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
KIRKUS REVIEWS: “The author deftly creates an atmosphere of dark mystery, a grim, menacing uncertainty that permeates the moody novel. … the story is ingenious and unpredictable and makes for a gripping drama.”
PUBLISHERS’ WEEKLY BOOKLIFE REVIEW: “In the polished third of her Maria Pell mystery series former librarian Handy spins a tale that could be ripped from today’s headlines: sex trafficking of young women. . . Handy’s classic Christie-style heroine is plucky and determined, and the plotting is taut, suspenseful, and always surprising even as it hits its genre marks. The various storylines are tied up in a shocking finale that outs the mastermind behind the abductions, in the process shedding new light on the dead baby Maria found years earlier.” Takeaway: This snappy mystery will captivate cozy mystery fans and entice new readers to explore the genre.
THE INDIE READER REVIEW: “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. 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.”
MIDWEST BOOK REVIEW: “Lynne Handy creates a tale replete with satisfyingly complex twists and turns, peppering Maria’s adventure with finely-wrought tension and description that brings her world and its threats to life. As kidnappings, too many close calls, and Maria’s own motivation for resolving not just these cases, but events from her own past, coalesce, readers receive a powerful mystery steeped in Irish culture and psychological challenges. The result is a fine mystery that’s exceptional in its sense of place. It builds the foundations of a fine foray into writer’s blocks, murder, and high drama surrounding characters whose sense of “wild justice” threatens their lives.” ~ D. Donovan, Senior Reviewer
READER REVIEW: “Old Sins is a dynamic, roller coaster ride of plot twists and turns. Set in the backdrop of rural Ireland, novice detective, poet, teacher, psychic Maria Pell uncovers varying secrets kept by the townspeople. This includes murder, kidnapping, sex-trafficking, child neglect, and the list continues. No one is safe, and no one is exempt from being a potential victim or culprit. A truly mesmerizing and moving, mystery thriller that will stump the audience until the secrets are revealed.“ – Nikki Oliver
SELF-PUBLISHING REVIEW: “Author Lynne Handy weaves a dark and stormy tale in Old Sins, the third ominously addictive novel in the Maria Pell Mystery Series. . . an investigation of coincidence and diligence that would make Miss Marple proud, albeit with some paranormal flourishes that artfully drag readers along a riveting trail of clues. …the horrific realities of the subject matter being explored here – sex trafficking, as well as generally abusive behavior by men – are fearlessly put under the author’s incisive spotlight. Blending the themes of Pell’s emotionally vulnerable state with her maternal instinct to protect the young women of Coomara gives this sharply penned thriller perennial relevance, for a dark but engrossing Irish mystery.”
AUTHOR REVIEW: “Old Sins, is exceptionally well plotted as 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
READER REVIEW: “Old Sins is another stunning and captivating story from Lynne Handy. …This genre bending tale has elements of mystery, horror, romance and history. The elegant prose, in typical Handy fashion, never lets you down. You’ll find yourself reading passages over and over again. In the end, the author reaches back to bring generational strife forward into a satisfying and surprising conclusion. You would be wise to make sure your schedule is clear before starting this title. You won’t be able to stop.” ~ Jeff B
READER REVIEW: “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 sixth 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. . . another clever and entertaining installment that is filled with the colorful and relatable characters that are Handy’s hallmark.”