The Lonesome Heart is Angry

Written by Paul Charles

Review written by Judith Sullivan

Judith Sullivan is a writer in Leeds, originally from Baltimore. She is working on a crime series set in Paris. Fluent in French, she’s pretty good with English and has conversational Italian and German. She is working to develop her Yorkshire speak.


The Lonesome Heart is Angry
New Island Books
RRP: £11.99 / £3.07
Released: April 30th, 2014
Pbk / Kindle

Enter into the life of small town Northern Ireland in the early 1960s where everyone knows everyone else therefore gossip is rife and relationships are simultaneously open and with hidden depths.    When the brothers Kane go to the matchmaker, Michael Gilmour in search of a wife things go in an unexpected direction.

Paul Charles is a Northern Irishman and he knows the stultifying nature of small town life and the warmth that it can also engender.  We are looking at matchmaker Michael Gilmour who inherited his avocation from his father and is beginning to realise that he will not be passing his profession on to his son.  This is an exciting time for the young as the Beatles produce their exciting music and change is in the air.  When the twin brothers, Pat and Joe Kane, visit the matchmaker he is faced with a situation that he has not had to deal with before.   The birth of a new world of popular music that presages enormous changes for the people here and elsewhere in the UK is cleverly handled as a counterpoint to  a way of life is also subject to major change.

In Castlemartin  everybody can observe their neighbours and any incident can be quickly developed into all sorts of exciting developments - the people of the town are happy to gossip and to expand on any event outside the normal pattern.   The family of Michael Gilmour and his wife, Dorothy, provide some subjects for gossip but others in the community give possibilities for more misinterpretation and ill-natured conjecture.  We are in an early 1960s world in a rather retired part of the British Isles where the way of life has been established over several generations. 

The mystery that people address concerns Dorothy's sister, Maggie, and her husband and their farm becomes a central point as the potato harvest is brought in by many volunteers.  The development of the mystery for Sherlock Holmes obsessed policeman, Inspector Foyle, passes through several layers of farce and banality to tragedy.

This is a tale with slow burning development, fascinating characters and a central mystery that builds and builds.  What starts gently ends very dramatically.

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