Black-Irish Setter
Bill Stackhouse
book reviews:
· general fiction
· chick lit/romance
· sci-fi/fantasy
· graphic novels
· nonfiction
· audio books

Click here for the RSS Feed

· author interviews
· children's books @
· DVD reviews @

win books
buy online


for authors
& publishers

for reviewers

click here to learn more

Buy *Black-Irish Setter: A Caitlin O'Rourke Mystery* online

Black-Irish Setter: A Caitlin O'Rourke Mystery
Bill Stackhouse
Mystery & Suspense Press
260 pages
February 2003
rated 4 of 5 possible stars

previous review next review

The true fun in reading Black-Irish Setter is in getting to know Caitlin O'Rourke, the ex-professional athlete, (good enough to have won an Olympic gold medal) forced into retirement in her late twenties due to a blown knee. Through a series of circumstances and by degrees, she is drawn into acting as an amateur sleuth. She is a sassy, tough, smart woman with a crooked smile and a "bent schnozz," as she tells it, olive skin and dark hair, long legs and a still-powerful athletic build that allows her to beat most average men in either a game of B-ball or in a barroom brawl. In fact, we no sooner meet Caitlin then she is throwing a misbehaving customer out of Keogh's, an Irish bar she owns:

"When you've got legs as long as mine, you can do three things with them. Well, there are more than three, actually, when you consider what the cowboy had in mind, but when it comes to confrontation, there are three primary things. Number one, of course, is to walk away. Number two is to run. I chose the third option.

Reaching behind me, I grabbed the pint mug of Red Mountain Golden Lager that I had been nursing and sloshed the contents into the cowboy's face. A split-second later I let him have the right Lucchese where he'd be sure to remember it the next time he sang the descant to O Holy Night with the boy's choir. As he doubled over, dropping a pearl-handled stiletto to the floor, I cracked him upside the head with the empty mug. End of confrontation in about five seconds."
Tough girl. Considered an "Amazon" by some. A modern woman. She is surrounded by family members, Pat, Seamus and Mary Grace, Seamus's wife and Caitlin's sister-in-law, who mothers Caitlin and rules the roost at Keogh's with an iron but good-hearted hand. Caitlin bought Keogh's bar for her relatives, to give them a place to work and earn money. She lives in the apartment over the bar and gets her meals for free in Keogh's, so she considers it a good deal for herself as well. She could afford to buy the place as she's financially well-off, having made a lot of money during her athletic career, short as it was.

A series of events draws Caitlin into a murder mystery. First she meets Matt Denning (right after slapping the beer mug over the head of the trouble maker) and then witnesses Matt Denning's wife, Delane, being mugged. Delane is shaken up and afraid to return home alone while her husband is on a business trip, for the mugger escaped with the keys to her home. She invites Caitlin to her vacation house to spend a few days. Caitlin is not thrilled to be a babysitter but accepts and over the next few days becomes a friend of Delane's. But no sooner do they arrive back at the Denning's main home when Delane is killed by a shotgun blast and Caitlin's nose is broken once again with a blow from the butt of the shotgun. The good news is that this break results in the straightening of her nose. For a large part of the rest of the novel, Caitlin must wear a nose guard to protect her broken nose, a fact that cramps her style a bit, for she is not averse to meeting attractive men and wants them to think her attractive, too.

The murder plot is interesting and the solution is a satisfactory one, clever in the way Caitlin reasons her way to solving the mystery. Author Bill Stackhouse plays fair with the reader in this regard, letting him in on the same clues Caitlin has to work with. An additional surprise at the end of the novel regards Caitlin, on a personal level. Black-Irish Setter is a good, solid mystery and a fun read with a great amateur sleuth who will hopefully be inviting us into Keogh's bar again to take readers along for the ride in solving other crimes.

© 2003 by Mary B. Stuart for Curled Up With a Good Book.

buy *Black-Irish Setter: A Caitlin O'Rourke Mystery* online
click here for more info
Click here to learn more about this month's sponsor!

fiction · sf/f · comic books · nonfiction · audio
newsletter · free book contest · buy books online
review index · links · · authors & publishers

site by ELBO Computing Resources, Inc.