Sarah O’Keeffe is a lawyer living on the Irish peninsula of Inishowen. This is a special area with a strong sense of community and loyalty. Since Sarah’s arrival, she has been using the name “Ben”, a shortened version of Benedicta. The headlines have faded, but she does not want anyone to know about her past. She is putting together a new life, moving on, yet not forgetting her sister.
O’Keeffe is a complicated yet determined character, and the story unfolds in her first person narrative. She is professional yet empathetic and dedicated to justice. She wants to get along and is flexible — but within limits. She talks directly to readers, sharing what she sees, hears, and feels. She rationalizes her past, (she does not know what she was thinking) and second guesses her actions, (she wonders if she has made a mistake). Readers get to know her well.
Carter scatters ordinary activities throughout the narrative, noise issues, schedule changes, food, dogs, books, and Christmas. Then, in sharp contrast, traumatic events in the past are uncovered, and a mysterious murder in the present is discovered to have connections to that past. Inishowen is a unique geographic section of Ireland. While some of the locations are fictional, many of the landmarks can be found on Google maps. This offers readers a unique opportunity to follow the actual geography throughout the imagined journey of the characters.
“The Well of Ice” is a compelling look at the struggles of one person and the lifestyle of an entire area. I was given a review copy of “The Well of Ice” from Andrea Carter and Oceanview Publishing. It is book three in the “Inishowen Mystery” series, but as a first-time reader, I was immediately drawn to and the characters and easily followed the storyline. Now I must go back to the first two books and explore more, while I look forward to the new books arriving in the months ahead.