'An excellent and well researched book ... an interesting and enjoyable read ... throws new light on the life and death of an Irish Black & Tan' - Royal Irish Constabulary Forum
'A well written and entertaining story ... an enjoyable read' - Irish Volunteers Commemorative Society
From the Author
When I was a youngster, the stories my Mayo grandmother told me of the bad behaviour of the 'Black and Tans' would give me nightmares. They were, she insisted, a vile and loathsome breed of Englishman.
When a third cousin of mine asked me to help her uncover the truth about something her late father used to say - that they were related to a man who was hanged, along with some IRA men, for a murder committed during a raid - my interest was piqued. Little did I know that this would lead to us uncovering the true story of a real 'Black & Tan'. I also discovered that not all the 'Tans' were English. In fact, at least a quarter of them were Irish or of Irish descent, as indeed was Dubliner William Mitchell, the subject of my novel. Although the family link to this man is as yet unproven, I spent two years chasing elusive case papers and official records before the full, unique and hitherto untold story of this tragic, forgotten man was finally revealed. His case files did not appear to have been opened since 1921. I also managed to track down his living family members and obtain their personal recollections.
Spookily, Mitchell lived, worked and fought in parts of the world in which I too have spent time and which are familiar to me. Therefore I was able to fill the gaps between the known facts of his life with likely occurrences and characters I have encountered during my own travels. The story which emerged was an unsettling one. What sort of a man was Mitchell? Did he commit the murder of the magistrate and should he have been executed, or was this just possibly an awful miscarriage of justice? I give you the facts and invite you to decide. The possibility that Mitchell may be 'resurrected' (in a real sense) in the future and will continue to cause embarrassment to the authorities makes this a doubly intriguing case. I hope you will enjoy reading my novel as much as I enjoyed writing it - though I do wonder what my late Granny would have made of these revelations!