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Authors: John Brady

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A Carra King

BOOK: A Carra King
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Praise for John Brady's

MATT MINOGUE series:

A S
TONE OF THE
H
EART

“…towers above the mystery category as AN ELOQUENT, COMPELLING NOVEL…a tragic drama involving many characters, each so skillfully realized that one virtually sees and hears them in this extraordinary novel…”

– P
UBLISHERS
W
EEKLY

“…A MASTERFULLY CRAFTED WORK of plot, atmosphere and especially characterization…Minogue, thoughtful, clear-eyed and perhaps too sensitive…is a full-blooded character built for the long haul of a series…”

– M
ACLEAN
'
S

U
NHOLY
G
ROUND

“RIVETING…The suspense builds to barely bearable intensity…crackles with pungent Irish idiom and its vignettes of the country's everyday life.”

– T
ORONTO
S
TAR

“Excellent Sergeant Matt Minogue…MARVELLOUS DIALOGUE, as nearly surreal as a Magritte postcard the sergeant likes, and a twisting treacherous tale.”

– S
UNDAY
T
IMES

K
ADDISH IN
D
UBLIN

“MATT MINOGUE, THE MAGNETIC CENTRE OF THIS SUPERB SERIES…and Brady's tone of battered lyricism are the music which keep drawing us back to this haunting series…” – N
EW
Y
ORK
T
IMES

“Culchie Colombo with a liberal and urbane heart…like all the best detective stories it casts its net widely over its setting…[Minogue is] a character who should run and run.” – I
RISH
T
IMES

A
LL
S
OULS

As lyrical and elegantly styled as the last three…A FIRST-RATE STORY WITH MARVELLOUS CHARACTERS… Another masterful tale from a superior author.”

– G
LOBE AND
M
AIL

“Nothing gets in the way of pace, narrative thrust or intricate story-telling.” – I
RISH
T
IMES

“A KNOCKOUT.” – K
IRKUS
R
EVIEWS

T
HE
G
OOD
L
IFE

“BRILLIANT CRAFTSMANSHIP.” – L
IBRARY
J
OURNAL

“Brady's dead-on ear for dialogue and his knack for creating instantly engaging characters keep the pages flipping…one line of prose leads inexorably, compulsively to the next…” – Q
UILL
& Q
UIRE

“Brady, like Chandler, has a poet's eye for place…[he] is emerging as ONE OF THE SUPREME STORYTELLERS OF CANADIAN CRIME FICTION.”

– G
LOBE AND
M
AIL

A Carra King

A MATT MINOGUE MYSTERY

JOHN

BRADY

A Carra King

A MATT MINOGUE MYSTERY

McArthur & Company
Toronto

First published in Canada in 2000 by
McArthur & Company
322 King Street West, Suite 402
Toronto, ON M5V 1J2

Copyright © 2000 John Brady

All rights reserved.

The use of any part of this publication reproduced, transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording or otherwise stored in a retrieval system, without the expressed written consent of the publisher, is an infringement of the copyright law.

National Library of Canada Cataloguing in Publication Data

Brady, John, 1955-
    A carra king
    A Matt Minogue mystery

ISBN 1-55278-164-X (bound)    ISBN 1-55278-204-2 (pbk)

1.Title.

PS8553.R245C37 2001    C813'.54     C00-931453-9
PR9199.3.B72C37 2001

eISBN 978-1-77087-099-4

Design & Composition:
Mad Dog Design Connection Inc.
Cover & F/X:
Mad Dog Design Connection Inc.
Cover Photo:
Shirley Pintea

The publisher would like to acknowledge the financial support of the Government of Canada through the Book Publishing Industry Development Program (BPIDP) for our publishing activities. The publisher further wishes to acknowledge the financial support of the Ontario Arts Council for our publishing program.

For Hanna, Julia and Michael,
and for Chris and Mary Brady.

Contents

FOREWORD

ONE

TWO

THREE

FOUR

FIVE

SIX

SEVEN

EIGHT

NINE

TEN

ELEVEN

TWELVE

THIRTEEN

FOURTEEN

FIFTEEN

SIXTEEN

SEVENTEEN

EIGHTEEN

NINETEEN

TWENTY

TWENTY-ONE

TWENTY-TWO

TWENTY-THREE

TWENTY-FOUR

TWENTY-FIVE

TWENTY-SIX

TWENTY-SEVEN

TWENTY-EIGHT

TWENTY-NINE

THIRTY

THIRTY-ONE

THIRTY-TWO

F
OREWORD

Everyone is born a king… and most die in exile.

