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7 Mystery Series Set In Dublin That Will Have You Wishing For More

Leprechauns aren't the only mysterious creatures to come out of Dublin. 

flowery field overlooking the ocean cliffs in dublin ireland
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  • Photo Credit: Natalie Warren / Unsplash

Dublin, the capital of the Republic of Ireland, is a city with rich literary traditions. Fortunately for mystery fans, a significant portion of that heritage is focused on criminality.

We know you'll enjoy these fabulous first books in great detective series set in Dublin. 

A June of Ordinary Murders

A June of Ordinary Murders

By Conor Brady

Brady’s finely written Joe Swallow series is set in 1880s Dublin against a backdrop of the campaign for Home Rule and the increasingly oppressive measures taken against it by the British government in London.

In the opener of this superb series, Swallow is a detective sergeant in the Dublin Metropolitan Police. Weary and jaded, he finds himself thrust into the limelight when the mutilated bodies of a man and child are found in Phoenix Park.

With police priorities directed more towards ensuring Queen Victoria’s Golden Jubilee passes off peacefully than solving murders, Swallow finds himself not only stalking a dangerous and possibly politically motivated killer but also battling against superiors. 

mcgarr and the politician's wife book cover

McGarr and the Politician’s Wife

By Bartholomew Gill

Irish-American author Mark C. McGarrity wrote sixteen novels under the Gill pseudonym before his untimely death in 2002. The series, featuring Garda detective Peter McGarr, commenced with this debut from 1977.

It’s fair to say that the McGarr series with its rich cast of recurring characters doesn’t really hit its stride until a few mysteries in, but this opener in which McGarr and his squad (and sharp-witted wife Noreen) investigate the assault and battery of a boat captain at a yacht club and uncover some ripe shenanigans involving a politician, his wayward wife and a gang of IRA gun runners gets things rolling merrily enough. 

Too Close to Breathe

Too Close to Breathe

By Olivia Kiernan

Kiernan’s excellent Dublin police series focuses on the work of DCS Frankie Sheehan—a trained profiler—and her team of detectives. The opener (first published in 2018 as Too Close to Breathe) sees Sheehan investigating the unexpected death of a respected Irish scientist, Dr Eleanor Costello.

It looks like a straightforward suicide by hanging, but Sheehan is immediately suspicious. Soon she’s on the trail of a complex killer in a case where the lines between murderer and victim become increasingly blurred.

Two more Sheehan mysteries have followed in a series that goes from strength to strength and looks set to delight crime lovers for years to come. 

authors like louise penny

In the Woods

By Tana French

The 2007 opener in US-born, Dublin-based crime author French’s justifiably acclaimed Dublin Murder Squad series sees mismatched detective duo Rob Ryan and Cassie Maddox investigating the murder of a 12-year-old girl.

It’s a case that stirs up old traumas for the mysterious Ryan, in a novel that brilliantly blends rigorous police procedural and taut psychological thriller with a slight and unexpected hint of the supernatural.

There are now six further installments of this best-selling series for readers to devour. 

The Wrong Kind of Blood: An Irish Novel of Suspense (Ed Loy Novels Book 1)

The Wrong Kind of Blood: An Irish Novel of Suspense (Ed Loy Novels Book 1)

By Declan Hughes

Irish playwright Hughes has justifiably been described as “The Irish Ross MacDonald” and there’s certainly plenty of hard-boiled wit and wisdom to admire in his superb series featuring Irish-American PI Ed Loy which kicked off with this 2007 mystery.

In it Loy (that surname also happens to be the Irish name for a traditional spade—a cheeky reverential nod towards The Maltese Falcon) returns to Dublin from the U.S. after a 20-year exile to attend his mother’s funeral. He’s not intending to stay, but when a fellow mourner asks him to find her missing husband he decides to investigate.

Soon he’s hiding a recently fired gun and fending off police and mobsters. Four more books have followed in Hughes’ snappy and unique Gaelic Noir. 

Christine Falls: A Novel (Quirke Book 1)

Christine Falls: A Novel (Quirke Book 1)

By Benjamin Black

Benjamin Black is the pen name of award-winning Irish author John Banville, a serial contender for the prestigious Booker Prize for literary fiction. His stylish mysteries featuring pathologist Quirke (we never know him by anything but his surname) are top-class suspense novels set in the oppressive world of 1950s Dublin—a city far removed from the modern, light-hearted, liberal place of hip cocktail bars and deluxe restaurants.

 In his debut from 2006, Quirke opens an inquiry into the dead body of a young woman whose death certificate has been knowingly falsified. Determined to find the reason why, the gloomy pathologist is soon embroiled in a case that brings to light Ireland’s clandestine trade in newborn babies.

Seven more Quirke novels have followed. 

Echoland: Book 1 of the WW2 spy novels set in neutral Ireland

Echoland: Book 1 of the WW2 spy novels set in neutral Ireland

By Joe Joyce

Joyce’s evocative and thrilling Echoland trilogy is set in Dublin during World War Two. The Republic of Ireland is neutral, trying to pilot a course between the old enemy Great Britain and the horrific Nazi regime in Germany.

Joyce’s central character Lieutenant Paul Duggan is an Irish Army intelligence officer. In Echoland he finds himself tracking a Nazi spy who has parachuted into the country—is he here on a mission of peace, or as a harbinger of an invasion?

Meanwhile, Hitler’s troops storm into France and the British make an unlikely escape from the beaches of Dunkirk. Based on solid research into an often overlooked period, Joyce brings the past thrillingly to life. 

Featured image: Natalie Warren / Unsplash