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Irish Jack's Women [Kindle Edition]

Frank Lean
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (19 customer reviews)

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  • Length: 432 pages
  • Word Wise: Enabled
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Book Description

A fast paced murder mystery set in County Roscommon that gives an amazingly accurate picture of Ireland in 1847 during the worst years of the famine.
Handsome and roguish, 'Irish Jack' Spellman is a ganger on the railways whose leadership of his team of Irish navvies is essential for the completion of the West Coast Line from England to Scotland. On a visit to his home in Ireland, Jack is arrested for the murder of his landlord. A swift trial and execution seem likely until Grace Savage, a beautiful admirer throws herself on the mercy of Jack's boss, railway builder, Joseph Locke.
Locke is seduced by Grace into going to Ireland and using his influence to ensure that Jack receives a fair trial. Locke's infatuation with Jack's wife, Bridget, adds to his determination to free the accused man. Once in Ireland, the suffering caused by the famine and the lack of response to it by the British governmant appal Locke. He travels to the remote area in Roscommon where the landlord was killed to find out the facts for himself. Once there he has to confront his own prejudices against the Irish.
He finds that In Ireland nothing is quite what it seems. Hidden forces are working for a violent end to the Union with England. They do not welcome Locke's intervention even if it is to free an unjustly accused man. He also faces opposition from the propertied and legal establishment in Ireland.
As well as the famine and the suffering it causes the novel also addresses the difficulties of railway building over the roughest terrain in England, the rivalry between Joseph Locke and his competitors Robert Stephenson and Isambard Kingdon Brunel, and the mistaken nineteenth century theory that TYPHUS was spread by an invisible gas called MIASMA.
The author frames the narrative as a newly discovered memoir of Joseph Locke. In actuality there is a "lost" personal memoir by Joseph Locke possibly lost because it contains details of Locke's love life which his straight laced relatives thought were best forgotten.
Frank Lean has previously published seven novels about Manchester Private Eye, Dave Cunane, that are available on Amazon. Frank Lean's crime fiction has received critical acclaim and he was a runner up for the Golden Dagger award of the Crime Writers Association of Britain.

Product Description

About the Author

Frank Lean is the pen name of Frank Leneghan. Frank was inspired to write this story of the Irish Famine by listening to his grandmother talk about her parents and grandparents adventures in the famine era. Frank's previous published work has been in the area of crime fiction. He was nominated for the Golden Dagger of the Crime Writers Association for his novel The Reluctnat Investigator.

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 1332 KB
  • Print Length: 432 pages
  • Publisher: Vernon Press, Cheshire, England (22 Dec. 2013)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B005A5YOKC
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (19 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #132,702 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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More About the Author

Frank Lean is the pen name of an author specialising in crime novels with a North of England background. His 'Dave Cunane' series includes seven novels published by Random House one of which 'The Reluctant Investigator' was shortlisted for the Golden Dagger of the Crime Writers Association.

Frank has recently added an eighth self published title to the Dave Cunane series 'Kill Me If You Can' in which the intrepid investigator tackles the murder of his own uncle, a High Court judge, who was on the point of revealing a plot by people in high places to solve the 'problem' of terrorism by faking a dirty bomb plot which would provide an excuse to take harsh and undemocratic measures against the Muslim minority.

Frank has also produced and self published on KDP a historical novel 'Irish Jack's Women' based on crime and detection back in 1847, the worst year of the Irish potato famine. This features Joseph Locke, a real character who built many of Britain's major railways and fictional Irish Jack Spellman, an Irish contractor on whom the success of Locke's masterwork, the West Coast Line to Scotland through the Lake District depends. When Spellman is arrested for murder back in his native Ireland Locke must intervene.

Another crime story is 'Asking For It' in which a professor of forensic pathology, Dr Jack Preston, is lured into an act of revenge against the man who has killed his wife and son. Once Preston has successfully completed that crime he is subject to blackmail by an ambitious policeman who uses Jack Preston's skills to 'remove' various horrific criminals who are beyond the reach of the law.

Frank has also produced the 'Peter Scattergood' books for early secondary students. These draw on Frank's experience teaching in various secondary schools in the North West of England. The boy, Peter Scattergood, seems to be irredeemably bad and well on the way to a criminal career when he meets up with the Eidolon, an immaterial being who is determined that Peter will have quite a different future!

