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An Early Wake

(10 customer reviews)

$26.99


by Sheila Connolly

Synopsis
Pub owner Maura Donovan may have Irish kin, but she doesn’t seem to have the luck of the Irish. Who could have foreseen that bringing live music back to Sullivan’s Pub would lead to a dead musician?

Summer is ending in County Cork, Ireland, and with it the tourist season. Expat Maura Donovan is determined to keep Sullivan’s Pub in the black as the days grow shorter—but how? When she hears that the place was once a hot spot for Irish musicians who’d come play in the back room, she wonders if bringing back live music might be Sullivan’s salvation.

As word gets out, legendary musicians begin to appear at the pub, and the first impromptu jam session brings in scores of music lovers. But things hit a sour note when Maura finds a dead musician in the back room the next morning. With a slew of potential suspects, it’s going to take more than a pint and a good thing to force a murderer to face the music.

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About this book

270 Pages
6 - 7 Hours to read
78k Total words

Description

Pub owner Maura Donovan may have Irish kin, but she doesn’t seem to have the luck of the Irish. Who could have foreseen that bringing live music back to Sullivan’s Pub would lead to a dead musician?

Summer is ending in County Cork, Ireland, and with it the tourist season. Expat Maura Donovan is determined to keep Sullivan’s Pub in the black as the days grow shorter—but how? When she hears that the place was once a hot spot for Irish musicians who’d come play in the back room, she wonders if bringing back live music might be Sullivan’s salvation.

As word gets out, legendary musicians begin to appear at the pub, and the first impromptu jam session brings in scores of music lovers. But things hit a sour note when Maura finds a dead musician in the back room the next morning. With a slew of potential suspects, it’s going to take more than a pint and a good thing to force a murderer to face the music.


  • Penguin Publishing Group; February 2015
  • ISBN: 9780698181793
  • Title: An Early Wake
  • Series: A County Cork Mystery
  • Author: Sheila Connolly
  • Imprint: Berkley
  • Language: English

In The Press

Praise for the New York Times Bestselling County Cork Mystery series:

“‘Tis a grand thing…The prolific Sheila Connolly…pays tribute to her Irish heritage…Connolly invests this leisurely series opener with a wealth of Irish color and background.” —Richmond Times-Dispatch

“Another winner of a series…Connolly’s latest is a captivating tale–sweet, nostalgic, and full of Irish charm, but also tightly plotted and full of twists, turns, and shocking reveals.” –The Maine Suspect

“[A] well-set and nicely paced cozy.” —Library Journal

“The Irish countryside continues to enchant…Maura is a strong lead character, near perfect.” –MyShelf.com


About The Author

Sheila Connolly is the New York Times bestselling, Anthony and Agatha award nominated author of the Orchard Mysteries, the Museum Mysteries, and the County Cork Mysteries. She has taught art history; structured and marketed municipal bonds for major cities; worked as a staff member on two statewide political campaigns; and served as a fundraiser for several nonprofit organizations. Sheila also managed her own consulting company, providing genealogical research services. In addition to genealogy, she loves restoring old houses, visiting cemeteries, and traveling. Now a full-time author, Sheila thinks writing mysteries is a lot more fun than any of her previous occupations. She is married and has one daughter and three cats.

Additional information

FORMAT

Paperback

10 reviews for An Early Wake

  1. Diana H. Maine

    AN EARLY WAKE by Shelia Connolly is the 3rd title in her County Cork Mystery series.I do like the sense of place – Ireland, County Cork, the town of Leap – and the characters. I have read the first two titles in the series and enjoyed them.But this particular title fell a bit flat for me. I liked the central idea of bringing the music back to Sullivan’s Pub in the town of Leap (that Maura Donovan inherited). But Ms. Connolly could have given a lot more history and background to the Irish traditional music scene which would have made the story so much more interesting to read.There are very few `fleshed out’ characters besides Maura Donovan. And even she seems to lack personality at times. Are there no other inhabitants in Leap? I want more detail – on other community members; Where does Mick live? the countryside; the culture; the music scene past and present. The story and characters are too one-dimensional. Maura has been in Leap for over 6 months and never been to Cork (an hour away)? Hasn’t figured out taxes? licenses? pub closing times? insurance for her inherited pub Sullivan’s? She doesn’t understand that both Sean and Mick are interested in her? She grew up in South Boston and worked for years in pubs and doesn’t know anything about Irish music? It is too much of a stretch to believe it.And the mystery? There really isn’t one or one that warrants an entire book. It is too light-weight to take seriously.I am disappointed.

