Writing.ie Review of THE DOLL'S HOUSE

 
The setting again is Dublin. The Doll’s House reintroduces us to criminal psychologist and profiler Dr 
Kate Pearson and Garda Detective Inspector O’Connell. Kate is married but it’s a marriage with
“issues” with an absent husband , while the unattached O’ Connell continues to drink heavily to 
combat some inner demons. Their “will they – won’t they” pavane continues but takes a surprising 
twist en marge of the hunt for a double killer.
 
Cue the plot and characters. A T.V. personality is murdered, the body found in Dublin’s Grand Canal
near Leeson Street Bridge. The victim – an Irish Jeremy-Kyle-style presenter – is soon revealed to 
have his own seamy side. He was stabbed , then drowned in the canal. Several days later another 
victim is found in the same canal several bridges away. Both are approximately the same age, but 
the second was a homeless man. Copycat killer or the work of the same man? Gradually the story 
unfolds and links emerge to another mysterious death by drowning three decades earlier.
 
Much of the novel is narrated in the first person by Clodagh, daughter of the drowning victim, a 
woman seeking to come to terms with a past which puzzles and haunts her. Another portion is 
narrated from the point of view of the killer, who explains his mission, but not the reasons for it. 
The other main characters include Clodagh’s husband, Martin, a singularly unpleasant creature, and 
Clodagh’s brother, Dominic, seemingly overprotective of his sister. Throw in a nasty low-life 
acquaintance and a strange, shadowy and manipulative businessman/politician and the scene is set 
for an interesting and intriguing novel, with Kate and O’Connell striving to find the killer before he 
strikes again. The past must be revisited for the clues vital to a solution.
 
The past IS revisited throughout in a series of fascinating and riveting episodes in which Clodagh 
consults a hypnotherapist and is led back, step by step, to the events surrounding her father’s death 
and that of her baby sister all those years ago. These passages are easily the most impressive in the 
book, though the sub-plot, of the evolving relationship between Kate and O’Connell, is also handled 
skilfully, with the reader being in little doubt that the next book will carry the saga forward. As the 
secrets of the past are revealed, the book builds toward its breathless climax.
 
To say any more might spoil the enjoyment of readers. But one final comment. The characters
around which the plot develops are, with the exception of a low life chancer, middleclass and 
relatively affluent by Irish standards – a large house on the front in Sandymount , another on the 
Estuary in Malahide, denote money. Indeed one of the other characters in the novel remarks bitterly 
“ Not everyone grows up with a view of the sea, do they?” And, for all their money, these 
comfortable lives are dogged and eventually ruined by tragic events of the past.
 
There are echoes here of the world explored by Ross MacDonald. Louise is finding her voice, and it’s a good one.