Dublin City Council and Dublin UNESCO City of Literature are delighted to announce that The Coroner’s Daughter by Andrew Hughes is the One Dublin One Book choice for 2023, following on from Nora by Nuala O’Connor in 2022.
One Dublin One Book aims to encourage everyone in Dublin to read a designated book connected with the capital city during the month of April every year. This annual project is a Dublin City Council initiative, led by Dublin UNESCO City of Literature and Dublin City Libraries, which encourages reading for pleasure. The initiative is also funded by the Department of Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport and Media.
Dublin City Librarian, Mairead Owens, says “The Coroner’s Daughter is a story rooted in Dublin city of the early 19th Century with fascinating themes such as forensic science, religion, and the role of women in Ireland at the time. It is also an entertaining detective story, which I’m sure will engage the readers of Dublin and beyond. I’m looking forward to the discussions that will take place among readers next April.”
A new One Dublin One Book edition of The Coroner’s Daughter (Penguin-Transworld) will be available to borrow from all public libraries nationwide and to buy from all good book shops. There will be a programme of free events in April to accompany the reading initiative.
Andrew Hughes says “I’m so thrilled that The Coroner’s Daughter has been chosen for next year’s One Dublin One Book. The city has always been a huge source of inspiration, providing me with a setting and a cast of characters, and I love uncovering stories hidden in Dublin’s old houses. Although I’m from Wexford, I went to college here, have lived in Drumcondra for more than twenty years, and all of my extended family are Dubliners, so it’s a huge source of pride to have my book celebrated in this way. I sincerely hope readers enjoy following Abigail and her forensic investigations. I can’t wait for the events to begin next April.”
1816 was the year without a summer. A rare climatic event has brought frost to July, and a lingering fog casts a pall over Dublin – a city stirred by zealotry and civil unrest, torn between evangelical and rationalist dogma.
Amid the disquiet, a young nursemaid in a pious household conceals a pregnancy and then murders her newborn. Rumours swirl about the identity of the child’s father, but before an inquest can be held, the maid is found dead. When Abigail Lawless, the eighteen-year-old daughter of the city coroner, by chance discovers a message from the maid’s seducer, she is drawn into a world of hidden meanings and deceit.
An only child, Abigail has been raised amid the books and instruments of her father’s grim profession. Pushing against the restrictions society places on a girl her age, she pursues an increasingly dangerous investigation. As she leads us through dissection rooms and dead houses, gothic churches and elegant ballrooms, watching from the shadows is a sinister figure whom she believes has killed twice already, and is waiting to kill again . . .
Determined, resourceful and intuitive, and more than just a dutiful daughter or society débutante, Abigail Lawless emerges as a memorable young sleuth operating at the dawn of forensic science.
Born in Co. Wexford, Andrew Hughes was educated at Trinity College, Dublin. A qualified archivist, he worked for RTÉ before going freelance. It was while researching his social history of Fitzwilliam Square – Lives Less Ordinary: Dublin’s Fitzwilliam Square, 1798-1922 – that he came across the true story of John Delahunt, a Victorian murderer and Dublin Castle informer. His debut novel, The Convictions of John Delahunt, was shortlisted for the Bord Gáis Irish Crime Book of the Year. The Coroner’s Daughter, a tale of a young lady sleuth operating at the dawn of forensic science, was nominated for the CWA Historical Dagger. Andrew lives in Drumcondra, where he continues to work on archival and historical research projects, as well as Dublin-set crime fiction.
The Coroner’s Daughter is published by Transworld, a division of Penguin Random House.