Cora Harrison

Cora Harrison

Mullaghmore mountain on the Burren, County Clare, Ireland

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Fiona writes from United Kingdom
Dear Cora.

Thank you for your lovely reply and for taking the time to write such a comprehensive response.

Such good news that the Reverend Mother is going to continue solving crimes.

Kind regards


Tue Oct 23 13:21:08 2018

Cora Harrison writes from Ireland
Thank you, Fiona. What a lovely message. These books are very dear to my heart. I find when I write them that I very seldom hesitate for a word and I always seem to know what the Reverend Mother will say and where she will go.
It's odd because I grew up in Cork in the 1940s, but very little had changed about the city since the 1920s. I knew that from my parents' stories. I remember my mother saying that so often the Reverend Mother of the school she went to would go around the classes and say to the children: 'Now run home as fast as you can. There's shooting on the streets.'
And so they would grab their coats,, their schoolbags and run!

Yes, I will certainly go on with the Reverend Mother and her experiences. After Christmas I will start on the next one which, at the moment, is called 'Death of a Prominent Citizen' and is about the murder of the Reverend Mother's very wealthy widowed cousin.

Thank you again for writing. It means such a lot!

Tue Oct 23 12:21:05 2018

Fiona writes from United Kingdom
Dear Cora

I have just finished reading Murder At the Queen's Old Castle and wanted to say how much I enjoyed it and all the other Reverend Mother books.

You have created lovely characters that I care about and want to know what happens to them. You paint such vivid pictures with words. It makes me sad to read about the squalor and awfulness of what life was like for ordinary people in 1920s Cork - I can "see" it all as I read.

Is it likely there will be more cases for the Reverend Mother to solve?

Thank you for writing this first class series and also for The Burren Mysteries; Mara (still can't believe that there will be no more) was a lovely character... and maybe Hugh will make an appearance one day :)

Thank you again for giving so much pleasure to so many people.

Regards, Fiona

Tue Oct 23 11:51:16 2018

Cora Harrison writes from Ireland
Well, Lynn, you are the very first person to mention this to me. When i was writing the book I came across the quote and was, like you, intrigued by this 'man butter' and 'woman butter'. I looked up every book that I have, interrogated the Internet, but all to no avail.

I was just talking about this to my husband and he, brought up during the second world war in rural Monaghan, to the north of the republic of Ireland, came out with a memory of his mother during the war, making a distinction between 'creamery butter' and 'country butter'. Apparently the'creamery butter' was fine and smooth and would be served to the parish priest, the nuns or an important visitor, whereas she served her family of ten children, five boys and five girls, with 'country butter' which was a lot more lumpy.

I wonder whether there was that distinction - not that there would have been creameries in those days - but it may be that one kind of butter was much finer and smoother than the other.

And we can only guess which one was reserved for the men. And which for the women!

Tue Sep 18 18:55:02 2018

Lynn McCreedy writes from USA
Hello Cora,
I have enjoyed reading your Burren mysteries! You give the reader such a sense of place, geographically, culturally and historically. It's kind of heartbreaking to time-travel to that period when champions of Irish law and governance did their best to maintain sway against the looming English threat. Digging in to complicated, human stories is my favorite way to understand history, and I thank you for your work.
I have a question about the Brehon law excerpt from chapter 7 in "A Fatal Inheritance:" What on Earth are man-butter and woman-butter? Both Wikipedia and Google have failed me on these terms, though I did learn that butter from goat's milk is a thing.
With warm regards,

Tue Sep 18 14:13:27 2018

Cora Harrison writes from Ireland
Dear Clemens,

First of all, let me apologize. My phone and broadband have been out-of-order for the last fortnight - one of the downsides of living in rural west of Ireland is that we have a very poor communications service.

I'm right and the cover blurb is wrong.
I'm sometimes consulted about these things, but not always and I suppose there was a feeling that time was getting on, whereas I think of those mysteries to be centered on the years after the War of Independence finished, but I am reluctant to tie them to any particular time.

Fri Aug 17 16:28:00 2018

Clemens Schoonderwoert writes from Netherlands
Hi Cora,

After having read your book "Beyond Absolution" I have one query to you and is this. At the end of the book there's a publication of the Cork Examiner and its header says, July 2, 1923. Should that not have been 1925, because on the inside flap of the cover it says that the story is set in 1925.
What should it be dear Cora?

Very kind regards, Clemens.

Tue Aug 7 13:56:57 2018

Cora Harrison writes from Ireland
Have just downloaded that book onto my Kindle, Joe.

Will let you know how I get on.

Am already nostalgic for some rain and the fuchsia bushes on my avenue are suffering badly.

Thu Jul 12 18:09:08 2018

Joe O'Laughlin writes from USA
Thanks Cora,

So the "speleowaters" are a kind of short term inheritance?

I did get a grasp at my clan history via your Fatal Inheritance book. Our geographical dispersion in the the USA, coupled with a general silence about family circumstance leaves us bereft.

Then there is the "let the dead lie still" admonishment.

There is a predictive book about climate change for the English isles, at least - "Turned out nice".

Actually it means that in the short term it SEEMED things will get "nice".. but as a long lasting trend.. ?


