When the nude and mutilated body of the Bishop of the Diocese of Down and Conner is found in his office, DCI Jim Sheehan is puzzled. Except for what appears to be stage props and a strange carving of a letter and a string of numbers carved into the victim’s desk, there are no clues, and no evidence linking the crime to anyone. As more bodies start appearing, all posed in grotesque positions and each with another letter/numbers nearby, Sheehan begins to suspect there is a link among the victims—he’s just not able to determine what it is. With the help of a monsignor, a colleague of the first victim, he learns that the numbers relate to biblical passages, and are somehow tied to a famous doom painting of the Last Judgment in a Paris museum. Now, the clock is ticking, and Sheehan must identify and apprehend the killer before more people die.
Doom Murders by Brian O’Hare is a well-crafted mystery; the locked-room genre that British authors do so well, set in the religious and political atmosphere of Northern Ireland. The author keeps the tension level high, and invests the characters with personal goals beyond the mere solving of a mystery, that will keep the reader guessing until the unexpected end. Sharp-witted readers will probably guess the identity of the killer just before the author reveals it—I did, but was still unsure until the name was dropped.
A fascinating story that weaves history, culture, and personal angst in with the mechanics of the crime very well, and that will keep you turning pages and guessing throughout.
I received a free copy of this book.
I give O’Hare four stars for this first book in a promising series.