– O
SCAR
W
ILDE

Excerpt from a report delivered by the Hon. James Black
and Mr. Trevor Dewdney to the Committee on Quaker
Relief to Rural Districts in the Western Counties of Ireland
delivered in London, 1849.

. . . Indeed it seemed scarcely credible that in the town-land of Cahergeall, where we had witnessed the greatest calamities amongst the tenant farmers and their families, we found there neither bitterness nor animosity.

Most heartening to us was to see how religious worship had not wavered. Indeed there seems to have been a revival in devotions which have formerly fallen into obscurity and disuse over the centuries. Our stay was but days after the celebration of a notable event of which we had heard no mention of formerly in our travels before the Famine. The crowning of the Carra King, culminating in a pilgrimage and celebrations on a nearby hillside, is an event of great significance in the locality, as it marks the beginning of the growing season. Though not an event of note in the locality in at least a lifetime, it has been revived this last year, doubtless due to a need amongst the people to celebrate their delivery from the Famine.

An unmarried man, or an eligible bachelor as the expression is used here, is chosen to carry a stone bearing what local folklore holds to be the image of Crom Dubh, an ancient king converted by St. Columbkille to Christianity. The Carra King stone, weighing in excess of a hundredweight, is held on the back by leather straps and carried to the hilltop where it is blessed and revered. This task is made even more onerous by a regimen of fasting and sleeping outdoors on the heather, practices reminiscent of the ascetic traditions of monastic life long ago, and indicative of a link with the voluntary privations in tests of manhood we read of in folklore, all preparatory to undertaking a “geis,” or a mighty test to establish honour in ancient Irish society.

For a night and a day, people gather on the bare hillside and in the vicinity to pray for a harvest and the prospect of a short winter with families well provisioned. As with the other festivals held in the country, this is also the occasion for other transactions and socializing, with news being exchanged, marriages discussed and, as can be expected amongst a people known for their love of music and storytelling, dancing and fair atmosphere.

Dr. Power, a physician, who has practised in the locality for twenty years, related to us pieces of local lore which suggested that the Carra King may have some of its origins in barbaric practices which had persisted after the arrival of Christianity in the time of Patrick and Columbkille. The original king, Dr. Power surmised, may have been party to tyranny and disputes of succession which eventuated in a situation Dr. Power suggested was not unlike the well-known tragic figure in the Bard's “Danish” play . . .

O
NE

T
he driver braked late for the lights and the Fiat began to slide. Larry Smith cursed and eased off the pedal. What the hell was he doing with this law-abiding routine, stopping for an amber traffic light on a Sunday morning? He shifted into first before the car came to a stop halfway across the white line and he groped under the seat for the pistol. It hadn't shifted.

A Toyota van turned onto Strand Road ahead. Some fella delivering the Sunday papers? He looked across the bay. The tide north of Dublin was out. Lambay Island like a slab sitting on the grey, flat water of the Irish Sea. Frigid-looking, the colour of water out of the washer, or an old, battered saucepan. There was piles more rain on the way too. What a poxy start to the day.

Even the golf clubhouse looked like a dump. It'd been twenty years since Zipper Brophy and his brothers had destroyed that clubhouse. There'd been two days of questioning, he remembered, and a hammering from head cases in the Special Branch. All because a lot of Guards were members. Zipper was dead three years now. It was pure heroin, one of the first loads to hit town. Zipper'd always been careless. It was April 1st too, of all days, and they found him in the toilet out at the Jolly Rover, that dump that had burned down in Finglas last year. Plainclothes Guards all over at the funeral too, trying to mix in. They'd almost caused a scrap with Zipper's brother outside the church.

He looked in the rear-view mirror again. The early mass in Sutton was started already. He shifted in his seat to get a better look at the sea. He thought of the last holiday he'd had with Yvonne. It'd been like a honeymoon all over again in Portugal.

BOOK: A Carra King
5.33Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
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