The latest mystery from a two-time winner of the Arthur Ellis Award
Father Brennan Burke is struggling, and he's been coping the only way he knows how: self-medicating with drink. He's barely managing, but his troubles intensify when the body of one of his parishioners washes up on the coast of Halifax.
Meika Keller came to Canada after escaping past a checkpoint in the Berlin Wall. An army colonel is charged with her murder, and defence lawyer Monty argues that Meika's death was a suicide, which is the last thing Father Burke wants to hear. Guilty of neglecting his duties as a priest when Meika needed him most, Brennan feels compelled to uncover whatever instigated her cry for help and led to her death.
The story takes us from the historic Navy town of Halifax, Nova Scotia, to the history-laden city of Berlin, as Brennan and his brother Terry head to Germany in search of answers. And while Brennan will stop at nothing to find what, or who, is responsible for Meika's death, nothing could have prepared the priest for the events that unfold.
About the Collins-Burke Mysteries
This thrilling mystery series centers around two unlikely colleagues with very different pasts: Monty Collins, a sharp-tongued public defender who dabbles in solving mysteries himself, and Father Brennan Burke, an Irish Catholic priest who is well-read but with a "holier than thou" attitude that belies darker secrets. Set in locations around the world - including Nova Scotia, New York City, Saudi Arabia, the Arctic's Ellesmere Island, and Dublin - the Collins-Burke Mysteries follow the pair on a harrowing series of fast-paced and nail-biting murder cases. Written by acclaimed author Anne Emery, the series starts with Sign of the Cross (2006) and continues to the most recent installment, Postmark Berlin (2020).
Winner of the 2019 Arthur Ellis Award for Best Crime Novel
As 1995 dawns in the North of Ireland, Belfast is a city of army patrols, bombed-out buildings, and "peace walls" segregating one community from the other. But the IRA has called a ceasefire. So, it's as good a time as any for Monty Collins and Father Brennan Burke to visit the city: Monty to do a short gig in a law firm, and Brennan to reconnect with family. And it's a good time for Brennan's cousin Ronan to lay down arms and campaign for election in a future peacetime government.
But the past is never past in Belfast, and it rises up to haunt them all: a man goes off a bridge on a dark, lonely road; a rogue IRA enforcer is shot; and a series of car bombs remains an unsolved crime. The trouble is compounded by a breakdown in communication: Brennan knows nothing about the secrets in a file on Monty's desk. And Monty has no idea what lies behind a late-night warning from the IRA. With a smoking gun at the center of it all, Brennan and Monty are on a collision course and will learn more than they ever wanted to know about what passes for law in 1995 Belfast. An inscription on a building south of the Irish border says it all: "Let justice be done though the heavens fall."
Lawyer and bluesman Monty Collins is used to defending murderers, and occasionally investigating murders himself. But he can't round up the usual suspects this time. The blood-drenched body of Reinhold Schellenberg, a world-renowned German theologian, has been found on the altar of an old church in Halifax, Nova Scotia, during Vespers on Saint Cecilia's day. The man has nearly been decapitated. The controversial priest, once a top insider in the Vatican, was known to provoke strong feelings in Catholics of all ideological stripes. Now those feelings have overflowed with horrifying results.
His friend Father Brennan Burke has just opened a choir school for priests, monks, nuns, and other Catholics devoted to the glorious music of the Church's past. So Monty has before him an international cast of suspects, including a flamboyant Sicilian priest who left the Vatican under a cloud of suspicion; an eccentric English monk who has penned scathing attacks on Schellenberg's actions during the Second Vatican Council; a disgruntled American ex-priest who can't quite let go; a church lady with a history of violence; a Vatican enforcer; and, most perplexing of all, a police officer from the former East Berlin. The case lifts the lid on fascinating episodes of Church history, thwarted ambitions, old grudges and long-simmering disputes.
