The Scholar

Reviewed by Heather O’Connor

Dervla McTiernan,
The Scholar

If you know anyone who has no taste for mysteries, you could suggest this one as a terrific introduction to the world of crime. The writer was born in Ireland but now lives in Australia, so we can claim her as our own. The Scholar is her second novel, following on a sensational debut with The Ruin, so it has been much anticipated by her new band of followers—and it doesn’t disappoint.

The main character in both novels is Detective Inspector Cormac Reilly, whose personal and professional lives clash as he investigates, first, the murder of a young woman working in the laboratory of her wealthy (and thoroughly unlikable) grandfather. The body is discovered by Cormac’s partner who also works at the facility. Before long, he is called out to a hit and run and it becomes obvious that the two cases are related, and that the two dead women had a very complicated relationship connected in some way to the work of the laboratory.

There’s a large cast of characters involved in trying to solve the two cases, but I never lost the thread of the story—something I’m inclined to do in complicated murder cases.

It can’t be easy to produce a second novel to follow a big hit, but I would say this is as good as the first—and we only had to wait 18 months. More in store?