Patrick Taylor first charmed readers with An Irish Country Doctor, a warm and enchanting novel in the tradition of James Herriot and Jan Karon. Now Taylor returns to the colorful Northern Ireland community of Ballybucklebo, where there's always something brewing beneath the village's deceptively sleepy surface.Young Doctor Barry Laverty has only just begun his assistantship under his eccentric mentor, Dr. Fingal Flahertie O'Reilly, but he already feels right at home in Ballybucklebo. When the sudden death of a patient casts a cloud over Barry's reputation, his chances of establishing himself in the village are endangered, especially since the grieving widow is threatening a lawsuit. While he anxiously waits for the postmortem results that he prays will exonerate him, Barry must regain the trust of the gossipy Ulster village, one patient at a time. From a put-upon shop girl with a mysterious rash to the troubled pregnancy of a winsome young lass who's not quite married yet, Ballybucklebo provides plenty of cases to keep the two country G.P.s busy.Not all their challenges are medical in nature. When a greedy developer sets his sights on the very heart of the community, the village pub, it's up to the doctors to save the Black Swan (affectionately known to the locals as the ""Mucky Duck"") from being turned into an overpriced tourist trap. After all, the good citizens of Ballybucklebo need some place to drink to each other's health. . . .Whether you've visited in the past, or are discovering Ballybucklebo for the first time, An Irish Country Village is an ideal location for anyone looking for wit, warmth, and just a touch of blarney. At the publisher's request, this title is being sold without Digital Rights Management software (DRM) applied.
This highly readable sequel to An Irish Country Doctor follows the trials and exultations of Dr. Barry Laverty as he begins his assistantship to Dr. Fingal Flahertie O'Reilly in Balleybucklebo, a fictional Irish Ulster village of the 1960s. Barry loves his diverse work-conjunctivitis to obstetrics-and his provincial patients are keen on folk wisdom and proverbs. He grows fond and admiring of his gruff, imposing senior colleague, who heals bodies and also attacks social maladies, like the greedy local councilor who threatens to turn the Black Swan, a local pub, into a tourist trap. Meanwhile, Barry's infatuation with plucky engineering student Patricia Spence thickens, though her ambition may land her a scholarship that would lure her to Cambridge. And then there's the matter of a potential career-ending lawsuit by a recent widow whose husband died after Barry botched a diagnosis. Detailed medical procedures of the era are fascinating to a modern reader, though Taylor sometimes throws in too much play-by-play. The book, with its spot-on dialects (a glossary is included for those who don't know what, say, "soft hand under a duck" means) and neatly tied endings, largely succeeds as light entertainment. (Feb.) Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information. -- PUBLISHERS WEEKLY.
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February 04, 2008
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Excerpt from An Irish Country Village by Patrick Taylor
Barry Laverty--Doctor Barry Laverty--heard the clattering of a frying pan on a stove and smelled bacon frying. Mrs. "Kinky" Kincaid, Doctor O'Reilly's housekeeper, had breakfast on, and Barry realized he was ravenous.
Feet thumped down the stairs, and a deep voice said, "Morning, Kinky."
"Morning yourself, Doctor dear."
"Young Laverty up yet?" Despite the fact that half the village of Ballybucklebo, County Down, Northern Ireland, had been partying in his back garden for much of the night, Doctor Fingal Flahertie O'Reilly, Laverty's senior colleague, was up and doing.
"I heard him moving about, so."
Barry's head was a little woozy, but he smiled as he left his small attic bedroom. He found the Cork woman's habit of tacking "so" to the ends of most of her sentences endearing and less grating than the "so it is" or "so I will" added for emphasis by the folks from his native province of Ulster.
In the bathroom he washed the sleep from his blue eyes, which in the shaving mirror blinked at him from an oval face under fair hair, a cowlick sticking up from the crown.
He finished dressing and went downstairs to the dining room, passing as he did the ground-floor parlour that Doctor O'Reilly used as his surgery, which Barry knew an American doctor would have called his "office." He hoped to be spending a lot of time here in the future. He paused to glimpse inside the by now familiar room.
"Don't stand there with both legs the same length," O'Reilly growled from the dining room opposite. "Come on in and let Kinky feed us."
"Coming." Barry went into the dining room, blinking at the August sunlight streaming in through the bay windows.
"Morning, Barry." O'Reilly, wearing a collarless striped shirt and red braces to hold up his tweed trousers, sat at the head of a large mahogany table, a teacup held in one big hand.
"Morning, Fingal." Barry sat and poured himself a cup. "Grand day."
"I could agree," said O'Reilly, "if I didn't have a bit of a strong weakness." He yawned and massaged one temple, his bushy eyebrows moving closer as he spoke. Barry could see tiny veins in the whites of O'Reilly's brown eyes. The big man's craggy face with its cauliflower ears and listing-to-port nose broke into a grin. "When I was in the navy it's what we used to call 'a self-inflicted injury.' It was quite the ta-ta-ta-ra yesterday."
Barry laughed and wondered how many pints of Guinness his mentor had sunk the previous night. Ordinarily drink would have as much effect on O'Reilly as a teaspoon of water on a forest fire. Barry still wasn't sure if the man's magnanimous offer, made in the middle of what had seemed to be the hooley to end all hooleys, had been the Guinness talking or whether O'Reilly was serious. When he'd first woken he'd thought he might've dreamed the whole thing, but now he clearly remembered that he'd vowed before laying his head on the pillow to muster the courage this morning to ask O'Reilly if he had meant it.
He knew he could let the hare sit, wait for O'Reilly to repeat the offer under more professional circumstances, but damn it all, this was important. Barry glanced down at the table, then back straight into O'Reilly's eyes. "Fingal," he said putting down his cup.
"You were serious, weren't you, about offering me a full-time assistantship for one year and then a partnership in your practice?"
O'Reilly's cup stopped halfway to his lips. His hairline moved lower and rumpled the skin of his forehead. Pallor appeared at the tip of his bent nose.
Barry involuntarily turned one shoulder towards the big man, as a pistol duellist of old might have done in order to present his enemy with a smaller target. The pale nose was a sure sign that fires smouldering beneath O'Reilly's crust were about to break through the surface.
"Was I what?" O'Reilly slammed his cup into his saucer. "Was I what?"
Barry swallowed. "I only meant--"
"Holy thundering mother of Jesus Christ Almighty I know what you meant. Why the hell would you think I wasn't serious?"
"Well . . ." Barry struggled desperately to find diplomatic words. "You . . . that is, we . . . we'd had a fair bit to drink."
O'Reilly pushed his chair away from the table, cocked his head to one side, stared at Barry--and began to laugh, great throaty rumbles.
Barry looked expectantly into O'Reilly's face. His nose tip had returned to its usually florid state. The laugh lines at the corners of the big man's eyes had deepened.
"Yes, Doctor Barry Laverty, I was serious. Of course I was bloody well serious. I'd like you to stay."
"Don't thank me. Thank yourself. I'd not have made you the offer if I didn't think you were fitting in here in Ballybucklebo, and if the customers hadn't taken a shine to you."
"You just keep it up. You hear me?"