Another venture is a series of three 'improvisational plays' designed to be used for 'murder mystery' evenings and fundraisers in social groups.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Terrific period narrative but a too-complex plot 5 Jan. 2014
By RoyMcC
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
A very well produced work by an excellent writer. Yet somehow I finished it thinking of it as an opportunity almost lost within a too-complex plot.
Set mainly in the famine-ridden Ireland of 1847 the author paints a realistic and detailed picture of the country and its people. Joseph Locke, master railway engineer, is persuaded to travel to Ireland to attempt to save his erstwhile foreman John Spellman (Irish Jack )from the gallows. Self-interest (Locke's latest railway project hangs in the balance) and womanly wiles set him on his journey more than any particular sense of justice.
The grandeur of Dublin is soon replaced by the horrors of the potato famine. Whilst grain and cattle are loaded into ships at Dublin Port, the ordinary country people starve. The author paints a realistic picture of the disease, suffering and death of the populace as they are evicted from their poor scraps of land to try for emigration or to face certain death in the ditch or workhouse. It is moving stuff.
Meanwhile Locke encounters opposition to his merciful venture. Spellman will most likely be convicted by a Protestant jury. Whilst Locke seeks evidence that will save him it appears that his presence is unwelcome by many. Is this to save their own guilty skin perhaps? The Crown's representatives resent his interference, yet it seems he is also thwarting the plans for a popular rebellion that depends on Spellman hanging to light the fuse.
Ireland's affairs have always been complex but the author has no intention of simplifying things for us. Friends become enemies, informers become confidants. And at every turn Locke has women throwing themselves into bed with him, the only way it seems they think he will assist their particular cause.
I lost the threads I must confess.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic read. Highly recommended. 4 July 2011
Format:Kindle Edition
What a fantastic read. The combination of historic accuracy and literary nuances make this a compelling read. The context, plot and web of intrigue add considerable substance to a fascinating idea. Couldn't stop reading until I had got to the end. A must for holidays and long flights. Well done Frank. Loved it.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Feast And Famine 19 Nov. 2011
By Postie
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
A feast of historical intrigue set in the days of the Irish famine. I was 'tipped off' about this book by a source close to the author and it provided a beautifully set historical drama with great characterisation. It was easy to visualize the scenes of deprivation and desparation in Ireland at the time. A fascinating tale runs throughout with a number of twists and turns along the way (with a touch of both love and lust!). The author has clearly taken time and trouble to fully research the background setting which adds greatly to the overall enjoyment of this book. I strongly recommend that you give it a try, you will not be disappointed.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Excellent yarn 23 July 2014
By M. Hale
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I chose this book partly because its central character Joseph Locke was a local man still remembered in South Yorkshire. How much of this tale was based on fact beyond the building of the railway and the terrible effects of the Irish potato famine I am not entirely sure but it is a good story, albeit a cautionary one, of a man becoming embroiled in a matter of politics, murder & lustful dalliances rather unwisely. There was a good deal of humour to counter the seriousness of the dire straits of the Irish through hunger and disease as well as the bias of the establishment against the Catholic population. Well worth a read.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars great story 20 Aug. 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
A mixture of history and fiction you are learning whilst you read. The story of railway building intertwined with the horrors of the Irish famine,with a bit of suggestive sex for good measure. Not often do you come across such an entertaining and informative book. If you are interested in Irish history,Railways or just want a good read -try this.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Irish Jack's Women by Frank Lean 4 July 2011
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
A five-star story! Entertaining, informative and a great adventure.
Couldn't put this book down.
A new sort of detective story with an unusual historical background.
Any more in the pipeline?
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Irish Jack 11 Jun. 2013
By chrissy
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Found this to be a very interesting book, bit slow to start but couldn't put it down once i got into it.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Great Historical Detective Story 24 Jan. 2014
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I really enjoyed this dip into Irish history. The characters and story were gripping . Although the author`sympathies clearly lie with the suffering peasants he does not demonize the British. I enjoyed the plot and the interesting double twist at the end.
Well done and keep stories like this coming.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
2.0 out of 5 stars Two Stars
I didn't like it
Published 7 months ago by alan heath
4.0 out of 5 stars Intriguing tale from famine Ireland.
An enjoyable tale from famine struck Ireland. laced with very believable characters. The author uses his main subject well, as a moral go between in the differing views of Irish /... Read more
Published 7 months ago by john logue
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Currently reading good story line, enjoying
Published 8 months ago by kenneth m wallis
5.0 out of 5 stars I enjoy Irish history - and this opened up the genre ...
I enjoy Irish history - and this opened up the genre of Irish fiction. This is an excellent book, capturing the atmosphere and sheer hard times of the Irish poorer peoples. Read more
Published 8 months ago by Pony Moores
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Really great book would definitely recommend reading it.
Published 10 months ago by Celia Marks
4.0 out of 5 stars Irish jacks women
Enjoyed the book and as I have lived within ten mile of lock park Barnsley will now have to discover more about joseph lock
Published 14 months ago by Peter Doyle
3.0 out of 5 stars Who was Irish Jack
Very slow. Went a long way to tell a tale that just didn't come up to the mark for me.
Published 14 months ago by Annie p
5.0 out of 5 stars Irish Jack's women
Very well written, I didn't realise that Joseph Locke actually was a railway engineer. Descriptions of the sufferings of the Irish people are harrowing and difficult to read (but... Read more
Published 15 months ago by Littletich
5.0 out of 5 stars highly recomended
a well written plot interweving fact and fiction. Holds your intrest right to the end. Looking forward to reading more from jack lean
Published 17 months ago by Amazon Customer
3.0 out of 5 stars I enjoyed this book
This was not my 'usual' sort of book, but I enjoyed reading it and thought it was well written and the descriptions of the time the story took place were good.
Published 18 months ago by angela
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