I have read all the books in this series and enjoyed them all, including this one. This one was just not as enjoyable. This installment has too many depressing stories in it. From the Troubles, to Dr. Laverty's fertility issues, to Donal's fire, to Bertie's cancer scare, it's just too much. I understand the author's contrast between the "pull together" residents of Ballybucklebow and the broader conflicts of Northern Ireland, but that's not why we are here. Fingal is a kindhearted bull of a man, Kinky is sweet and funny like Aunt Bee in Mayberry, Donal is bumbling comic relief, and Laverty is the young educated new-comer learning life's lessons from the lives of the locals. We buy the books for an annual visit with those characters. I understand and appreciate Patrick Taylor's efforts to address the issues of the time, and he even recognizes and addresses the new direction this volume takes in his introduction. It's a mistake though. The "Irish Country" series is an escape to a place that no longer exists, if it ever did. We don't want the intrusions of real life here. We can find those elsewhere. The author had founded a delightful, funny, safe, little community., which was wonderful to visit once a year or so. It doesn't need to change or grow. Keep it as it is. The charm of the series will be lost if it heads off into this 'real life' direction.