The Winter Guest: The perfect chilling, gripping mystery as the nights draw in
By (author): W. C. Ryan
A gripping mystery with a classic feel, for fans of Agatha Christie
'Haunting and exquisitely written. Part intricate mystery and part ghost story. This book will stay with me for a long time' Anna Mazzola
'A stunning book, beautifully written' Ann Cleeves
The drive leads past the gate house and through the trees towards the big house, visible through the winter-bared branches. Its windows stare down at Harkin and the sea beyond . . .
January 1921. Though the Great War is over, in Ireland a new, civil war is raging. The once-grand Kilcolgan House, a crumbling bastion shrouded in sea-mist, lies half empty and filled with ghosts - both real and imagined - the Prendevilles, the noble family within, co-existing only as the balance of their secrets is kept.
Then, when an IRA ambush goes terribly wrong, Maud Prendeville, eldest daughter of Lord Kilcolgan, is killed, leaving the family reeling. Yet the IRA column insist they left her alive, that someone else must have been responsible for her terrible fate. Captain Tom Harkin, an IRA intelligence officer and Maud's former fiancé, is sent to investigate, becoming an unwelcome guest in this strange, gloomy household.
Working undercover, Harkin must delve into the house's secrets - and discover where, in this fractured, embattled town, each family member's allegiances truly lie. But Harkin too is haunted by the ghosts of the past and by his terrible experiences on the battlefields. Can he find out the truth about Maud's death before the past - and his strange, unnerving surroundings - overwhelm him?
A haunting, atmospheric mystery set against the raw Irish landscape in a country divided, The Winter Guest is the perfect chilling read.
Praise for THE WINTER GUEST and W.C. Ryan
'A snowflake of a novel: intricate, exquisite, and unlike any other. If Sebastian Faulks and Laura Purcell were to join forces, they might produce a novel like this... yet I can't imagine anyone but WC Ryan shaping it with such imagination, or charging it with such intelligence, or gracing it with such heart' A.J. Finn, author of The Woman in the Window
'Haunting, gripping . . . hugely evocative' Elodie Harper
'Works superbly on several levels. This is a most welcome winter guest indeed, to be greeted by the fire with drink in hand' Irish Times
'Ryan evokes this moody, gothic atmosphere with convincing skill. Harkin is a sensitive, complex character and his quest to solve the mystery is deftly plotted. A treat' The Times
'A perfectly crafted mystery. Vivid, compelling and deeply moving, it is a triumph both as a crime novel and a work of historical fiction' Jane Casey
'A beautifully taut and evocative thriller' Sarah Hilary
'Superb . . . I could not put it down' Elizabeth Buchan
'Atmospheric and genuinely eerie, this is an ideal winter read' Sinead Crowley
'A terrifically atmospheric, gripping novel' Amanda Craig, The Golden Rule
'Haunting, beautifully crafted, and full of heart. Perfect reading for dark days' A.K. Benedict, author of The Christmas Murder Game
'Beautifully written, haunting and unmissable' Cass Green
'Excellent murder mystery/ghost story set during the Irish war of independence and as usual with W.C. Ryan, beautifully written' Liz Nugent
'Intriguing, haunting, romantic and beautifully written, I cared as much about the fate of the characters as about the gripping mystery' Laura Marshall
*longlisted for the CWA Gold Dagger award 2023: 22/04/23 (https://thecwa.co.uk/awards-and-competitions/the-daggers/gold-dagger)