Cora Harrison

Cora Harrison

Mullaghmore mountain on the Burren, County Clare, Ireland

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Jennifer writes from Ireland
Dear Ms Harrison,
ongratulations on your two Celtic books. They are so enjoyable and the character of Mara is so lovable. I like particularly the way you describe the flowers and the vegetation of the Burren. Keep up the good work - looking forward to the next book.

Tue Jun 24 08:41:18 2008

Rita Davern writes from USA
Michaelmas Tribute is such a fine mystery. The book grabbed and held me the whole way.The ending completely took me by surprise.
When I gave it to my sister, she finished it in one day, loving every minute!

Thu Jun 19 17:00:34 2008

Cora Harrison writes from Ireland
Two lovely messages!
Thank you, Lesley and Patricia, for taking the trouble to write and tell me about your book clubs. It's so wonderful that my book has been enjoyed on both sides of the Irish Sea.

You queried the bit about St Patrick, Patricia. This is what is written in one of the law texts. Senchus Mór, in the sixth century.

The poet. Dubthach maccuu Lugair introduced the Brehon laws to St Patrick and Patrick accepted some but eliminated from them all elements that were contrary to Christian doctrine - as for instance the punishment for murder - a life for a life, according to the Christian doctrine.

Sat Jun 14 15:57:53 2008

Patricia Stephens writes from Ireland
Hi Cora,
I am a member of 2 book groups, I wrote to you recently where my first book group had read My Lady Judge. It was very successful so I introduced it to my second book group. I simply had to write and let you know the feedback. One of our rules is that we don't discuss the book until the meeting starts and we are all together. As some of us travelled by car to the venue they wouldn't stop talking about it. When I tried to silence them they told me "you can't quell enthusiasm". They absolutely loved it, all of them. One member said "it had all the ingredients, thriller, suspense, romance, and so well written, I loved it". Another used the word "fluid" to describe how the story flowed, this prompted a comment from another "If it were a material it would be silk". Another said your descritive passages were so vivid she was transported to the Burren and could smell the flowers". It's the first book we've done that there was unanimous agreement on, we all loved it. We rate our books out of 10. Of the six members, your book got 3 X 10, and 3 X 9. We gave it nine and a half. this is the highest any of the books has achieved, even beating the Book Thief.
I didn't mention before that I am a bookseller, hence my participation in 2 book groups. All of the members have ordered your second book Michaelmas Tribute from me, what can I say except keep writing great books.
We have one question for you. Did St. Patrick really try to change the Brehon Law to Roman Law?


Sat Jun 14 15:10:04 2008

Lesley writes from England
Hello Cora,

I promised to let you know how our book club received your book - they LOVED IT!! - every single one of them. We are a very mixed bunch of ladies - myself, lowly, hard working ......! a solicitor, a police officer, an artist, a housewife, a (french) pharmacist, a teacher of infants, a socal worker and vicar's wife, and a lady Judge. Our Judge was very interested when I announced my choice of book (yours) because she thought (correctly probably in England) that there were no lady judges at that time in history. All of us are mature ladies and it is most unusual for us all to be so enthusiastic about a book. We all wished the world was like your society, humanistic and caring.

Wed Jun 4 12:46:07 2008

Cora Harrison writes from Ireland
I'm like you, Marie, when I like one book by an author I can't wait to get my hands on the next one.
I first encountered the Ellis Peters' Brother Cadfael Series in the late nineties and once I had read one I loved it so much that I had to go on buying until I had all 20 of them. Lucikly she had finished her writing of the series by then - I think the early years were quite slow with a gap of a few years after the first book (I could just imagine publishers telling her that there was no demand for them) and then one book a year and then, after a few years, two books a year.

That was clever of you to get it from Amazon.

Tue Jun 3 19:56:19 2008

Marie writes from USA
For those who can't wait in the US, I purchased the Michaelmas Tribute via which will make my wait for the next book even longer but couldn't wait - I'm worse than a small child at Christmas when it comes to books - I want them NOW. Glad to hear there are more planned.

Tue Jun 3 19:03:47 2008

Cora Harrison writes from Ireland
I agree with you, Marianne. I'm sure that everyone knows what Michaelmas is(do you have Michaelmas Daisies in the States?) - but authors are in the hands of their publishers.

Book 3 - Sting of Justice - will be out in 2009, but I am hoping that the publishers will then agree with publish two a year. I think it would be much better as when someone reads one book, they usually want to read another. I will have the books ready and waiting, anyway.

