Battered by her archeologist lover’s betrayal, poet Maria Pell flees to an Irish village to study prehistoric people and write her next volume of poetry, but her sanctuary is invaded first by her moody cousin and then by her Togolese lover who unexpectedly show up on her doorstep. When the discovery of a girl’s body on a rocky shore reawakens Maria’s devastating childhood memory of finding a dead baby floating in a stream, her days become haunted by this child’s death. As teenage girls disappear, villagers are terrified that sex-traffickers are targeting their community. With crimes to be solved, both past and present, Maria risks her life to bring the perpetrators to justice.
“In the summer of 1988 when I was ten, I found a baby girl caught in the cattails of a stream running through my parents’ property. At first, I thought she was another baby Moses waiting to be discovered in the bulrushes. It was when I knelt to free her from the fronds that I saw her ashen face, her vacant eyes, and knew she was dead. I see it all in slow motion now: I, in a yellow sundress, scrambling to my feet, knowing something was horribly wrong that a baby had been thrown in the creek. I ran toward my house crying, “There’s a dead baby in the creek!”
Praise for Old Sins
“Old Sins, featuring poet and amateur sleuth Maria Pell, grabs you from the first page and doesn’t let go. Exceptionally well plotted, the book’s mysteries and crimes—both old and new—weave together in intricate and unexpected ways. The author builds a creative cast of characters that will have you guessing as to the real culprits as murder, kidnapping, sex-trafficking and more have the small Irish coastal town on high alert. This setting along with the influence of Celtic myth, archaeology, ancient religions, and Maria’s haunting memories provide a rich backdrop for her sleuthing activities and the danger she faces. A satisfying, well-written mystery you won’t be able to put down!” ~ Valerie Biel, author of the award-winning Circle of Nine series
“Author and poet Lynne Handy’s latest novel is a fascinating illustration of how consequences, both intended and unintended, flow from our acts. As the title Old Sins hints, the sensational murders and kidnappings being investigated by amateur sleuth Maria Pell in a quaint Irish village may have their roots in deeds perpetrated decades, or even lifetimes ago. Handy weaves ancient tales from early Celtic occupants of the region into a rich backdrop for the modern-day drama that is unfolding. This riveting tale exploits Maria’s six sense, her encyclopedic knowledge of Celtic history, and her estranged lover’s archeological expertise to infuse the story with intriguing cultural and psychological insights to pique the reader’s interest. These devices ultimately allow us to discover not only whodunnit, but why. Once the final page is turned, the reader not only knows why but comprehends why a person could be driven to act in desperate and terrible ways. Readers of this third in the Maria Pell mystery series can look forward to another clever and entertaining installment that is filled with the colorful and relatable characters that are Handy’s hallmark.”