Arthur Diamond and Billy Doran take their work very seriously. Chasing down clues that lead to killers is dangerous business. But all work and no play makes for dull mystery writing. Enter the Doran sisters.
In birth order, meet Bridie, Maeve, the identical twins, Sinead and Sorcha, and the baby of the family, Mary, named for the girls’ now deceased mother. Yes, that’s five unmarried daughters. Billy Doran’s headache and heartache.
When we first meet Billy in Madman, book one of the Diamond and Doran Mysteries, he is a vexed man. Not only is he reeling from the Haymarket bomb that killed and maimed fellow officers, including his best friend, Mathias Degan, he’s doing the extra work of the department created by the bombing. To add to his troubles he has a rookie from England forced upon him in the lanky form of Arthur Diamond. In Doran’s view life has handed him a bag of lemons. He has too much work he’s tiring of, a home life that makes him feel like a henpecked rooster in a chicken barn, and now he’s got a damned Englishman trailing after him asking damned silly questions.
As a widower, Billy has given up on romance. It’s a young man’s game. Arthur Diamond is a game changer. From the moment young Mary sets eyes on the flame haired, blue eyed policeman she is all a twitter and tells her sisters all about him. They soak it in. All but Sinead.
Doran’s eldest daughter, Bridie, has taken on her mother’s job in the household since her passing. She misses her mother every day but does her best to make sure the girls are on time for their work, well turned out, and eat breakfast before they leave. She checks that they have streetcar fare in their purses and gives strict instructions not to talk to strangers on the streetcar or in the streets for fear of engaging with the wrong sort. But once the front door of their Green Street home is closed and she is left to do the chores in the silent house, a quiet resentment begins to burn inside her. Life is passing her by. She fears she will become an old maid with just her books to remind her that there are other lives, loves and adventures to be had in the world beyond her front door. It’s a knock on that front door that’s the beginning of something special for Bridie. Why? You’ll have to download your free copy of Madman to find out.
Doran’s second daughter, Maeve, is a career woman. She works as a typewriter for the prestigious Captain Black. A hero of the Union Army, Captain Black has a stellar reputation both among his professional colleagues and in Chicago society at large. In the aftermath of the Haymarket bombing both of his spheres of influence will be under threat. And Maeve Doran will become part of the drama. Maeve is a matter of fact kind of girl, softer than Sinead, but sensible like Bridie, she has few plans for romance beyond the occasional flirting with boys she passes while walking in the park. Enter Jerry Callaghan. First on the scene of a grisly murder in a tenement, Jerry has the misfortune to be caught taking a bad turn at the sight of blood by Billy Doran, who is already in a bad mood. Poor Jerry’s demeanour doesn’t impress the man who will soon become important to Jerry’s future. But pretty soon Jerry will make a very good impression on Maeve. How? You’ve guessed it! Go get your free copy of Madman.
After Bridie and Maeve the twins were born. Sinead, the older by less than a minute, could not be more similar, nor more unlike her sister Sorcha. As much as they are easily mistaken in looks, no one would mistake soft and gentle Sorcha for her strident, opinionated sister when they sit and talk to her for a moment. As worldly wise and confident as Sinead is, Sorcha is shy and unworldly. She has no views on politics, inequality or boys, and romance is something for Bridie’s books. It’s her similarities and her differences with Sinead that put Sorcha on a dangerous path. When? It’s all in your free copy of Madman.
Finally we come to Mary. The baby of the family. Feisty, fun and full of love and caring, Mary is a nurse at Cook County hospital. And she is already in love. After all, didn’t Doran overhear her describing that useless English lout, Arthur Diamond, to her sisters just the other day? But her secret beau will send shock waves through her father when he finds out. So who is he? Don’t make me tell you again where you can find out!
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