An Early Wake

County Cork #3

By Sheila Connolly

ISBN# 9780425252536

Author Website:

Brought to you by OBS reviewer Kayt


Pub owner Maura Donovan may have Irish kin, but she doesn’t seem to have the luck of the Irish. Who could have foreseen that bringing live music back to Sullivan’s Pub would lead to a dead musician? 

Summer is ending in County Cork, Ireland, and with it the tourist season. Expat Maura Donovan is determined to keep Sullivan’s Pub in the black as the days grow shorter—but how? When she hears that the place was once a hot spot for Irish musicians who’d come play in the back room, she wonders if bringing back live music might be Sullivan’s salvation.

As word gets out, legendary musicians begin to appear at the pub, and the first impromptu jam session brings in scores of music lovers. But things hit a sour note when Maura finds a dead musician in the back room the next morning. With a slew of potential suspects, it’s going to take more than a pint and a good think to force a murderer to face the music.


An Early Wake is the third installment of author Sheila Connolly’s County Cork mysteries. Each installment seems to just get better and better. The characters have really come into themselves and the readers gets to see more and more of their personalities. This one is really the most enjoyable for me so far and I have loved all of them. I think one of the reasons it was so entertaining for me was the subject matter. Pub owner and main character Maura Donovan works with a visiting student and some old friends to bring music back to Sullivan’s Pub. The interaction between the local colorful clientele and the musicians is wonderful.

A young man visits the pub and Maura gets wrapped up in the tales he has of Irish musicians coming from all over to jam in the back room of the pub. Old Mick (the former owner) was famous for not only bringing the musicians in to play but he also helped them when they were in need. Billy, the venerable pub patron, attests to the rumor and he and the young man, Timothy Reilly, set about to bring the magic back. Maura finally sees a light at the end of the tunnel for the finances and future of her pub. Yet things take a tragic turn when she finds one of the old musicians dead in the back room the morning after the big jam session.

The suspect pool is pretty extensive and just as many motives, Maura sets to find the culprit and save the music. If she does not get to the bottom of this tragedy and soon, it may do irreparable damage and mean the end of Sullivan’s Pub. Maura is sensible and persistent in her search and all of the characters are wonderful. It was really nice to see Billy play a large part in this installment. And the hope of maybe a more suitable love interest for Maura was the icing on the cake to make this the best yet.

I would recommend An Early Wake  to any cozy lover, fans of Irish mysteries and anyone that enjoys a wonderful read! I love all of Sheila Connolly’s series. She is an amazing writer that can bring the reader right into the story. This one is a truly fabulous read that brings you right to the small county of Cork. With descriptive writing, well developed characters and wonderful storyline, An Early Wake is a true hit that brings the magic of Ireland to any reader.

*OBS would like to thank the publisher for supplying a free copy of this title in exchange for an honest review as part of their ongoing blog tour*