  2. Elizabeth J. Mcfadden

    I quite enjoyed the first two cozies in this series. Maura was a smart, friendly, capable, and adaptable young woman, and I liked her. What on earth happened?In this installment, she’s become timid, negative, sarcastic, spectacularly oblivious, and simply stupid. She’s spent virtually every waking hour in this pub for six months, and never took five minutes to check out the back room? Implausible. The one time she’d gone in there, in the previous book, she DIDN’T NOTICE that it had a balcony? What, is she blind? She has no idea where her employees live (in a town this tiny, how is that possible?) — knows virtually nothing about them — after working alongside them for six months. In all that time, never a “So tell me about yourself, Mick?” conversation? I don’t buy it … but if it were true, it would suggest that’s she’s profoundly self-absorbed. Which she hasn’t seemed, in the earlier volumes.I love that she’s introducing music to the pub. But why is she so negative about it? So convinced it will be a disaster? Why is she defensive about her lack of a background in music? Why is she so suspicious of everyone involved, all of a sudden? And some of the dialogue is patently absurd. (VERY MINOR SPOILER) When the back room becomes a possible crime scene, there’s a discussion of whether the pub can open. Why does it take a ton of discussion to come up with the idea that the pub can open but the back room is temporarily closed … isn’t that a blindingly obvious solution?The first two books were good fun. I wish that the supporting characters and the town were both more fleshed out — the characters are pretty two-dimensional, and the town is barely described at all. And I wish the dialogue captured more Irish flavor. But otherwise, they were good light reads … I’m sorry this one seems to have taken a step down.

  3. Stargazer Trading

    I love Sheila Connolly. She is my favorite Cozy Mysteries author; I’ve read all of her books. This book is a shame. She has taken a well-rounded, interesting character and made her into a paranoid sniveling idiot. She took this young lady who had the courage to move to a foreign country and turned her into a whining insecure loathsome creature. Taken her from a person I’d love to have a cup of tea with to one I’d cross the street to avoid. A person dies in her pub, big deal. This would be good for a gossip, not for the owner to worry about having to close their doors. She lives so long in the worry zone, all of the character traits that made her interesting and special have disappeared. People who have welcomed her from day one she now wonders “what she knows about them” “can they be trusted.” She can’t possibly go on a second date, because how on earth would the world continue to spin if she does? She has a room in her pub she has never explored? Really, a room she is just letting sit idle, what kind of good business sense is that? There are extra keys out there. Wow! Only an idiot would believe there would not be given the personality of the previous owner. I’m not sure I will continue the series, such a disappointment.

  4. T Reader

    Let me start by saying I love Sheila Connolly and I’ve read almost everything she’s written. Now, some of her books might not have the most in-depth mystery, but that’s okay – I enjoy spending time with her characters – they are fun, smart, lively, quirky, and enjoyable.That said, this series just doesn’t do anything for me. The plot is light, which would be okay if the characters were engaging. But they aren’t. The main character, Maura, is drab. She does nothing. She owns a pub in Ireland and knows nothing about her business. She doesn’t travel to see the sights of Ireland. She seems to be in a funk.It just isn’t enjoyable to spend time with someone in a constant funk. Please, Sheila, give Maura some spunk, some initiative, some life, anything!

  5. farmgirl

    So far I managed to struggle my way through 8 chapters.I loved the 2 first books (Buried in a bog and scandal in Kibbereen) so much that I ordered the next 4 in the series. Boy was that a mistake! Here is why I have issues with this book:Warning! Spoilers ahead:Maura starts out not having a clue about the business (paperwork) side of owning a pub. Not that I know it, but after owning it for 6 months I’d sure as heck make an attempt to start!Then she keeps reminding is that she didn’t have any idea about the backroom and the music that was played… uhm in the 2nd book it was explained the backroom still had some musical equipment, a bar and a balcony… so why keep emphasizing that she didn’t know??Then we still don’t know anything about Mick, other than that he works at the pub a couple hours a day and checks in on Bridget… in such a small town you can’t get away from other people’s lives.Will continue to read since I have 3 more books after this one and will update this review after I finished it.

  6. Laurel-Rain Snow

    Summer is ending in County Cork, Ireland, and with it the tourist season. Expat Maura Donovan is determined to keep Sullivan’s Pub in the black as the days grow shorter—but how? When she hears that the place was once a hot spot for Irish musicians who’d come play in the back room, she wonders if bringing back live music might be Sullivan’s salvation. As word gets out, legendary musicians begin to appear at the pub, and the first impromptu jam session brings in scores of music lovers. But things hit a sour note when Maura finds a dead musician in the back room the next morning. With a slew of potential suspects, it’s going to take more than a pint and a good think to force a murderer to face the music.My Thoughts: In this third County Cork outing, we find Maura Donovan in a contemplative mood, pondering the six months she has run the pub, an unexpected inheritance. An Early Wake (County Cork series Book 3) offers a glimpse of the bucolic life Maura has come to accept, even though she realizes that, at this point, she doesn’t really have a plan.She doesn’t have ledgers or a computer, and her take from the pub seems to be all cash. She manages to pay her staff, which consist of Old Jimmy and his daughter Rose…and Bridget Nolan’s grandson Mick. She also manages to keep in the supplies and pay for electricity.Next door to Maura’s cottage, also a part of her inheritance, lives Bridget Nolan, who offers tea and wisdom each day.Old Billy, who takes up daily residence in the back corner of the pub, feels like a fixture, but he offers stories, wisdom, and somehow brings the musicians to the pub by word of mouth.While this story offers little in the way of in-depth information on the villagers or even the regulars who show up at the pub, we still have a sense of the easy-going life of those who have become Maura’s new world. I loved the idyllic feeling, and even when the musicians’ jam fest brought the hint of violence along with the death of the musician, we could also feel secure that the steady law enforcement, embodied by Sean Murphy, could handle whatever came up.As I settled into the story, I found myself wanting more. Knowing another outing could bring additional layers and more depth to Maura’s life, I felt a surge of hope that she could even find a love interest. 4.5 stars.

