Irish Lace – A Nuala Anne McGrail Novel
Andrew M. Greeley
Tom Doherty Associates, Inc., 1996, 303 PP
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Nuala (pronounced Noola) Anne McGrail has finished Trinity College Dublin and has moved to Chicago where she works as an accountant for Arthur Anderson by day and sings Irish ballads a couple of nights a week at a grungy Chicago Pub. Dermot Coyne is also back home in Chicago dividing his time between courting Nuala Anne and pursuing his budding writing career.
Nuala Anne is fey, which in ancient times would have made her a seer or prophetess but, as Nuala Anne describes it, nowadays fey just means she "sees things". The things she "sees" are snippets of tragic events from the past associated with the location where she has the fey experience.
The action begins with the first sentence of the book as Nuala Anne suddenly "sees" "men dying everywhere!" as she and Dermot are driving along Lake Shore Drive in Chicago. Dermot, meanwhile, has been listening to the radio reporting the news of another art gallery robbery.
The two immediately get swept up in trying to find answers to questions surrounding the Civil War era Camp Douglas Conspiracy (an actual historical event). At the same time Nuala Anne is charged with involvement in the art gallery robberies and Dermot has to find the facts to prove her innocence.
In this second book in the series, Nuala Anne emerges as the main character with Dermot assuming the roles of faithful companion and narrator. As Nuala Anne "sees" pieces of the event in question, Dermot is dispatched to research the historical record to dig out the full story behind the clue she has seen.
Throughout the entire book the sexual tension that started in Irish Gold, between Dermot and Nuala Anne continues to grow. The two are heading rapidly toward marriage but the book ends with their merely setting the wedding date thereby leaving that story for the next book.
The review of this Book prepared by Chuck Nugent