Katie Maguire lives in Cork where all these crimes take place. Cork is a university city in south-west Ireland, in the province of Munster, which had a population of 125,622 in 2016.The city is situated on the River Lee which splits into two channels at the western end and divides the city centre into islands.
Katie lives in Cobh. Cobh known from 1849 until 1920 as Queenstown, is a tourist seaport town on the south coast of County Cork, Ireland. Cobh is on the south side of Great Island in Cork Harbour and is home to Ireland’s only dedicated cruise terminal. Tourism in the area draws on the maritime and emigration legacy of the town – including its association with the RMS Titanic, which was built in Belfast.
Katie is a superintendent in the garda. An Garda Síochána (Irish pronunciation: [ən ˈɡaːrd̪ə ˈʃiːxaːn̪ˠə]; meaning “the Guardian of the Peace”), more commonly referred to as the Gardaí ) or “the Guards”, is the police force of the Republic of Ireland. The service is headed by the Garda Commissioner who is appointed by the Irish Government. Its headquarters are in Dublin’s Phoenix Park.
The novel starts at a wedding ceilidh. A cèilidh (is a traditional Scottish or Irish social gathering. In its most basic form, it simply means a social visit. In contemporary usage, it usually involves playing Gaelic folk music and dancing, either at a house party or a larger concert at a social hall or other community gathering place.
The ceilidh takes place at Montenotte Hotel in Cork.
The band who commits all these crimes call themselves the High Kings of Erin. The High Kings of Ireland were sometimes historical and sometimes legendary figures who had, or who are claimed to have had, lordship over the whole of Ireland. Medieval and early modern Irish literature portrays an almost unbroken sequence of High Kings, ruling from the Hill of Tara over a hierarchy of lesser kings, stretching back thousands of years. Modern historians believe this scheme is artificial, constructed in the 8th century from the various genealogical traditions of politically powerful groups, and intended to justify the current status of those groups by projecting it back into the remote past.
One of the kings mentioned is Congal Cáech. Congal Cáech (also Congal Cláen) was a king of the Cruthin of Dál nAraidi in the medieval Irish province of Ulaid, from around 626 to 637. He was king of Ulaid from 627–637 and, according to some sources, High King of Ireland. The Irish king, Congal Cáech, was deposed after being blinded by a bee.
The reason why the gang cuts off Pat’s nipples is found in the history of the kings as well. Among certain Keltic tribes, a warrior swearing allegiance to his chief, or king, would take the lord’s nipple in his mouth before witnesses. This tender, intimate act clearly demonstrates both the warrior’s dependence on his chief, and the chief’s responsibility towards his warriors: the responsibility to care for and support them. Cutting the nipples would have made him incapable of kingship in this world or the next.
The kidnapping from the band is based on the case of Kevin McGeever, who faked his own abduction. He told police he had been abducted and held captive for a ransom, and was starved and threatened with death during his period of captivity. Rumours emerged that the IRA or the Russian mafia could be involved. However, the police arrested McGeever for wasting police time and making false allegations. He eventually admitted his lies before being released from police custody.
There is a mention in the novel to Bridget Cleary, who was the last-ever witch burnt to death in Ireland. Bridget Cleary was an Irish woman killed by her husband in 1895. Her death is notable for several peculiarities: the stated motive for the crime was her husband’s belief that she had been abducted by fairies with a changeling left in her place; he claimed to have slain only the changeling. The gruesome nature of the case — she was either immolated while still alive or set on fire immediately following her death — prompted extensive press coverage. The trial was closely followed by newspapers in both Ireland and Britain.
Katie goes to Limerick to talk to Gary Cannon and Jilleen who tell them about Molloy paying to have one man killed. Limerick is a city in County Limerick, Ireland. It is located in the Mid-West Region and is also part of the province of Munster. The city lies on the River Shannon, with the historic core of the city located on King’s Island, which is bounded by the Shannon and the Abbey River.