years.It is a well put together story paralleling the story of the missing women, Hough's family and the woman whose head was found.Highly recommended!
pharrm on LibraryThing 26 days ago
A red-headed woman is found deeply buried in an Irish bog. Who is she and how long has she been ther? These are the questions that Nora and Cormac work on. A local woman and son are also missing. How do they dove-tail and who is resposible for horrible finding? Great read. Couldn't put it down.
Oregonreader on LibraryThing 26 days ago
Set in Ireland, archeologist Cormac Macguire and pathologist Nora Gavin are called in to investigate the uncovering of a woman's severed head. Since the bog tends to preserve tissue, the head could be hundreds of years old. Hart includes a lot of science as the two try to discover the history of the find. But this discovery unleashes new interest in a more current mystery in the town, the disappearance of the wife and child of a prominent citizen who is generally suspected of being responsible. Hart moves back and forth between the two mysteries and does a good job with both. There is also a developing personal relationship between the two scientists that is well done. She gives a good sense of place in describing the rural Irish setting. I'll definitely read her next book.
booknutzz on LibraryThing 26 days ago
This is a very good read. You learn more about bog bodies and what really happens to them while enjoying a good murder mystery. I highly recommend this book.
readerbynight on LibraryThing 26 days ago
"Haunted Ground" is a rare find, an amazing book. It is not too often one finds a book that speaks to them. Hart's book does exactly that. I was hooked from the very first and savoured every page. The location is a wonderfully haunting part of Ireland, with its bogs that can preserve history as fresh as yesterday. The use of song to vocalize and hand down history adds a traditional aura. Perhaps it was best said in the review by The New York Times: "Hart writes with a lovely eloquence about how character is shaped by the music, the architecture, and the history of this harsh and beautiful land."I was so enveloped by the story that I could hear the voices as I read, feel the emotions and see the locale and happenings as though I were witness. The mystery remained true to itself throughout the book, with a separate underlying mystery from 400 years earlier. The characters are honestly depicted, growing throughout the book and arriving full-fledged by the end. I've read several exceptionally good books recently but I was invested in this one. Hart¿s fluid writing is reminiscent of that of Sharyn McCrumb¿s Appalachia series. My only regret is that it sat on my bookshelf so long before I was able to get to it. I wholeheartedly recommend "Haunted Ground" and will be on the lookout for more of Erin Hart's books.
susiesharp on LibraryThing 26 days ago
This was an interesting mystery with the archeological/historical mystery thrown in. It was kind of a cozy ( well not exactly a cozy more like M.C. Beaton or Louise Penny) except for the F-bombs that were so superfluous to the story they took me right out and actually took me awhile to get back in. Also this does move a bit slow, so if you are expecting a fast moving mystery this isn¿t the book for that.I was very interested to find out about the Bog body or should I say head of a red haired woman the mystery of how long the body has been in the bog is resolved pretty quickly but then the mystery of who she was starts, there is also a present day mystery of a woman and her child that have been missing for a few years. The crux of the book is these two mysteries and how they will interconnect because it¿s a mystery with a present day & historical mystery so you know somehow they will come back around to each other. How they connected wasn¿t done as well as I hoped they would be. Also I had pretty much figured out what happened to the missing woman.This is the first in a series and first book for this author and I did like Nora so if she is the lead character in this series I would probably read the next book, but it won¿t be one I will immediately run out and get. Audio production: Jennifer McMahon was a new to me narrator who went back and forth from an Irish accent to an American seamlessly I was very impressed. However her male voices need a little work.3 stars
PirateJenny on LibraryThing 26 days ago
A mystery with bog bodies. Nuff said.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Very good book, she puts you right there in Ireland. The author is also very nice person has done her homework.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago