With St. Patrick’s Day, one of my children’s favorite holidays, approaching this week, I decided to review “Death of an Irish Diva,” by Mollie Cox Bryan.

This is the third book in the Cumberland Creek Mystery Agatha Award for Best First Novel series. The first book, “Scrapbook of Secrets” was nominated for the prestigious Agatha Award for Best First Novel and made my list of the Best Books for Book Clubs in 2013.

As the story opens, Emily McGlashen, famed Irish dancer, is found murdered in her studio just after the St. Patrick’s Day parade.

Emily was new in town and had been undermining Vera’s dance school, by offering cheaper classes and preaching against the “archaic” dance form of ballet. This caused Vera financial difficulty to the point that she was renting her house out and living with her daughter, Elizabeth above the dance studio. When the police suspect Vera Matthews, her friends and fellow scrapbooking members join forces to find the real murderer.

I’ve enjoyed all of Ms. Bryan’s books. One thing that makes them special is the core group female characters involved. They are strong, interesting and compelling. They include such varied characters as Annie, a Jewish reporter in a southern town, Vera, a dance teacher, Beatrice, a retired physicist and Sheila, the scrapbook store owner.

Mollie Cox Bryan describes her books as “cozy mysteries with an edge.” She pushes the boundaries with the topics she explores. Like all of the books in the Cumberland Creek Mystery series, “Death of an Irish Diva” delves into the secrets that we hold. It explores issues such as change and loss. The book examines some shady practices in adoption.

The book offers an appendix of scrapbooking information.

Her website offers discussion points for book clubs.

You can also read my interview with Mollie.

Five Stars out of Five.


In accordance with FTC guidelines for reviewers, I would like to clarify that this book was provided to me by the publisher free of charge.  I am not compensated by the author or publisher for my review. All they expect is an honest review of the work.