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By Lynne Handy

IR Rating:
Lynne Handy's OLD SINS is a well-written mystery, unique in its content and intriguing in a plot progression that is laced with clues and twists.
IR Approved

Maria Pell is a teacher and poet with a sole objective during her overseas leave of absence from her university position of burying herself in Celtic prehistory to enhance her craft, not to be involved in a string of missing persons cases and murders.

When Maria goes to Ireland on leave from her university teaching position in Indiana, she expects to spend her days on researching Celtic prehistory and writing poetry in her quiet, rented cottage overlooking the Irish Sea. But when a neighbor girl’s body is found in the water and several other girls go missing, she immediately drops her writing projects and gets involved in the cases, hoping her psychic abilities will help solve the mysteries. Maria snoops around and follows her instincts to produce many clues in the cases, and enforcement isn’t thrilled with her interference. But when she provides evidence that officials find most useful, they begin to rely heavily on her input and advice. When threats are made on Maria’s life, she realizes someone else hasn’t been thrilled with her involvement—the perpetrators themselves.

Lynne Handy’s OLD SINS includes all the essential elements of a good mystery—a strong hook, a cast of diverse suspects, multiple crimes, a trail of clues, lots of red herrings, and a satisfying ending. No detail is left unattended—in the end, readers know the answers to the who, what, where, when, why, and how of the story. Handy is a master at creating suspense through controlled release of information, keeping readers turning the pages and eager to find out what happens next. Layers of subplots, quick pacing, and challenging obstacles add to the suspense. High stakes—more murders and missing girls—add tension and uncertainty to the narrative. No shortage of subplots expands the scope of and lends depth to the OLD SINS narrative, establishing motivation for some of the characters and creating a sense of dramatic irony by foreshadowing future events. Some subplots are character-driven, some plot-driven. Some are directly connected to the main story, others not. Directly-related subplots—such as what it is that Maria’s cousin can’t bring herself to admit—raise the stakes for the main character. Indirect subplots—the romantic relationship between the protagonist and her former lover, for example—still are purposeful and executed in such a way that they don’t interfere with the main story. OLD SINS includes a wide cast of characters which is hard to keep track of without a playlist. Each has been crafted to be interesting, deftly painted, and easy to picture. Layers of personality and history, especially with the protagonist, are embedded in them making them multidimensional and believable.

Lynne Handy’s OLD SINS is a well-written mystery, unique in its content and intriguing in a plot progression that is laced with clues and twists.

~Florence Osmund for IndieReader

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