Fri May 30 13:23:15 2008

Marianne writes from USA(FL)
I am tickled that you replied so quickly to my note :) Thank you. I love the title Michaelmas Tribute - my guess is "they" didnt think US audience would know what Michaelmas is? Shame on them - audiences are much more knowledgeable now with internet (And Harry Potter) and all. I will mark my calendar to remember to look for it in August. The other books outlined on this site then - they are also of this series, correct? are there 3-4 or just British and US title differences?

Wonderful photos of the burren - and you included them on the website.


Fri May 30 01:28:23 2008

Cora Harrison writes from Ireland
Dear Marianne,

I was particularly pleased to hear that you were caught up in the story immediately. I worried a bit in case it was too slow and not dramatic enough.

I plan that Mara’s own life, her life as professor to her scholars, and her problems, joys, successes, and love interest, continues throughout the stories, alongside her professional life as Brehon of the Burren where she will have to deal with any infringements of the law in that kingdom.

‘Michaelmas Tribute’ will be published in the USA in August, but under the name of ‘A Secret and Unlawful Killing’ – same book: different name.

Thanks for writing,

Thu May 29 19:18:30 2008

Marianne writes from USA (FL)
Having just finished MY LADY JUDGE, I came here to see when the next would be and am delighted to find that there are FOUR more books. I checked the Barnes & Noble site for your second, MICHAELMAS TRIBUTE and am very disappointed to find that it is not available in US as yet. So sad.

I was caught up in the story immediately! Learning of the ancient ways of law in Ireland is absorbing. Your characters are not only believable but ones you would like to meet. I hope you will keep the love interest but between the King and her old childhood friend ---hmmmm --- Also love the dogs :)

I have already emailed a pal who is as avid a reader as I am and planned to pass the word to many more.

I am looking forward to many more pleasurable hours reading your stories (even the children's)!


Thu May 29 00:55:50 2008

Cora Harrison writes from Ireland
Dear Prish,
I'm so delighted that you liked Michaelmas. I must say that I was rather pleased with it myself - the ending worked out well, I thought.
It's rather nice writing those books because it seems to be a sort of Golden Age for Ireland as contrasted with the sorrows and tragedies of the next few hundred ywars of futile rebellion.

Tue May 27 15:59:59 2008

Prish Hawkes writes from England
Dear Cora
I have just fininshed the Michaelmas Tribute, which I loved ; there is only one downside to finishing the book ..I now have to WAIT for ages until I can read the next installment of Mara's aventures and cases to solve!!! what will I do????
I would like to add that I think the ending is exellent , it is extremely dramatic and leaves you longing ( as above!) to know what happens next.!

Tue May 27 13:11:28 2008

Cora Harrison writes from Ireland
Dear Ms Judge,
That's really interesting about the surname 'Judge' and its relationship to the brehons. Of course, it does make sense that it would be translated into English if a descendent emigrated to America. There were a couple of famous law families in Sligo in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries: The Mac Egan family and the family of Dubhaltach Mc Firbhisigh, who attended the law school of Domhnall O'Davoren of Cahermacnaghten in the Burren.
Thank you for comparing my Mara to your daughter. I feel very complimented and wish Caroline the best of luck in her chosen career.

Mon May 26 13:05:14 2008

Susan Judge writes from USA
Dear Ms Harrison,

I am a Judge by marriage and have a daughter named Caroline who is so much like your heroine the Brehon of the Burren in "My Lady Judge "that I had to write to you. She has always been a life force and has had an unerring sense of justice since childhood; my husband and I feel strongly that she embodies the spirit of his Brehon ancestors. She graduated Magna from Harvard Law School and is doing great work as a lawyer fervently opposed to the death penalty), and your novel makes us even more interested in the Brehon tradition of law.
We traveled to Ireland several ears ago when our son graduated from medical school and went as far north as Sligo where we believe the Judge clan originated. My middle child Christi

Mon May 26 01:47:07 2008

Cora Harrison writes from Ireland
Thanks, Marie. I'm glad you liked Michaelmas.
The next book, which is now being copy-edited, is called 'Sting of Justice' - the following one is 'Writ in Stone' and I am halfway through number five - Eye of the Law'.

It would be nice if they came out more quickly, but I suppose that my publishers want to build up the fan list!

