I've been dreaming of gathering Star O'Brien fans together for a trip to County Mayo, Ireland and a visit to many of the places in the series. But alas travel to the Emerald Isle is still not recommended by the CDC. So since we cannot make a trip to County Mayo right now, I have to settle with sharing some of my research photos and a snippet of a scene from the first book in the series: Death on Clare Island: A Star O'Brien Mystery.
Today I'm visiting Westport and invite you to have a virtual coffee or tea at Curry's Cottage, Bakery, and Tea Room. It's one of my favorite places and a must go to whenever I'm in County Mayo. Here's a link to their Facebook page and a some pictures I took when we were there in 2019. https://www.facebook.com/curryscottage/
Star and Lucia (one of the characters in Death on Clare Island) have a hot chocolate in Curry's when Star meets the teenager Here's an excerpt from the scene:
“Why don’t we have a cup of coffee?” I said, nodding toward Curry’s green window sashes.
She nodded, shifting the books in her arms, and turned into Curry’s narrow door. Then she walked toward an empty table and placed the books on a chair. I offered to get our drinks while she waited. She wanted a hot chocolate.
After a few minutes of warming our hands on the hot mugs and taking our first careful sips, I asked again, “So why don’t you tell me what’s going on?”
She removed the stocking cap and pushed her blonde hair behind her ears.
“Nothing. Nothing is going on. Matthew promised to give me a book about the history of women and art. I don’t know why, but I thought I might still get it. Perhaps his sister, umm….” Her voice faltered as the words ran out.
“What, Lucia? You thought his sister might be at the apartment?”
She shrugged. “I didn’t know. I thought if I hung around I’d see someone. But then I saw you and I got scared.” She punctuated the sentence with another shrug.
I sat back in my chair and pushed my mug away to the side to clear the space between us. “So what is it you're afraid of? What else do you know about Matthew, and what happened on Clare Island? You know that Sharon Dawson is dead, don't you?”
“Yes, I heard it on the radio. I can’t. I don’t know anything about it, though. She and Matthew fought a lot. That’s all I know for certain. That and the fact that I just want to be an artist and get away from that island.” Her eyes brimmed with tears as she looked away from me to her pile of books.
Was she telling me the truth, or was she putting on a dramatic act? Teenagers—it’s hard to size them up. Their emotional range often changes within a few minutes.
I decided to treat her more like an adult than a teenager.
“Lucia, you realize that if you know anything, you’re in danger. There’s no doubt now with Sharon’s death that there’s a killer at work here. Don’t you think it would be wise to tell someone if you have any knowledge about her and Matthew?” I paused, waiting for these ideas to sink in.
“I don’t know any more than what I’ve already told you,” she snapped back. Then she reached for the stocking cap and pulled it down over her hair again. “My parents don’t want me speaking with you or anyone else about Matthew.”
“Why not, Lucia? What are you hiding? Were you planning on meeting someone in Westport?” I had to rush my questions since she was obviously preparing to bolt.
She stood up, grabbed her books, and tossed some euros on the table. “I have to go or I’ll miss the bus back to Roonagh Quay, and my parents will worry.”
I nodded. I wasn’t going to learn anymore from her now. I hoped to God she was telling the truth about not knowing anything further about Matthew and Sharon.
Her eyes pleaded with me, I noticed.
For her sake.