‘Preserved’ by Fiona Sherlock – Review

*Disclaimer – I received free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review*


January Quail swirled her bright green liqueur, washing the last vestiges of the mint drink through the crushed ice. Anyone could pop in for a drink or two on her own, accompanied by the paper or a good book. A third créme de menthe solo was a line she did not cross. However, getting all but sacked seemed like a reasonable excuse.

Two raised fingers summoned a double. Her role as Features Editor could be terminated at the end of the month, if she didn’t up her act. Alf had announced a number of drastic editorial changes as part of the newspaper’s bit to remain profitable. She could reinterview for another, more junior, reporter jobs in a few weeks, if she could demonstrate her ability to drive traffic to the website in the interim. The whole thing seemed barely legal. She blinked in rapid succession to push back the tears attempting to break through. Don’t think about it, she chastised herself.

Synopsis –

When a local farmer announces on social media that he has discovered a bog body in Ardee, the world’s historians are keen to explore the secrets of the life and grisly death of the victim.

Antique journalist January Quail is fighting to keep her newspaper job and uncovers far more than she bargained for. The victim is actually a recent murder, and January uses her nose for the truth to investigate the County Louth town. From shopkeeper to the publican, everyone is a suspect, but when the Gardai can’t find the killer, can January?

Once she sets down the liqueur glass, January gains the confidence of the lead garda investigator. Within days, the case unravels into a much more dangerous situation with a killer on the loose.

Despite the risk, January is electrified that this newest discovery has come at the perfect time to inject some colour into her flailing career. January relinquishes her old ways to fight for survival, abandoning her antiques column and vintage corsets to solve a cryptic crime that has the experts puzzled. This woman who longs to lives in the past must now fight for her life in the present.

Thoughts –

A uniquely Irish murder mystery, Preserved takes the reader on a journey through a modern Ireland still clasping on tightly to its past, and who better than to hold our hand, than the eccentric January Quail. A woman of particular tastes including chewing tobacco and creme de menthe, January is a journalist who specializes in antiques of both the homeware and human kind – namely bog bodies. And when not one, but two bodies are found not far from where she grew up in a lavish Protestant estate, January is on the case discovering that perhaps these bodies are not as old as they look.

Sherlock’s writing is adept and interweaving. She captures the idiosyncrasies of rural Ireland on the page perfectly, from nonsensical nicknames, to the ever more intricate relationships that can do nothing more than obscure and confuse a murder investigation. The character of January Quail is certainly unique. A luddite struggling in a career that won’t survive with just a paper and pen, January does not make things easy for herself either in her work, or in her non-existent love life. Not only is she holding onto the past through her vintage attire and interests, she is also struggling to let go of the painful memories of her childhood and adolescence.

Preserved is a novel about the past and the future merging, about our inability to fully escape from the mistakes and pains of our pasts, and a seedy underbelly of individuals who long for infamy in the most horrific of ways. This is a murder mystery that will have you clinging on to the very last page.

Preserved will have you reaching for the creme de menthe, and wondering darkly about every bog you see.

About the Author –

Fiona Sherlock is a crime writer from Bective, in Ireland. Her murder mystery games are played across the world. She also writes poetry and prose but cannot stay away from a good murder. After spending a decade in Dublin working in public relations and journalism, she moved to the country for midday fires and elderflower champagne. You can find her through her website here or on Twitter and Instagram @fionasherlock

Read and Review –




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