Thu May 22 10:10:30 2008


I just purchased Michaelmas Tribute and am loving it. It's going to be tough waiting another year to get the next installment - particularly in light of the ending of Tribute. Great job! Please keep them coming

Thu May 22 10:05:27 2008

Cora Harrison writes from Ireland
Dear Patricia,
I'm delighted to hear that your book club enjoyed MY LADY JUDGE and I hope that you like MICHAELMAS TRIBUTE as much.
I think that the point about buying yourself out of punishment is one that has interested a lot of readers. I feel that to answer that question you have to go back to the concept of the honour price: translating the Gaelic term literally, this is the 'the price of his face'. I think of the analogy of the English term 'to lose face'.
Any lord (and he would have to be a lord to pay the heavy fine without help from the clan) who continually committed murder would certainly lose face with his clan and this in turn might lead to him being deposed and perhaps declared an outlaw.
Hope this explanation hel

Fri May 2 18:24:39 2008

Patricia Stephens writes from Ireland
We've just finished reading My Lady Judge in our book group and it was a great success, one of the best books we've done. We found a lot to discuss, some discussion points from Panmacmillan website and some of our own.
Brehon Law is fascinating, it seems very logical and very fair. However, we have a question for you.
If a man can buy his way out of murder what's to stop a wealthy man from doing just as he pleases and commiting any crime he wants. ?

I just got your 2nd book Michelmas Tribute and can't wait to start it.

Fri May 2 17:37:08 2008

Cora Harrison writes from Ireland
Tim: Thanks for this - it's lovely that I have converted you to fiction. I hope that you like MICHAELMAS TRIBUTE as much - more about Mara's personal life in this!

Pat: I think that if govermments took on board something like Brehon law then the world might be a better place. Perhaps I'm being naive, but I think that a law which is community based might work better than the present system.

Johanna: That's an interesting question. I think what would happen to someone like this is that his clan would disown him and would refuse to help him to pay any further fines. He would then become a 'cu glas' a stray dog, and would lose all right to live in his own kingdom and be protected by its laws. He may well just end up as a slave.

Mon Apr 21 19:22:38 2008

Johanna writes from US
I loved your book '"My Lady Judge" and wanted to write and tell you. I thought that the characters were great and I
I was wondering what would happen to a serial murderer under Brehon Law.
Like Tim, I thought that Mara was a great character.
And Turloug was a sweetie. I hope they get together.
Keep writing, Cora. I love your books.

Mon Apr 21 18:15:25 2008

Pat McCabe writes from UK
Dear Cora,
I write to tell you very much I enjoyed My Lady Judge. My wife read it first and insisted that I read it and I am very glad that I did so. Like your other correspondents I found Brehon Law very interesting. I had never heard of it before, though my wife said there was something about it in the Ellis Peters books.
I must congratulate you on your website. We both loved the pictures and plan to visit the Burren some time.

Mon Apr 21 16:47:15 2008

Tim Dougall writes from U.K
My Dearest Cora,

I loved “My Lady Judge”.

I tend to prefer non fiction, i.e., enjoying books about history, crime and countries etc., however … you managed to combine all of these “likes” into one novel. You gained my immediate interest with the historical information and background to the times, the background and setting of the Burren and the comparison between the English/Irish legal systems, whilst providing such “real” characters.

Mara’s relationship with her students and Turlough showed great warmth and sensitivity, mixed with worldly wise knowledge and a touching sense of humour and intimacy.

I can only but thank you for a “ripping good yarn”!

Aye Yours
Tim (Dougall)

Fri Apr 18 12:26:52 2008

Cora Harrison writes from Ireland
Dear Prish,

It's great to hear that you liked MY LADY JUDGE and that you found the mystery element interesting.
I do hope you like MICHAELMAS TRIBUTE as well. Personally, I think that the mystery is better done in MICHAELMAS, but you'll have to let me know if you liked the ending to it.
Hopefully it will be in Waterstones - soon. I've now got my advance copy so it's definitely all printed and ready to go.

Thu Apr 17 16:59:09 2008

Prish Hawkes writes from England
Dear Cora
My Lady Judge was a terrific read ! Ienjoyed it very much ..the unfolding mystery and it 's conclusion, ...and the wonderful descriptive passages of writing.
I have preordered my copy of The Michaelmas Tribute at Waterstones ,and am looking forward to picking it very soon!

Thu Apr 17 14:35:33 2008

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