The latest mystery from a two-time winner of the Arthur Ellis Award
Father Brennan Burke is struggling, and he’s been coping the only way he knows how: self-medicating with drink. He’s barely managing, but his troubles intensify when the body of one of his parishioners washes up on the coast of Halifax.
Meika Keller came to Canada after escaping past a checkpoint in the Berlin Wall. An army colonel is charged with her murder, and defence lawyer Monty argues that Meika’s death was a suicide, which is the last thing Father Burke wants to hear. Guilty of neglecting his duties as a priest when Meika needed him most, Brennan feels compelled to uncover whatever instigated her cry for help and led to her death.
The story takes us from the historic Navy town of Halifax, Nova Scotia, to the history-laden city of Berlin, as Brennan and his brother Terry head to Germany in search of answers. And while Brennan will stop at nothing to find what, or who, is responsible for Meika’s death, nothing could have prepared the priest for the events that unfold.
About the Collins-Burke Mysteries
This thrilling mystery series centers around two unlikely colleagues with very different pasts: Monty Collins, a sharp-tongued public defender who dabbles in solving mysteries himself, and Father Brennan Burke, an Irish Catholic priest who is well-read but with a “holier than thou” attitude that belies darker secrets. Set in locations around the world — including Nova Scotia, New York City, Saudi Arabia, the Arctic’s Ellesmere Island, and Dublin — the Collins-Burke Mysteries follow the pair on a harrowing series of fast-paced and nail-biting murder cases. Written by acclaimed author Anne Emery, the series starts with Sign of the Cross (2006) and continues to the most recent installment, Postmark Berlin (2020).
“And so, because you drank yourself senseless, you weren’t here for our parishioner Meika Keller. She came looking for you here at ten o’clock last night. Said you had agreed to see her. ”
What? What was he saying? Meika Keller? Had she been talking to Brennan recently? Yes, of course. It was just . . . when? Yesterday, wasn’t it? He tried to clear his head.
“What did she say to you?” the bishop asked now.
“Say to me? When?”
“For the love of God, Brennan, wise up here. What did she want to talk to you about?”
“I don’t …. ” It was coming back to him through the haze now. The woman had been chatting with him at Saint Mary’s University, where she was a professor and Brennan a part-time lecturer. As Meika was leaving the campus, she asked if she could come and speak with him. Could she meet him that night after a charity event of some kind that she had to attend. That would have been last night.
“What time is it?” Brennan asked now.
“It’s too late, Brennan. That’s what time it is. ”
“No, no, I’ll see her. Just let me . . . ”
“Was it a confession she asked for, Brennan? At least, tell me that. ”
He tried to reconstruct the conversation with Meika Keller. She was usually cheerful, witty, full of personality. She had always struck him as unflappable. Yesterday, though, her manner was different. There was something on her mind and it must have been serious, if she wanted to meet Father Burke at ten o’clock at night.
“I’m thinking yes, Dennis, she may have wanted to see me in the confessional. Well, I’ll track her down now and apologize and hear what she has to say. Maybe help put her mind at rest. ”
“No, you won’t, Brennan. ”
Something in Cronin’s manner gave Brennan a chill. “What is it, Dennis?”
“At seven thirty-five this morning, Meika Keller’s body washed up on the beach at Point Pleasant Park. ”