I have been wanting to find some easy-to-read but not childlike mystery series to get into and stumbled across the Maggie D’arcy book four on Netgalley. I requested the first three from various library systems and have been working my way through them.
I like the settings of each one and the mysteries are fairly solid for the first two but Maggie’s personality and relationships are so odd. I keep hoping they will address some issues but if they didn’t by the end of The Drowning Sea, I don’t think they are going to.
This review contains some spoilers about the first two books and some minor spoilers about this one.
There was no reflection on the revelations about her ex-husband from the first book in that book, the second, or this one. He murdered her cousin and a bystander then went on to date, marry and have a child with her. They were divorced but surely this would be upsetting to you? What a betrayal. She only talks about it as it affects their daughter Lilly. Obviously, it would! She does not seem actually too concerned about the daughter and only mentions things like her not talking to her other grandparents and being “moody”.
She immediately gets involved with a man she briefly thought could have murdered her cousin and it gets serious very quickly. By book two, it’s been 8 months since the revelations with the husband/the child’s father and she has been traveling back and forth to Ireland to visit him at least twice and at least once with her daughter.
In this book, they are back in Ireland the next summer (so about a year after the events of the first book) and her daughter is 17. Her plan is to stay there all summer and then tell her daughter she is thinking of moving them to Ireland for that school year, which would be her child’s senior year of high school. She says this was the advice of her therapist which is wild and unbelievable. But the daughter must sense the mom might want to move to Ireland and asks about how long this back and forth is going to go on (Maggie has quit her job as a police officer in Long Island so that must have been a red flag) and Maggie admits she is debating moving there with the daughter.
The daughter is upset but moves past it. Then the daughter starts dating a local boy and Maggie notices how well she fits in and is enjoying Ireland. This somehow “worries” her. Shouldn’t she be over the moon?? She wants to move to Ireland. The daughter seems finally happy and now she’s upset about it? You want to derail your daughter’s life and yank her out of school right as she is getting ready to graduate and move her to a foreign county where she will probably take 2 years to graduate instead of the one she would have if she stayed and you’re concerned she might be enjoying Ireland too much?
The daughter ends up meeting and talking with a woman who is later murdered and Maggie seems less than concerned with how the daughter is handling yet more death. She mentions it briefly but then lets the daughter go off with the new boyfriend, a friend of the murdered woman without really dealing with anything. The murders are supposed suicides by drowning, the same way Lilly’s dad died in front of her. and while Maggie thinks briefly about how things might be difficult for her, she also seriously plans to leave her daughter with Conor and his son for the week while she is in another city training to be a police officer for at least the next year. Conor, who was a suspect and destroyed evidence in the first book about the death of her cousin and who her daughter has only met a handful of times.
Lilly ends up saving someone from falling off a cliff and drowning after her mother stood there and watched while suspects and villagers were standing at the cliff that several other people had fallen off of (or been pushed) and drowned. What more does this girl have to handle?
Maybe it would be good for Lilly to yet again be left behind by her mother?
I find it very difficult to understand why Conor wants to be with Maggie or why he thinks any of this is a good idea. She seems to like him but is constantly pulled away by work (somewhat understandable but she isn’t a police officer anymore and in the second book, she was in Ireland on vacation) and doesn’t seem to interact with his kid.
I wish the author had kept her a single woman or at least one without a child if she wasn’t going to explore her emotions at all. She does not seem mentally well in the book when you look at her actions and how she treats her loved ones but I think she is supposed to be.
Plot-wise, this book was the weakest of the three, it was very scattered and had too many points of view. Maggie’s is in first person then the rest are in third which is an odd stylistic choice when there are several of them. It’s easy to tell Maggie’s chapters but not the chapters of the others who honestly aren’t super distinct characters, to begin with. There are a lot of people in the village, we met them all in this book and know little about them so they blur together.
I wish she delved more into how much the British and Irish seem to hate Polish people. That is a thread in a lot of books by different authors I’ve read and I’ve never quite understood it. Here she acknowledges the hate but doesn’t reflect on it at all. Why have this plot line be a part of the book? They could have just as easily been Irish workers but they weren’t. Is it just supposed to be understood and accepted that people think of Polish people as interchangeable and disposable? That’s chilling.
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