Thu Jul 12 17:13:17 2018

Cora Harrison writes from Ireland
I suppose that the Burren has two sources of moisture in these heatwave days, Joe. There is a heavy sea mist every night and early morning - once the air cools - and then the limestone passages and caves which travel for miles under the surface (have you read 'A Fatal Inheritance '?) hold the winter rains - and this winter it rained nine days out of ten - and now we are all yearning for the rain to come back!

And you make me nostalgic for my Burren books. I so enjoyed writing these. The Reverend Mother books are grimmer, harder and sadder, although they give me satisfaction and awake the memories of the stories my parents told me of their youth in the troubled city of Cork.

Wed Jul 11 07:13:18 2018

Joe O'Laughlin writes from USA
Hi Cora,

Is it that the sea air brings nourishing moisture to the hilly pastures of the Upper Cantred - while lower Ireland withers in the rain shadow.. and fears the mega-drought?


Tue Jul 10 23:47:40 2018

Cora Harrison writes from Ireland
Lovely, sunny weather here. Makes such a change from the rain!

Mon Jun 25 02:18:34 2018

Scott writes from USA - California
Hello again Cora,
Thank you for your response- I am glad you are on the Burren road to recovery! It has been a while since I have participated in the Guestbook and just started the Verdict of the Court. I asked before reading as the image reminded me of so many great visits and now see Cormac referencing Bunratt!
I visualize so much when reading this series and I hope to stir that interest with some children of the family (get them away from the e-stuff a bit!). Maybe if I add some personal insights that will trigger curiosity. We'll see!
It's sunny here, I hope the same there!
All the best,

Sat Jun 23 16:09:05 2018

Cora Harrison writes from Ireland
Thank you, Debbie. I'm so pleased that you like My Lady Judge. And if you go on liking it there are another thirteen books for you to read!

Fri Jun 22 20:51:54 2018

Cora Harrison writes from Ireland
Sorry. Scott, I should have replied earlier. Everything seemed to go wrong this spring, but now everything us back to normal and I am feeling very much better, thank you.

And yes, of course, you are right. It is Bunratty. It was the property of Turlough Donn O'Brien, who was a real, historical personage - although I did invent Mara, Brehon if the Burren.

Fri Jun 22 20:47:49 2018

Debbie Clarke writes from Canada
I just recently discovered your Lady Judge books, they are so well written! All of your book descriptions sound fascinating, I look forward to reading them all, and eventually having everyone of your books on my overflowing bookshelves. I am also half through the reading of My Lady Judge; Caroline Lennon really brings that book to life.

Fri Jun 22 20:34:30 2018

Hi Cora,
I'm just noticing that you were ill earlier in the year, I hope the recovery has been positive.

All the best,

Tue Jun 19 17:59:57 2018

Scott writes from United States
Hi Cora,
It's been a while but I wanted to ask as I didn't see it posted, what castle is shown on the cover of Verdict of the Court? It looks so much like Bunratty, lighting and all.

Thank you,

Tue Jun 19 17:57:11 2018

Cora Harrison writes from Ireland
Thank you, Joe.

Lovely to hear from you again.

Thu May 31 19:58:46 2018

Joe O'Laughlin writes from USA
Hi Cora,

I salute your recovery from the lung problem !

AND managing to escape the hospital, alive.


Joe O

Thu May 31 19:50:50 2018

Cora Harrison writes from Ireland
Thank you, Shay.

Tue May 1 14:08:14 2018

Shay Hynes writes from Kilkee, Ireland
Hi Cora,
Thank you for the quick reply. I hope you have a speedy recovery. I will continue reading your books. Many thanks for your gifted writing.

Best regards,

Shay Hynes.

Tue May 1 12:29:36 2018

Cora Harrison writes from Ireland
That's extremely kind of you, Shay, and I do appreciate it.

However, I've had an extremely bad winter, health-wise, and am only shortly out of hospital having suffered a bout of pneumonia.I really don't feel up to what you propose.

If anyone wants to send me questions, though, I would be delighted to answer them.

With renewed thanks and very best wishes,

Mon Apr 30 18:42:18 2018

Shay Hynes writes from Kilkee, Clare, Ireland
Hi Cora,
I have thoroughly enjoyed several of the "Mara" books.
I am a member of the Kilkee Civic Trust which is a non-profit which promotes concerts, talks and the cultural heritage of the area. We have a series of talks each Wednesday night in Kilkee library. We are now selecting speakers for talks in July and August 2018. As a non-profit we cannot afford to pay our speakers. Would you be interested in giving a lecture of about 45 to 60 minutes followed by a Q&A session? If yes, I would be delighted to propose your name to the committee at our next meeting.

Best regards.
Shay Hynes
M: 087 279 7617

Mon Apr 30 17:14:34 2018

Cora Harrison writes from Ireland
Thank you, Dolores, for your heart-warming message.

I value it especially because you are from Clare in Ireland and I am frequently made to feel so embarrassed by American and English people visiting the Burren and bemused about the impossibility of buying the books, written about Ireland, and by an Irish author!

The answer from Easons, who control the supply of books even to independent bookshops, seems to be that there is no demand for them.

And so I am delighted to know that you enjoy them and really pleased to hear that libraries still supply my books for children.

Thank you so much for writing.

Mon Apr 23 13:48:56 2018

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