Although spring is around the corner, winter isn't giving up so easily in County Cork, and a blizzard strands Maura and several others at the pub, including a woman who was suspected in a murder 20 years ago. Unable to leave the pub, they all gather to pick apart every detail of the crime, revealing a decades old secret and new revelations that could bring a killer to justice.
This was an outstanding read with a fresh, original plot that drew me in and kept me turning pages. There's no stumbling over a dead body here; instead, a cold case is poured over and debated. It was almost Agatha Christie-ish, simple, yet complex in a locked room setting.
The setting is quaint and inviting, a small Irish pub with a peat fire, a lively atmosphere, the regulars bellying up to the bar, the musicians cranking out Irish tunes, Rose in the kitchen cobbling together meals for everyone, and especially Ol' Billy, in his usual chair by the fire. All well described and vivid, it's not tough to envision the scene at Sullivan's Pub.
Overall, Cruel Winter is an enjoyable escape, with an unconventional plot that will keep cozy mystery fans guessing with each page. This book can be read as a standalone, or as an entry into the series, but I recommend reading the whole series.
Thank you to Crooked Lane Books and Netgalley for an advance copy of the book in return for my honest review