Erin Hart’s debut fiction Haunted Ground is a fascinating read. I literally could not put it down. You know, the kind where it doesn’t matter where you are even if you’re sitting in your car in the driveway you just have to read…one…more…page. Anyway, interestingly, the story is a unique combination of archeological finds and a modern day murder mystery. It really caught my attention because the setting and subject matter were so interesting. The characters, and there are many, are believable and the reader quickly becomes immersed in their lives.
Here’s a brief description if the story. The setting is the eerie peat bogs of the Irish midlands. A local farmer has come across a gruesome site, the severed head of a woman. Upon investigation it is quickly determined that the body, or part of, dates back centuries. Because of its archeological importance our main characters, archeologist Cormac Maguire and pathologist Nora Gavin are called to the scene. At the same time the wife of an eccentric local landowner has gone missing. Could she have been lost to the bogs as well? The two cases, both ancient and modern intertwine flawlessly, and Erin Hart’s knowledge of the subject adds to the credibility of the story. If you’re interested in a mystery with substance, I recommend this one. Oh, and there is a surprise twist at the end. Don’t peek!
As aside, the Irish peat bogs are an interesting place. The make up of the earth there acts as a kind of natural preservative. In recent times bodies, referred to as “bog bodies”, have been discovered there dating back to the Neolithic Age. Check out this link for more information and this link from the NOVA special The Perfect Corpse.