Matt Minogue is a police sergeant and then an inspector in Dublin. I have read all the books through THE CARRA KING as they were published. These are reviews of the first three books from major reviewers. This is a series that wears well. Minogue is a happily married husband and father who doesn’t have a drinking problem. Dublin is his home and readers will enjoy visiting this wonderful city.
Set in Brady’s native Ireland, his debut towers above the mystery category as an eloquent, compelling novel about The Troubles. Sgt. Minogue of the Dublin Garda is assigned the case when Jarlath Walsh, a student at Trinity College, is murdered. Questioning the victim’s girlfriend, professors and the college security chief, Minogue learns little except that the victim had no known enemies. The consensus is that everyone liked the naive youth, despite his foolish idea that Trinity’s hallowed grounds were being infiltrated by conspirators abetting IRA terrorists. Since rebels from the North are killing the detective’s fellow officers in repeated shoot-outs, he feels “Walsh’s “notion” was justified and joins in the all-out search for the cabal. As the Gardai move across the counties on the heels of a slippery “Yank” and a famous Irish playwright, events assume nightmarish proportions, especially for Minogue. Acting on honed instinct, he flies to the border at Ulster in hopes of preventing another sacrifice to the cause. This is where the curtain falls on the last act of a tragic drama involving many characters, each so skillfully realized that one virtually sees and hears them as human in this extraordinary novel.
Sergeant Matt Minogue, of Dublin’s Murder Squad (Unholy Ground, etc.), and his superior, Inspector James Kilmartin, are lobbed a political hot-potato: the possibly religiously motivated killing of the son of Chief Justice Fine, a prominent Irish Jew. After Paul Fine’s body washed ashore, the League for Solidarity with the Palestinian People called the press and claimed responsibility. No one, however, has ever heard of the group, and Minogue focuses instead on who erased the late newsman’s computer files: What story did someone want to disappear? A librarian remembers Fine calling up information on Opus Dei, a Catholic organization with a secret membership list and zealous political ambitions; and Minogue ties them in with two more incidents–the firebombing of the small Jewish museum/synagogue and the incendiary demolition of a former Opus Dei man in his Volkswagen. Before a leading MP and various others are toppled, the Murder Squad will investigate IRA factions and rabid ecology groups–plus delicately pressuring the Archbishop of Dublin for privileged information. Finely written, intellectually complex–and further proof of Brady’s ear for dialogue and skill in pricking the conscience of a country.
From Kirkus Reviews
Dublin’s answer to Maigret, Sergeant Matt Minogue (introduced in the provocative A Stone of the Heart, 1988), in trying to sort out the murder by strangling of a rambling tippler, 73-year-old Englishman Arthur Combs, finds himself in the middle of a WW II spy cover-up involving MI6. Anxious about incriminating bits that Combs may have left behind, the English send a man in to dog Minogue’s investigation. Soon Combs’s former contact, Ball, is murdered by Irish terrorists; Combs’s secret data is retrieved from an out-to- pasture horse; and Minogue’s simple murder case is overrun by nefarious British intelligence types who–with more murder on their minds–want to keep the lid on Combs’s wartime activities and the dastardly lengths his superiors went to keep him at them. By the time Minogue pieces together Combs’s story, several more have died; the British embassy is busy ferrying its wounded warriors back home; and Minogue is recommended for promotion. A handsomely written, dark journey into Irish politics and English duplicity. Brady is a master of the telling detail, and within the framework of the political novel, has created memorable characters, most especially the estimable Minogue.