Cora Harrison

Cora Harrison

Mullaghmore mountain on the Burren, County Clare, Ireland

Home|The Burren|Guestbook|Books|Buy|Reviews


Add your message





Issue: 15TH NOVEMBER 2013

Cross of Vengeance, Harrison, Cora (Author), Jan 2014. 224 p. Severn, hardcover, $28.95. (9780727883209).

An unusual and beguiling murder mystery set in a sixteenth-century Ireland that is as lovely, innocent, and enchanting as Camelot—until murder befouls the setting. Mara, the Burren Brehon (maker of judgments), is wise, patient, fair, and kind, but all of these qualities are tested when a band of religious pilgrims comes through the Burren. Soon after their arrival, the Kilnaboy religious relic, which is the Burren’s most important attraction, is defaced and burned. Then one of the pilgrims is found murdered, his body spread-eagled and naked in crucifixion pose behind Kilnaboy Church. Determined to find the killer, Mara is completely puzzled: How did someone kill the pilgrim, who was a big man, remove his clothes, and haul him to the site where he was found? Was the killer one of the pilgrims or, more frightening, someone from the Burren?
Cleverly written, atmospheric, captivating, and suspenseful, this is a unique murder mystery that’s sure to appeal to fans of historical mysteries.

Sat Nov 2 08:21:38 2013

Cora Harrison writes from Ireland
Many thanks for a lovely review - and that was well-spotted: the inclusion of the young Domhnall O'Davoren.

Anyone who is interested in Brehon law owes a huge debt of gratitude to Domhnall O'Davoren who, when professor of Cahermacnaghten Law School, got his scholars to copy out these laws of ancient Ireland - laws which now can be viewed in the document Egerton 88 in the British Library.

Across the top margin of the document is the heading in Latin and Irish: 'Mine is to begin and God's to finish - written for Domhnall Ua Duidbabhoirenn the night following St Brigid's feast 1569.'

I find these words incredibly moving when I think of what was to come to this remote part of Ireland and how its laws were derided and as many traces of them as possible completely swept away.

Sat Nov 2 08:18:58 2013

Prish Hawkes writes from England
I would just like to say that I thought the Cross of Vengence was exellent and I enjoyed reading it very much.
The poetic descriptions of the lanscape in the Burren are evocative and beautiful. The detailed research gives great depth and breadth to the setting in the sixteenth century . There are characters familiar to the reader and the intrduction of interesting new characters, particularly Domhnall O'Davoren (who later collected the historical writing and information on the Law).All these elements and characters developing within the storyline combine to make a wonderful read and a rattling good murder mystery which has you guessing until the last minute!
Thank you Cora!

Fri Nov 1 15:17:18 2013

Sinéad Callanan writes from Ireland
Well, thanks anyway, Cora! I'll let you know how it goes! (And it's a great pity about the Drumshee books.) I hope you and your husband have a good time!

Mon Oct 14 21:41:11 2013

Cora Harrison writes from Ireland
What an original idea for a work experience week! You have set yourself quite a task!
It's very nice of you to wish to meet me during that week, but unfortunately I shall be away. It's my husband's birthday - a very important one - and we shall be away celebrating.
I wish you the very best of luck - it's always nice to hear from those who enjoyed the dear old Drumshee books - now out-of-print, unfortunately.

Tue Oct 8 09:20:01 2013

Sinéad Callanan writes from Ireland
Hi Cora,

I sent you a story once in your children's storyclub and you gave me lovely feedback. I'm older now - Transition Year in school - but I still love all your books, and the Drumshee series were far and away my favourite books when I was younger, especially since I spend a lot of time in Clare (I live in Limerick).

I've got a weeks work experience coming up (21-25 October), and I've decided to 'be a writer' for the week! By the end of the week I plan to have one really good story ready for a competition. I had a story published with the Fighting Words supplement of the Irish Times when I was in 2nd year, and it would be great to see another story in print.

I know that even writers need a break from the page, so I thought it would be really cool if I could meet one of my favourite authors during the week for a cup of tea and a chat. But I will understand if you're busy, and maybe we can meet some other time!

Slán leat! Sinéad

Mon Oct 7 22:58:17 2013

Cora Harrison writes from Ireland
Brenda: It was lovely meeting you all and the time went in a flash. Hope I didn't delay you on your journey.