Monty and Brennan's investigation takes them on a road trip to Italy: to the corridors of power and the glittering museums of the Vatican, the elegant apartments of an operatic diva, and the cloistered grounds of medieval monasteries.
Monty immerses himself in a world of ancient chants, votive candles, stained glass, incense, and the music of the spheres. The more he learns, the more questions he has. In the end, he finds himself turning to the saints for answers!
Be careful what you wish for, his mother used to say. Yet how many times, in his twenty years defending the underclass, has Monty Collins wished for a client who is intelligent, articulate and tattoo-free? Now he has one, but it's not long before his mother's warning comes back to haunt him. Father Brennan Burke was born in Ireland, raised in New York, educated in Rome - he's equally fluent in Latin and the language of the street. And he is the prime suspect in the killing of a foxy young girl whose body was found carved with a religious sign, a sign that points straight to the priest.
From their first meeting, Monty finds Burke acerbic, arrogant, and evasive about his relationship with the victim. Conflict between lawyer and client simmers all through the ordeal that lies ahead, as evidence piles up and murder charges seem inevitable. With Burke remaining tight-lipped about his past, Monty has no choice but to go behind his back and conduct a probe into the life of his own client. Never in his career has Monty been so lost for answers, until a long-forgotten incident takes on new and ominous meaning . . .
Declan Burke fled Ireland forty years ago and never looked back. Now settled in New York, he thinks he's put the old country behind him, until he reads the obituary of one Cathal Murphy. The obituary, he sees at once, is not about Murphy at all. It is a coded indictment of Burke's own life. And an announcement of his impending death. Halifax lawyer Monty Collins investigates the obit with its allusions to Burke's IRA past. Collins gets no help from Burke, who - good soldier to the end - keeps the silence of the grave.
But Burke's denial becomes harder to maintain following a burst of gunfire at a family wedding. The shooting brings another old soldier onto the field: Leo Killeen, the commanding officer of Burke's former battalion in Dublin. But he also has secrets to protect. When a body is found in a rundown Brooklyn flat, Collins wonders just how far Killeen will go to keep those secrets under wraps.
From the farms of Ireland to the tenements of New York City, Monty is confronted by a cast of enigmatic characters, including the owner of a nightclub frequented by the New York mob; a sultry chanteuse; and Burke's hotheaded son Francis, whose resentment and dubious activities set the family on a road to destruction. Monty isn't the only one who is surprised when he reaches the end of the road. Burke too must now confront the suspicion that he has been manipulated all along by an unseen hand.
Beau Delaney is a bit of a showboat, a prominent lawyer whose exploits have become the subject of a Hollywood film. He's also the father of ten children (many adopted). Now he's charged with the murder of his wife, Peggy. It's another hard case for lawyer and bluesman Monty Collins. His client is keeping secrets; a mysterious eleventh child turns up and demands to take part in the trial; and the last words anyone heard from Peggy were "the Hells Angels!" Monty isn't alone in trying to save Delaney from life in prison, and save his sprawling family from breaking up. Monty's pal, Father Brennan Burke, has a hand in the investigation, too. But Burke is also lending a hand to Monty's estranged wife, Maura. And the priest finds himself burdened with unwelcome secrets of his own when Maura's old flame arrives on the scene and threatens to turn her world upside down.
Watching all this through the eyes of a child is Monty and Maura's little girl, Normie. Like her spooky grandmother in Cape Breton, Normie has the gift of second sight. When she starts having visions that seem to involve Beau Delaney, she can't tell whether they reflect something he's done in the past, or something he might do in the future. We hear the story from two points of view, experience and innocence, Monty and Normie, and ask ourselves which of them will be first to uncover the truth about Beau Delaney.
Children in the Morning is the fifth book in Emery's acclaimed series featuring Monty Collins.
?A rich man and a poor man are found dead of gunshot wounds outside a seedy bar on Barrington Street in Halifax. The police declare it a murder-suicide, but bluesman/lawyer Monty Collins - hired to represent the victims' families - suspects it's a double