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Irish Gold: A Nuala Anne McGrail Novel (Nuala Anne McGrail Novels)

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Irish Gold: A Nuala Anne McGrail Novel (Nuala Anne McGrail Novels) [Mass Market Paperback]

Andrew M. Greeley
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (43 customer reviews)

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Greeley kicks off a new mystery series with this slick, if far-fetched, entry revolving around a hidden fortune in gold and the real-life, still unsolved, question of who killed Free Irish leader Michael Collins in 1922. Dermot Coyne, a 24-year-old American and sometime commodities trader, is in Dublin looking desultorily into why his maternal grandparents fled Ireland in 1922. An attack by three thugs aimed at getting Dermot to "let the dead sleep in peace" only inspires him to start digging in earnest-and, eventually, to uncover a cabal plotting the reunion of England and Ireland. Dermot shares his sleuthing with Nuala McGrail, a ravishing Trinity College student, singer and actress whom he hires to translate the Irish diaries his grandmother kept during the Troubles of 1919-1922. A typically hot-blooded Greeley hero, Dermot waxes ecstatic about Nuala's physique even while struggling to control his lust, which is never satisfied here-though promised sequels to this entertaining novel, including Irish Lace and Irish Linen, should give Dermot and Nuala further chances at romance, as well as at mystery. BOMC dual main selection; major ad/promo.
Copyright 1994 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Library Journal

On a benign quest, Dermot Michael Coyne travels to Dublin to investigate his grandparents' mysterious flight from Ireland to Chicago during the time of the "Troubles" in 1922. His initial foray produces life-threatening warnings intended to discourage him from delving into Liam and Nell O'Riada's past. In a local pub, Dermot reflects upon the horrifying prospect that Liam might have been a terrorist. Later, he is dazzled by the presence of a "Celtic goddess," Nuala McGrail. Thus begins Dermot and Nuala's passionate relationship. As translator of Nell's Irish diary chronicling the Troubles, Nuala subtly guides Dermot as he untangles a nefarious web of murder and intrigue. With a promise to continue the saga of Dermot and Nuala, priest and prolific novelist Greeley serves up piquant characters who are engulfed in delightful Irish mystery. Recommended for popular fiction collections.
--Mary Ellen Elsbernd, Northern Kentucky Univ. Lib., Highland Heights
Copyright 1994 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Booklist

Priest-writer Greeley's latest novel is good. It's the first entry in a planned series of mystery novels, and if subsequent volumes are as well conceived and executed as this one, it should be a fine set of books. Young Dermot Coyne is in Dublin looking into his grandfather's past, particularly why he immigrated to America. Coyne eventually tangles with the Irish Special Branch, who want him to end his investigation. With the help of a young woman he meets in a pub, Nuala McGrail, Coyne learns of British involvement in the murder of Michael Collins, an Irish revolutionary leader gunned down in 1922 in the midst of the Irish civil war. Why is the Special Branch so interested in Coyne and his stone-turning? Because airing of the information on British involvement in Collins' murder would derail the current peace negotiations between Dublin and London. There's a lot of history to sort through here, but the persistent reader will be rewarded by a rich story and will look forward to the return of Dermot Coyne and Nuala McGrail in subsequent novels in the series. Brad Hooper --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Kirkus Reviews

Back in the Old Country to find out why his late grandparents left after the Troubles, insisting they could never return, Dermot Michael Coyne, retired from the Chicago commodities trading floor on a bit of Irish luck, runs headlong into fetching student Nuala Anne McGrail, reason enough to remain on the island forever. But Dermot won't succumb to his desire for Nuala, though he keeps her close by asking her to translate his grandmother's diaries. Nuala will need to work from a photocopy, though, since someone's stolen the diaries and the yellowed sheaf of clippings Nell Pat O'Riada left behind--clippings that suggest Nell Pat knew who killed Irish patriot Michael Collins and Daniel O'Kelly, commander of the Galway brigade, back in 1922. As Dermot and Nuala float through a lilting, tumescent present interrupted by periodic attacks by local bullyboys and veiled threats by their well-placed masters, excerpts from Nuala's translation unfold the parallel love story of Nell Pat and Dermot's grandfather, Liam O'Riada--and hint at the location of a treasure in Irish gold missing since the Easter Uprising in 1916. More romance than mystery, with Nell Pat's intermittent account of Civil War intrigue (complete with unconvincing celebrity killer) eclipsed by the mating dance of Nuala and Dermot. The would-be lovers may be less cloying back in Chicago, where Greeley (Sacraments of Love, 1993, etc.) promises to send them for a new series. (Book-of-the-Month Club dual selection) -- Copyright ©1994, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.


