28 January 2010

Forgotten Book:THE DEATH OF A JOYCE SCHOLAR, Barth Gill

This week's contribution to Pattinase's Friday's Forgotten Books

These days it is not unusual for me to read a book in the year in which it is published. But 20 years ago, that didn't often happen.

THE DEATH OF A JOYCE SCHOLAR(1989) was not long published when I read it in 1990.

Blurb (courtesy Fantastic Fiction):
Trinity professor and Joycean scholar Kevin Coyle was one of Dublin's most colorful - and controversial - characters, until someone stabbed him through the heart on Bloomsday, the annual citywide celebration honoring Ireland's most beloved literary light. The poetic irony is not lost on Chief Superintendent Peter McGarr: one of the foremost experts on the works of James Joyce was slain on the so-called "Murderers' Ground" made famous in the author's magnum opus Ulysses. But the connection does not end there. And the deeper the intrepid McGarr digs, the more startling truths he uncovers about a victim's dark, licentious history, a list of suspects as vast and varied as the characters in a great novel...and a motive for murder that can hide as easily in the pages of a classic book as in the twisted passions of a human heart.

THE DEATH OF A JOYCE SCHOLAR was the eighth book in the Peter McGarr series, written by Bartholomew Gill, the pen name of Mark McGarrity (1943-2002). The book was a nominee for an Edgar Award in 1990 for Best Novel.

The Peter MGarr list makes interesting reading. Note what happens to the titles as you read down the list.
1. McGarr and the Politician's Wife (1977)
     aka The Death of an Irish Politician
2. McGarr and the Sienese Conspiracy (1977)
     aka The Death of an Irish Consul
3. McGarr and the Cliffs of Moher (1978)
     aka The Death of an Irish Lass
4. McGarr and the Dublin Horse Show (1979)
     aka The Death of an Irish Tradition
5. McGarr and the P.M. of Belgrave Square (1983)
6. McGarr and the Method of Descartes (1984)
7. McGarr and the Legacy of a Woman Scorned (1986)
8. The Death of A Joyce Scholar (1989)
9. The Death of Love (1992)
10. Death on A Cold, Wild River (1993)
11. The Death of An Ardent Bibliophile (1995)
12. The Death of An Irish Sea Wolf (1996)
13. The Death of An Irish Tinker (1997)
     aka Death of a Busker King
14. Death of An Irish Lover (2000)
15. Death of An Irish Sinner (2001)
16. Death in Dublin (2002)


Anonymous said...

Kerrie - I like the McGarr series, so I'm glad you decided to highlight one of them.

Elizabeth Frengel said...

Miss Lemon must confess that she didn't know about this series ... but it sounds as if it's just her thing. Esp. The Death of an Ardent Bibliophile. Thanks much for the recommendation!

Kerrie said...

I'm not sure I have read any others in the series. What else would you recommend for Elizabeth to read Margot?

Janet Rudolph said...

I really enjoyed this book, and we've read it in our book group more than once. We used to do themed 10 week series, and I know it was in the Literary Mystery series, and probably one of the Academic mystery series, too. Thanks for reminding me!

Kerrie said...

Good to hear that Janet. Any other titles to recommend in the series?

pattinase (abbott) said...

I've read a few of these over the years. Always liked academic mysteries. Maybe because our life center around a university.


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