Who Took Eden Mulligan? By Sharon Dempsey
‘Who Took Eden Mulligan?’ is the latest book by Northern Ireland author, Sharon Dempsey.
‘They’re dead. They’re all dead. It’s my fault. I killed them.’ Those are the words of Iona Gardener, who stands bloodied and staring as she confesses to the murder of four people in a run-down cottage outside of Belfast. Outside the cottage, five old dolls are hanging from a tree. Inside the cottage, the words “WHO TOOK EDEN MULLIGAN?” are graffitied on the wall, connecting the murder scene with the famous cold case of Eden Mulligan, a mother-of-five who went missing during The Troubles. But this case is different. Right from the start. Because no one in the community is willing to tell the truth, and the only thing DI Danny Stowe and forensic psychologist Rose Lainey can be certain of is that Iona Gardener’s confession is false.
This is the first book that I’ve read by Sharon Dempsey and it will definitely not be the last.
The story is primarily seen through the perspective of old university friends Rose and Danny. Rose has returned to Belfast for her mother’s funeral, her first time back in years having not gotten on with her mother or her beliefs and Danny has just been given a massive new case. A young woman has claimed responsibility for the murder of 3 friends and attempted murder of another and the murder scene is referencing an old disappeared case when a young mum called Eden Mulligan disappeared one night. Detective Danny has asked psychologist Rose to help make sense of the case and solve it.
As a child growing up during ‘The Troubles’, I was well accustomed to the shootings, bombings and most famously the disappeared. The people who disappeared without a trace leaving their family in bewilderment hoping that the smallest bit of information will finally give them peace.
For me, Sharon Dempsey has written a relatable crime novel that I easily sank into. As a native of Northern Ireland, I loved the familiarity of the locations and the dialogue between the characters. She paints a picture perfectly of how bleak the city of Belfast once was during the Troubles and now thrives with new bars, shops and a new culture and no longer filled with bitterness, bullets and police Saracens vans filling the streets.
I loved in this book, there are 3 stories, the recent murder case, the Eden Mulligan as well as the relationship between Rose and Danny and how seamlessly they flowed from each story. Both Danny and Rose, have reached pinnacle points in their lives, Rose returning to Belfast to address old ghosts and Danny at the start of a divorce process. Being back with each other helps remind them of their youth, before complicated lives and are able to work together with ideas and theories.
The story flows at a good pace and is a really well researched book giving the reader an overview of the Troubles as well as an in-depth police procedural book. It does make for heavy reading in parts though, as the Mulligan family struggle to get justice for their mother, so many years after her disappearance and to know that these type of events happened on my doorstep does strike a chord.
A well crafted and documented story about broken families, grieving children and how the past is still prevalent now. ‘Who Took Eden Mulligan?’ is a fascinating insight into Northern Ireland and how it’s past can never be forgotten.
If this sounds like your type of book, it will be available from the Kindle Store from 18th February 2021 and will be available to buy from good bookshops from 19th August 2021.