  7. Joanna McKenna

    Another chapter in the evolution of Maura Donovan from reserved former Boston bartender to take charge rural Ireland pub owner and the locals who keep it running and the till mostly filled. This time, six months into her new life, a young musicology student from Dublin sets a chain of events in motion that brings aging celebrities of Eire’s traditional music scene to Sullivan’s for one night to relive its heydey as *the* place to be on a weekend night in Co Cork. The after-hours murder of one of the musicians dampers its success, but only slightly. Maura, who’s never had much interest in music on either side of the Pond, has to decide, among other things, whether the regular celeb jam sessions of old will become a permanent feature of Sullivan’s under her ownership despite the substantial increase in the pub’s once-dwindling finances they would bring. Decisions, decisions!

  8. Cozyreaders

    This book had me thinking about not only the storyline, but my own life as well. A very insightful look at how each person views their futures and desires.Publican Maura Donovan, owner of Sullivan’s Pub in Leap, Ireland is concerned about the viability of the pub. She has only owned the pub a bit shy of six months and is worried about the financials. Maura does not have a sense of business record keeping nor does she feel at ease with Computers etc. In a way, Maura is perfect for living in this small bucolic village where the pace of life is slower and you can be more trusting of your neighbors and strangers. Crime is present but not overwhelming like in Boston (where she had lived before.) However, she is also worried about being accepted by the locals and making friends and relationships. Her best friend, so far, is octogenarian Bridget Nolan. Bridget is a wise woman who has filled the void left by Maura’s grandmother’s passing.One day a student from a Dublin University comes in to research the famous Sullivan Music. What?It appears that impromptu concerts (jam sessions) would pop up with famous and no-so famous musicians and people from all around would stop by for a pint or more just to listen. Maura, no a musical person, herself, doesn’t understand the appeal, but with Old Billy Sheahan’s help suddenly the pub is hopping with music, singing, and laughter, not to mention, Euros out the till! Life is looking up for Maura, that is until the next morning.Going into the back room (where the concert was held) Maura is shocked to find Aidan Crowley dead. How did he die? Was it natural, accidental, or foul play? How is this going to affect the pub. Then, the student gets physically attacked, and dumped out of a moving car in front of the pub, why? Then the student’s room is destroyed and his car trashed. What is this person looking for?Maura I now not so sure about her plan to restart the music traditions.I just won’t say more about this novel because saying too much will spoil the intrigue that Ms. Connolly has carefully woven about the tale.I truly enjoyed each page.

  9. Nancy Gibbs

    I like Connolly’s Philadelphia-based novels and really WANT to like the Irish ones, as it’s a favorite area of mine, but the characters are not as strong. Maura seems too naive for someone who grew up in the tough south Boston area, and she is overly technologically challenged. OK, so she doesn’t have a smartphone, but it is stretching things too much to ask us to believe that someone of her age group wouldn’t even know what its general capabilities are (e.g. send photos).The plot here was okay, but not great. I love Irish music so that tie-in was intriguing (although my taste is traditional rather than rock, but sometimes music is just music), but the story itself just seemed to happen around her with Maura more or less standing around not doing much besides pouring pints. That’s an over-generalization, of course, but despite many opportunities to find out more about her new associates, Mick in particular, she fails to do so. Maura is too passive, too unaware of her prickly nature and her unwillingness to examine her own emotions. It takes the whole book for her to even consider whether she wants to pursue a relationship with anyone when two obvious candidates are in the mix.By this time, she also should know more about the business itself–taxes, closing times and whatnot. And how could she have run the pub for however many months it has been since she got there and not investigated the back room?

  10. Bondgirl

    the lead character Maura is so deeply unlikable in this book, and the story so repetitive and ridiculous that it defies belief. A gal in her 20s who has never heard live music, and she lived in Boston?? She’s never seen the spare room in her pub and she’s been there 6 months? Her repeated incredulity at how musicians found the pub – just annoying, and constantly repeated! I’m a big mystery reader and wasn’t expecting Agatha Christie here but the story is so lame. I’m sorry but this book was dialled in

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