Back in 1985, Frank Mackey was nineteen, growing up poor in Dublin’s inner city, and living crammed into a small flat with his family on Faithful Place. But he had his sights set on a lot more. He and Rosie Daly were all ready to run away to London together, get married, get good jobs, break away from factory work and poverty and their old lives.
But on the winter night when they were supposed to leave, Rosie didn’t show. Frank took it for granted that she’d dumped him-probably because of his alcoholic father, nutcase mother, and generally dysfunctional family. He never went home again.
Neither did Rosie. Everyone thought she had gone to England on her own and was over there living a shiny new life. Then, twenty-two years later, Rosie’s suitcase shows up behind a fireplace in a derelict house on Faithful Place, and Frank is going home whether he likes it or not.
Getting sucked in is a lot easier than getting out again. Frank finds himself straight back in the dark tangle of relationships he left behind. The cops working the case want him out of the way, in case loyalty to his family and community makes him a liability. Faithful Place wants him out because he’s a detective now, and the Place has never liked cops. Frank just wants to find out what happened to Rosie Daly-and he’s willing to do whatever it takes, to himself or anyone else, to get the job done.
This third installment of the Dublin Murder series was better than the first book (In the Woods) and not as fantastic as the second book (The Likeness). It is a mixture of the two, with personal dilemmas like the first and loads of intrigue and mystery like the second. Faithful Place is first and foremost a love story, discovering the past and revealing mysterious incidents through vengeance. Frank Mackey is quite the charmer, and stops at nothing to discover what happened to his old girlfriend (and later, his brother).
Rather than taking place in offices and solving the mystery through crime lab results and scientific data, Frank discovers everything “old school.” He’s always at the scene of the crime, back home, or visiting old friends’ places and having multiple conversations with others. At first the conversations seemed to drag – I wondered what the point was for all the dialogue – but once it seemed to be too much, Frank (and the reader) could immediately make connections to other conversations and incidents from the past. Tana French was very clever in her subtle hints and twists in the plot.
What was incredibly fascinating was the internal switch in my mental accent. The voice reading in my head was no longer a midwestern American, but an Irish voice that I’m sure was a terrible mimicry of a true Dublin accent. The slang, phrasing, and deliberate misspellings in the dialogue begged to be read with the accent in mind! It certainly became entertaining, and easier to read once I got the hang of it.
Filled with intrigue, old-fashioned word-of-mouth mystery-solving, folklore, and Irish homeliness, I would recommend this book to anyone who deeply enjoyed The Likeness (which Frank makes repeated appearances in) or wants a good heartbreaking love story that ended in murder. The relationships between the characters are entertaining, the conversations and class divides interesting, and the atmosphere intoxicating.
Goodreads: 3.89 of 5