The Sting of Justice Review
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Since my great-great-great grandpa, Samuel C. Lackey, came over from Ireland in the early 1800s, I’ve always wanted to visit the place where my roots began. But, for now, I’ll just have to settle for visiting Ireland in great reads like Cora Harrison’s The Sting of Justice.

While attending the funeral of the local priest of the Burren in 1509 Western Ireland, Mara, Brehon of the Burren, discovers the body of silversmith and mine owner Sorley Skerrett—a man that most people didn’t like, and a few wouldn’t mind seeing dead—on the flagstones of the church. He died of a severe allergic reaction to bee stings. Mara immediately tries to figure out who would profit the most from his death.

If Rory the Bard married Una, the silversmith’s daughter, he would gain control of Sorley’s wealth upon his death. This, in turn, would leave Sorley’s only son—deemed unfit to take control of the wealth—out in the cold. Then there’s the silversmith’s wife, whom he divorced several years ago. She’s back, and she seems to be running things. Also, a man who was injured in a mine cave-in might have been seeking revenge.

With the help of her young scholars, Mara sorts through the tangle of evidence to discover the true killer.

With its skillful plot and witty female medieval detective, The Sting of Justice is one of the best mysteries I’ve read in any time period. Not only did Ms. Harrison bring to life Western Ireland, its people, and its way of life in 1509, but she also pulled off a clever murder mystery. I also thoroughly enjoyed the list of laws included right before each chapter—some funny and some surprising. Women were treated exceptionally well, according to the laws.

Mara is a judge in a time when women didn’t hold such offices—at least not outside of Ireland. Irish men actually look to her for guidance, and she delivers with such extreme intelligence and warmth that you can’t help being drawn to. I also loved that Mara doesn’t let the power of her office go to her head. She handles suspects with respect and gentleness, but she can also be tough when she needs to be. She’s just an all-around delightful character, and you’ll enjoy spending time with her.

Plenty of suspects, twist and turns, and unforgettable characters make The Sting of Justice an outstanding read. You’ll also get to learn about medieval laws while enjoying a fascinating story. So if you’re looking for a fresh and unique mystery, The Sting of Justice is a good place to start.

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