Title: False Mermaid
Author: Erin Hart
Release Date: March 2, 2010
Rating: 4 out of 5
Nora Gavin is returning home to Mississippi for the first time in three years. After the death of her beloved sister, Triona, she fled to Ireland, unable to cope with the knowledge that her brother-in-law had killed her sister, yet there was no evidence to convict him. Now, Nora is determined to set things right and solve the mystery of her sister’s murder.
When I first heard the premise of False Mermaid, I was immediately intrigued. A murder mystery, with Irish mythology weaved into the storyline? I was completely sold from just the publisher’s summary.
Hart does an excellent job creating an atmospheric mystery in False Mermaid. Even though the main story isn’t set in Ireland, the aura of the Irish countryside permeates the novel. The addition of Irish mythology (specifically, the story of the selkie) really adds to the mysterious nature of the novel, making it a haunting read.
There are two mysteries within False Mermaid, though I enjoyed Nora’s search for her sister’s murderer the most. Admittedly, there were some convenient coincidences, but on the whole, the mystery was well-written, engaging, and made the novel difficult to put down.
I didn’t realize that False Mermaid is actually the third in a series of novels about Nora and her Irish lover Cormac. It works very well as a standalone; I wasn’t cognizant of the fact I was missing something while I was reading the book. It was only afterwards, when I was looking information up for my review, that I realized I had missed the previous two books. While I don’t like reading series books out of order, this one was well-written enough to where I didn’t even notice anything amiss. Still, I’ll be going back and reading the first two since I enjoyed False Mermaid!
False Mermaid is one of those novels that is just fun to read. There’s a gripping murder mystery, but the addition of the Irish mythology and its atmospheric quality take it a step up and inject a literary quality into it. I highly recommend this book for anyone who’s a fan of literary mysteries.