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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Murder, coverup, lies, skullduggery, brutality, corruption: how some pillars of society spent Christmas day in 1930.,
This review is from: The Missing Postman: What Really Happened to Larry Griffin? (Paperback)There have been many books written in Ireland recently which lie in the genre of corruption/investigation of recent events. When Fatchna O Drisceoil published his book on such a subject, about an event which occurred 80 years ago in rural Ireland, I wondered would the historic nature of the event make the subject less interesting or immediate. What I found as I read the account was the opposite: O Drisceoil cleverly uses the passage of time to his advantage by presenting a brutally open and detailed account of the murder and shocking subsequent corrupt coverup which followed. Due to the passage of time, he is able to delve deep into Garda archives, which include the written notes of Gardai surrounding the scandal, from the local seargent who initially dealt with the case, all the way up to the commissioner, who became crucially involved as the case spiralled spectacularly out of control.
The Garda commissioner in question is Ireland's first: General O Duffy, and herein lies a sub-theme to the book, which is a fascinating insight into the characters who ruled the nascent Irish state.
It is 1930 and the Irish State is not yet 10 years old; the IRA is active across the country and the Gardai are a relatively new and inexperienced force. The Free State government are in power. Fianna Fail are about to emerge upon the irish political scene to begin a reign of power unparalleled in the western world to this day. The Catholic church rule with an iron fist. The landscape of rural Ireland is dominated by the pillars of society: the church, the school teacher, the Gardai. Members of these pillar institutions converge in a pub, illegally, on a Christmas day and are embroiled in a web of deceit and corruption surrounding a horrific murder that will shake the foundations of these institutions.
The local postman, Larry Griffin disappeared on Christmas day, and has never been found since.
Thus follows a murder mystery which O Drisceoil tells quite cleverly.
The story escalates with each chapter, in such a shocking tissue of lies and retractions, that one is left wondering if anyone in the village has told the complete truth about the event, either due to malicious disruption, or over-zealous alignment with one side or the other. The church becomes entangled in the contraversy, as the issue is mentioned in sermons, not obliquely, but as a direction to some congregations to shut up about the event.
Gardai are deeply implicated, and are known to have pressurised witnesses to change their accounts.
The local school becomes embroiled, as the local school master was suspected of being in the pub when the murder occurred. Every institution of irish society seems to be entangled in the story, and none emerges favourably.
In the latter case of the school teacher, O Drisceoil's willingness to mine the archives again yields interesting dividends to the story. On the surface, the local schoolmaster is presented (mostly by his own account and letters) as a learned character, above reproach, who has the singular status of owning the only car in the village (which is crucial to the story). However, O'Drisceoil's research in the Department of Education paints a different picture: of a man who is on the verge of being fired due to damning inspection reports, and repeated exam failures.
This book is entertaining; the pace of the story mounts as the subject matter escalates from a local, minor disppearance, until it ultimately unravels into a full scale, national disgrace which smears the every institution of the new Free State. The book is colourful: O Drisceoil avoids presenting a mere dry account of the facts, and prefers to offer hints at his own opinion on characters and events as they develop, while remaining impartial. Overall, it is a fascinating insight into 1930s Ireland, which features corruption, deceit, and the stunning failure of Irish institutions to serve or protect the people. Sound familiar?
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars THE MISSING POSTMAN,
This review is from: The Missing Postman: What Really Happened to Larry Griffin? (Paperback)bought this book as i am interested in true, real-life events, particularly Irish ones, and this was recommended by Amazon based on previous purchases.
from the outset, it is a gripping portrayal and shows Irishness at its most pedantic. all through the book, the author comments that they cannot believe information was continually supressed and you feel that way too, and kind of sympathise with the victim and his family. it is kind of sad that even today the villagers do not like to speak of the incident. but, hey, that's the irish for you!
(as a matter of interest, i looked on daft.ie to see if any houses in the immediate area were for sale, purely to see how they differed from the photographs in the book and to see if i could recognise any of them, and the first property shown was the actual public house where the incident (allegedly) happened!)
5.0 out of 5 stars The missing postman,
This review is from: The Missing Postman: What Really Happened to Larry Griffin? (Paperback)Sad but true story, would this silence happen today in Ireland i dont think so .Poor man and his family not knowing what happened to him .Dectective knowledge would not allow this to go away like it did then ,well written .
5.0 out of 5 stars The missing postman,
This review is from: Missing Postman: What Happened to Larry Griffin? (Kindle Edition)Having been born of Irish parents in the early fifties,and my mother being from the Waterford area,I was intrigued with this story and it,s background.
Most of my childhood holidays were spent on the beach in and around the area described in this book.I now have a family of my own,and have taken my children back there to holiday,where I had so many happy times as a child.
Yet up till now and after reading this book,I had never heard of this sad story,which I guess is not surprising as the veil of secrecy surrounding this case and those involved,civilians and police,seems to have been overwhelming.
The author has done a sterling job in trying to unravel what is a huge mystery in that particular village,and has in his own way tried to find a conclusion to this sad tale.
5.0 out of 5 stars Amazing and Sad Story,
This review is from: Missing Postman: What Happened to Larry Griffin? (Kindle Edition)What a terribly sad story which shows the people of the local area in Ireland in a very negative way. It is unbelievable that, rather than try to help Larry Griffin, they all covered up his death, ultimately to save their own skins. Appalling.
4.0 out of 5 stars Great book to see published,
This review is from: The Missing Postman: What Really Happened to Larry Griffin? (Paperback)We all heard about this story at school and now it is great to see a forensic investigation into the mystery published. A very compelling account of what remains one of Ireland's great unsolved mysteries. The book also provides a great insight into the recently independent, impoverished Ireland of the times.
5.0 out of 5 stars literary review,
This review is from: The Missing Postman: What Really Happened to Larry Griffin? (Paperback)This is a well written, well researched book about a true happening. Sadly it refleects the power some can have within their own community, the cruelty of man and what he can do to his neighbour. Although the event happened one hundred years ago, could such a thing happen today in our our own personal life? Are we too, willing to hide from the truth, is there something in our life where we won't face reality? This book is an enthralling, compulsive read. Enjoy, be prepared to learn and to change.
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The Missing Postman: What Really Happened to Larry Griffin? by Fachtna O Drisceoil (Paperback - 5 April 2011)