Noel & Evelyn: I'm afraid that I won't be of much use. Mara is a fictional character, though Domhnall O'Davoren - her grandson in my latest book, THE CROSS OF VENGEANCE - was a real person.

Domhnall O'Davoren was responsible for collecting a lot of the Brehon law as we know it today. He got his scholars at Cahermacnaghten to write it down and some of the results can be seen in the document called 'Egerton 88' in the British Library in London. I have seen it and was incredibly moved to see the scripts of the those scholars in the 1560s and on reading their funny comments and jokes in the margins felt as though the law school that I had invented had suddenly become almost a reality.

Thu Sep 19 10:31:59 2013

Noel & Evelyn O'Davoren Bon Te
Dear Cora,
My husband has enjoyed two of your Burren series mystery stories. He was most interested in the references to the O'Davoran family of your protagonist Mara.

We have visited the Burren and seen as much as one can see in 6 days, I realize that's just scraping the surface. Perhaps one day we may return for a longer visit.

After visiting the National Library in Dublin, only had two hours because of an early closing we realized that we needed help.

Our next stop was in Corofin to see Antoinette O'Brien at the Clare Heritage Centre. She was able to track my ancestors back to Michael O'Davoren b. 1810 who emigrated to America with one of his sons Jeremiah sometime during the famine (ca.1847).

We visited St. Mochua's Church and the O'Davoren Chapel, while there we spoke to Sean and Tessie O'Halloran of Noughaval caretakers for the new church. Sean took us to
the old homestead of the O'Davoren family about halfway between Noughaval and Cahermacnaghten.

As usual finding out a little bit about your ancestors leaves one with even more questions, the only resource available to me at present is the internet. Would you be so kind as to direct us in the proper direction.

Sincerely yours,
Evelyn & Noel

Wed Sep 18 20:40:53 2013

Brenda writes from Canada visiting Ireland
It was such a pleasure meeting you. It was so good of you to travel in such terrible weather. We look forward to reading "Cross of Vengeance" with a deeper understanding of our favourite character, Mara and the history of the Burren area. We hope you enjoy an ounce of pleasure from the Canadian treats as we have had pounds of enjoyment reading your books.
Cora, meeting you has been the highlight of our trip. Thank you so much.

Wed Sep 18 20:32:40 2013

Julian writes from USA
Hope I can get there some day. On our one trip to Ireland so far, my wife and I never got much farther west than Kilkenny and Glen Dalogh.

I checked a little further, and I think the mystery of the Latin name is solved. The guidebook you used must have had a corrupted version. On the Clare County Library website, under "The Burren: Corcomroe Abbey," the name given is "Sancta Maria de Petra Fertili," which is straightforward fairly late-style Latin.

Tue Sep 17 18:50:42 2013

Cora Harrison writes from Ireland
I'm glad that you enjoyed the story, Julian. The abbey is a very inspirational place and I was fascinated by the beautiful carving of the harebells (as I believe - though others think that they are bluebells).

Re the other matter - you may be right - I copied it from a guide book.

Tue Sep 17 18:20:46 2013

Julian writes from USA
Having belatedly come across the Burren mysteries, I've been enjoying the first in the series. One thing that puzzles me is the name "Sancta Maria Petris Fertilis." Given your translation, one would surely expect "Petrae" rather than "Petris." Is this some sort of unusual regionalism?
Thanks for a well-told tale.

Tue Sep 17 18:09:59 2013

Cora Harrison writes from Ireland
Gorgeous gifts from Canada! Can't wait to try the wine - have already succumbed to the temptation of the Maple sweets...

And how lovely to meet you all - it was so interesting for me.

Sun Sep 15 16:03:27 2013

Brenda writes from Canada
PERFECT. We are all so excited.

Fri Aug 30 19:49:45 2013

Cora Harrison writes from Ireland
Brenda: Yes, I know 'Hylands'. Shall we say to meet at 11:00 at Hylands on Sunday September 15? Or would another time suit you better?

Fri Aug 30 11:30:25 2013

Brenda writes from Canada
How exciting to walk a setting with you. We are staying at the Hyland and assume we will have to check out by 11.
Anticipation for the holiday has just elevated a notch.

