A rookie security guard at Dublin airport spots a pool of dried blood under a car: the search for a missing tourist is over. The American is found bludgeoned to death in the trunk of his rented car. Minogue soon learns that there's more at stake here than the murder of a visitor, more even than adverse publicity for Ireland's vital tourist industry: Patrick (Leyne) Shaughnessy, the dead man, is scion of an Irish-American multimillionaire and food tycoon, John Leyne.
From the obscure lodgings in remote towns and villages, a confusing account of Shaughnessy's itinerary and interests trickles in. The investigation traces him to historical sites that he visited with an unknown woman companion, but is eventually stumped by Shaughnessy's disappearance after a sighting near the west coast. Meanwhile, background information from the U.S. reveals him as a man with a troubled past: divorced, alcoholic, and estranged from his father.
His female companion maybe be Aoife Hartnett, an archaeologist from Dublin's National Museum. She cannot be found. As odd and idiosyncratic a pattern as Shaughnessy's journeys seem to have been, Minogue is soon able to discern some method to them: they match sites where Aoife Hartnett worked. Two of those sites have had antiquities stolen from them over the past five years.
While the investigation broadens, Minogue continues to be fed information about Shaughnessy's past. John Leyne, he discovers, is a very influential patron of many Irish American causes. One of Leyne's passions in recent years has been the collection of antiquities. With Minogue trying to piece together these baffling shards of information into a mosaic which will map his way to Patrick Shaughnessy's killer, a body is discovered in shallow grave not far from the site of the theft.
A Faustian bargain was struck: payment is due, now. Venturing into his ancestral homeland, to propitiate his estranged father brought him not the glory he hoped, but a brutal end.
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McArthur & Company
January 23, 2001
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