"Father Greeley has given great attention to the role of imagination in the life of faith. What he is doing is re-evangelizing the imagination, using fiction to address the faith and the mysteries of the faith. That's an extraordinarily significant project." --Cardinal Francis George, archbishop of Chicago

"Nobody has ever left the church because of an Andrew Greeley novel, but many have been attracted back to it by him." --Reverend Ron Rolheiser, O.M.I.

"Michael Collins is now recognized as the lost leader of the 20th century. If he had lived, it is probable that Collins could have ended the Irish troubles. He had the vision and leadership skills to stop the killing and bring all parties to the negotiating table. Drawing from the letters of Collins, Greeley portrays the Irish leader as romantic, sensitive and introspective. Greeley's Collins is also tough." --Chicago Sun-Times on Irish Gold

"A tale of young love and faith with a cast of characters, Irish and American, that very well may open Greeley's work to a generation of new readers." --Chicago Tribune on Irish Gold

"A first-rate adventure story." --Baltimore Sun on Irish Gold

"Drawing from the letters of Michael Collins, Greeley portrays the Irish leader as romantic, sensitive, introspective, and also tough." (Chicago Sun-Times)

"A tale of young love and faith that very well may open Greeley's work to a generation of new readers." (Chicago Tribune)

"A first-rate adventure story." (Baltimore Sun)

About the Author

Priest, sociologist, author and journalist, Father Andrew M. Greeley built an international assemblage of devout fans over a career spanning five decades. His books include the Bishop Blackie Ryan novels, including The Archbishop in Andalusia, the Nuala Anne McGrail novels, including Irish Tweed, and The Cardinal Virtues. He was the author of over 50 best-selling novels and more than 100 works of non-fiction, and his writing has been translated into 12 languages.

Father Greeley was a Professor of Sociology at the University of Arizona and a Research Associate with the National Opinion Research Center (NORC) at the University of Chicago. In addition to scholarly studies and popular fiction, for many years he penned a weekly column appearing in the Chicago Sun-Times and other newspapers. He was also a frequent contributor to The New York Times, the National Catholic Reporter, America and Commonweal, and was interviewed regularly on national radio and television. He authored hundreds of articles on sociological topics, ranging from school desegregation to elder sex to politics and the environment.

Throughout his priesthood, Father Greeley unflinchingly urged his beloved Church to become more responsive to evolving concerns of Catholics everywhere. His clear writing style, consistent themes and celebrity stature made him a leading spokesperson for generations of Catholics. He chronicled his service to the Church in two autobiographies, Confessions of a Parish Priest and Furthermore!

In 1986, Father Greeley established a $1 million Catholic Inner-City School Fund, providing scholarships and financial support to schools in the Chicago Archdiocese with a minority student body of more than 50 percent. In 1984, he contributed a $1 million endowment to establish a chair in Roman Catholic Studies at the University of Chicago. He also funded an annual lecture series, “The Church in Society,” at St. Mary of the Lake Seminary, Mundelein, Illinois, from which he received his S.T.L. in 1954.

Father Greeley received many honors and awards, including honorary degrees from the National University of Ireland at Galway, the University of Arizona and Bard College. A Chicago native, he earned his M.A. in 1961 and his Ph.D. in 1962 from the University of Chicago.

Father Greeley was a penetrating student of popular culture, deeply engaged with the world around him, and a lifelong Chicago sports fan, cheering for the Bulls, Bears and the Cubs. Born in 1928, he died in May 2013 at the age of 85.

Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.

–– 1 ––
“THE IRISH,” I insisted to the black-haired young woman whose face might have belonged to a pre-Christian Celtic goddess, “are different. They look like some of the rest of us and they speak a language that’s remotely like ours. Many of them even have the same names as we do. But they’re different—almost like aliens from another planet.”
I’ve never met a pre-Christian Celtic goddess, but the girl looked like the images I formed in my head when I read the ancient sagas.
“Pissantgobshite.” She peered at me over her dark glass of Guinness, mildly offended but intrigued.
Not very goddesslike language, huh?
I had sworn off women, for excellent reasons I thought. But, as my brother George the priest had insisted, the hormones tend to be irresistible.
“Womanly charms,” George had observed, “are not of enormous moment compared to intelligence and personality. However, especially for the tumescent young male, they must be reckoned as not completely trivial.”
That’s the way George talks.
I avoided the distraction of telling my Irish goddess that the words of her scatological response ran together like a phrase in the writings of her man Jimmy Joyce. I was homesick, baffled, and a little frightened. My body ached in a hundred places from the brawl on Baggot Street the day before. I was worried that Pa, my beloved grandfather, might have been a terrorist and a murderer when he was a young man. I wanted some sympathy.
Womanly sympathy.
Young womanly sympathy.
“That’s an example of what I mean.” I leaned forward so she could hear me over the noise of the student-filled pub—O’Neill’s, on Suffolk Street across from St. Andrew’s Church (C. of I., which means Anglican). “What did you say your name is?”
“I didn’t.” She frowned, a warning signal that I had interrupted her pursuit of world economics and that, if I didn’t mind me manners, she would stalk away from the table.
“Mine’s Dermot,” I said brightly. “Dermot Coyne, Dermot Michael Coyne—son of the dark stranger, as you probably know.”
The child—she was twenty at the most—was strikingly beautiful. At least her cream-white face and breast-length black hair promised great beauty. The rest of her was encased in a gray sweatshirt with “Dublin Millennium” in dark blue letters, jeans, and a dark blue cloth jacket with a hood—not goddess clothes, exactly. Her face, slender and fine-boned, was the sort that stares at you from the covers of women’s magazines—except that the cover women don’t usually have a haunting hint in their deep blue eyes of bogs and druids and old Irish poetry. The bottom half of her face was a sweeping, elegant curve which almost demanded that male fingers caress it with reassurance and affection. However, the center of the curve was a solid chin that warned trespassing, or potentially trespassing, male fingers that they had better not offend this young woman or they would be in deep trouble.
I’m a romantic, you say?
Why else would I loiter in O’Neill’s pub around the corner from Trinity College with nothing to do except look for beautiful faces, the kind whose image will cling to your memory for the rest of your life?
The mists swirling outside the darkened pub, which smelled like Guinness’s brewery on a humid day, seemed to have slipped inside and soaked the walls and floors and tables and the coats of the noisy young people with permanent moisture. My friend across the table was an oasis of light and warmth in a desert of wet and gloomy darkness. Blue-eyed, druid maiden light.
All right, I’m a terrible romantic. I’m worse than that, as you will see when I have finished telling my story. I’m a dumb romantic.
“That established my point.” I continued the argument, unable to look away from her suspicious but radiant blue eyes. “Do you speak Irish?”
“Better than you speak English,” she snapped. “And I’m trying to study”—she gestured with a slim elegant hand—“for my focking world economics quiz, which is why no one is sitting with me at this table.”
“Ah, but someone is indeed: one Dermot Coyne. Now tell me, nameless one”—I smiled my most charming dimpled smile—“what obscene and scatological words exist in your language?”
She tilted her head back and her chin up, ready for a fight. “ ’Tis a pure and gentle language.”
“Ah, ’tis all of that.” I leaned closer so that her inviting lips were only a foot from mine—and felt the pain in my ribs from last night’s brawl. “I’m surprised that you didn’t say it was a focking pure language.”
Did I detect a hint of a smile? What would she look like if she took off her jacket?
As George would say, a not completely trivial issue.