Fri Aug 30 01:35:54 2013

Cora Harrison writes from Ireland
The 15th would be wonderful for me. Oddly enough I was just contemplating a plot where the body was washed up in a boat with no oars on Fanore beach - not far from Ballyvaughan.

If you will tell me where you are staying in Ballyvaughan, it might be interesting for you if you follow me to Fanore beach - only a mile or so around the headland, and we can talk and you can give me your opinion on a plot for Mara 12/13 - who knows but you might find yourself in a starring role ...I am fascinated by this idea that blood must not be shed and when the crime of crime - the murder of a near relative - is concerned, then the retribution is in the hands of God.

Of course, if it rains then we will just go and chat in Monks' Pub, or somewhere civilized like that...

Thu Aug 29 18:01:49 2013

Brenda writes from Canada
We have completed our trip plans and will be travelling to Ballyvaughan September 14th. We would so love to meet up with you on the 14th or 15th as we had discussed some months ago but we are very aware of your busy schedule. Is there a location where we could drop off a note for you? Looking forward to seeing the setting of your Burren mysteries.

Thu Aug 29 16:31:07 2013

Cora Harrison writes from Ireland
And if you didn't have any milch cows, then some of your relations would have to pay on your behalf. I'm sure it worked well with difficult teenagers if the entire family came down on them.

Thu Aug 22 16:10:45 2013

Louise Anderson writes from United States (Minnesota)
I'm thankful to have discovered your "Burren" books. They are delightful, educational and always keep me interested until the end. So many questions to still answer, so, please, do not stop writing! Although I have not a drop of Irish blood, I am fascinated about the laws of the land , some of which seem to show such good sense! I would definitely behave so that I would not have to give up any of my milch cows!

Thu Aug 22 15:10:02 2013

Cora Harrison writes from Ireland
That is so nice of you, Pam.

I'm not sure whether I would ever become a very popular writer - perhaps the Mara books are a bit slow-moving and 'cozy' for true popularity, but you have made my day by what you say.

Yes, Peter Tremayne, has a lot of enthusiastic fans in America - oddly enough neither of us are that popular in Ireland - a fan club sounds exciting, but I'll wait and see.

I hope you like 'Cross of Vengeance'. Both my agent and my editor are very pleased with it and I do think, myself, that it is quite a good story. I have skipped a few years and Mara's son is now nine years old and a scholar at her school.

Wed Aug 14 16:47:42 2013

Pam V. writes from United States
Update to my earlier message: just went The Book Depository site and discovered that the new Mara novel, "Cross of Vengeance," has a publication date of September 30. It's not yet available for order and there's no price listed; shipping is free. (I have no affiliation with The Book Depository. I buy a lot of books online and found it through It's also listed on, same release date, £19.99.
Cora, just a suggestion, is there anyone who could start a Mara Movement, similar to the Sister Filelma Society? You need more publicity. It needs someone really knowledgable in Irish history and web savvy, both of which let me out. Perhaps Peter Tremayne would have some suggestions. Just a thought. You are such a talented writer!

Wed Aug 14 03:53:33 2013

Pam V. writes from United States
I've noticed the comments on the price of books and, to my mind, it's a matter of priorities. I buy books as opposed to movie tickets, for example. This may be of interest to some: I buy your UK books from The Book Depository or the sites as soon as they become available. At The Book Depository, you can sign up for notification (no obligation to buy) of availability months in advance. I just saw on the site that a new Mara novel will appear in January -- just the thing to warm a cold winter day! Thank you for the many hours of reading pleasure. I re-read the series with each new book. Thanks, again! Good luck with the BBC!

Wed Aug 14 03:26:45 2013

Cora Harrison writes from Ireland
I have come across this expression in a book about the English Tudors - it was felt there that it referred to TB - a disease which seemed to have a multitude of names over the centuries. This also is a disease which waxes and wanes.

Mon Aug 12 08:00:33 2013

AD Powell writes from USA
What is the illness of Conner, Turlough Donn's eldest son in the Burren series? Could it be what we now call celiac disease?

Mon Aug 12 07:57:18 2013

<< Next 301 - 325 of 843 | 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11 | 12 | 13 | 14 | 15 | 16 | 17 | 18 | 19 | 20 | 21 | 22 | 23 | 24 | 25 | 26 | 27 | 28 | 29 | 30 | 31 | 32 | 33 | 34 | Previous >>