“Now,” I continued reasonably, “let me tell you about an event I observed when I was doing research on this alien race that claims some relation to my own harmless Irish-American people. In pursuit of this project I am attending a cultural exercise in an artistic center with which, O lovely nameless one, I am sure you are familiar—Croke Park.”
The ends of her lips turned up a little more. I was a big Yank, probably rich like all Yanks, probably preparing to make a pass like all rich Yank males, but I was also ever so faintly amusing. My heart, which ought to have known better after my earlier failures in love, picked up its beat.
I must add for the record that I was not preparing to make a pass. I had enough troubles in life as it was without becoming involved with a woman. All I wanted at that point was a little maternal sympathy because of my recent and unfortunate encounters with the Special Branch, a euphemism for the local secret police. Nonetheless, at twenty-five an unattached male of our species will inevitably evaluate a young woman of the same species as a potential bed partner and perhaps even as a remote possibility for a mate—even if my mother is convinced that I am destined to be a typical Irish bachelor. Such an evaluation will be all the more intense if the young woman across the table from him in a smoke-filled Dublin pub possesses the most beautiful face he has ever seen, a face all the more wonderful because of its total innocence of makeup.
“Maybe you’ll find a sweet little girl in Ireland and bring her home,” Mom had said brightly during our last phone conversation.
“Like your mother?”
Mom laughed. “Well, she was little anyway.”
I was beginning to fall in love, you say? Ah, friend, I begin to fall in love almost every day and, having been badly burned twice, rarely get beyond the beginning. When I begin to fall in love, the issue is infatuation and flirtation, not the kind of love out of which permanent union might be fashioned. I’d known that kind of love too, and I didn’t want any of it now, thank you very much.
This lass from the bogs was more appealing than most of the women who stir my heart, you say? And I had actually talked to her, which is a rare event when I begin to fall in love?
Too true.
The nameless one had already forced me to reevaluate my contention that all the beautiful female genes had migrated to America.
“You went to the All Ireland match at Croke Park, did you?” She tapped her notebook impatiently with a Bic pen. I didn’t have much time to tell my story or her royal majesty would dismiss me to the nether regions of her empire.
Most Irish conversational dialogue, I had discovered, ends in question marks. I tried to adjust to the custom, with only modest success.
I will not try to write English the way the Irish speak it in this story. For that I strongly recommend the books of Roddy Doyle. Thus when you see the letters “th,” you must realize that their language has (sometimes) no sound to correspond to those consonants. Moreover, the vowel “u” is often pronounced as if it were “oo,” as in “Dooblin.” For example, if the Gaelic womanly deity to whom I was talking should say “The only thing to do is to tell the truth when you’re thinking about it,” you must imagine her as sounding as if she said, “De only ting to do is tell da troot when you’re tinking about it.”
“Didn’t I now?” I continued my tale of Croke Park. “And didn’t Cork beat Mayo? And wasn’t I sitting next to a nice old Mayo lady who prayed her rosary beads before the game, uh, match began? And didn’t she put away her beads and shout encouragement to the players? I now recite a typical expression which I had the foresight to jot down in my notebook.” I removed a spiral pad from my Savile Row jacket pocket. “Jesus, Mary, and Joseph, Slattery, for the love of God, will you get the load of shit out of your focking pants and kick the focking ball into the focking net, instead of standing there like a pissant amadon!”
I snapped the notebook shut, my case having been made. The nameless one laughed, a rich, generous, and devastating laugh. She probably had no idea how beautiful she was or that she was even beautiful—an innocent child from the bogs.
Time would prove that the first part of my estimate was accurate enough. The second remains even now problematic.
“At least for an alien race,” she conceded, “aren’t we colorful now?”
“About that, lovely nameless one, you will get no argument from me.”
“A song, Nuala,” some large oaf with a thick Cork accent demanded. “ ’Tis time for one of your songs!”
“Can’t you see I’m studying me w...
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