Thursday, 22 August 2013

Brid Wade: Watchers, A Matt Costello Mystery

Please help me welcome Brid Wade to Heart of Fiction.

Brid is a true-blue Dub with a love of music and literature. Brid has had an interesting life. She and her sisters had a successful singing group called The Honeybees but when love called, Brid found herself in Manchester England raising a family and experimenting with paints. She joined the local craft guild and was in charge of their annual holiday crafts fair. This led Brid down a new path in her life, working in the exhibition industry. Back in Ireland, she continued to paint as well as write. It was when she moved to Kilkenny City in the heart of Ireland that her literary creativity blossomed, and Matt Costello was born.

Do you love Ireland? Do you love mysteries? Do you love Irish mysteries? You all will want to sit up for this.

Ireland is in need of a great private detective. A hard hitting, takes-no-guff guy who will get the job done. A guy not afraid to ask the tough questions and get the answers. A guy who will go the extra mile to solve a case. And a guy, for as tough as he is on the outside, has a tender side when it comes to those he loves.

Ladies and gentlemen, I give you ex-police detective turned private detective, Matt Costello.

In Brid's first book in the Matt Costello Mystery series, Watchers, Matt is called to Kilbeg Village, just twelve miles from Kilkenny City, Ireland, where a body has been discovered in Drohola Woods behind an old estate house. But this is no common crime scene, as Matt soon discovers. During enquiries, the body of the estate's gamekeeper is found strung up in a tree? Suicide or another murder? What do the two bodies have in common? Matt is determined to get to the bottom of it

This story has lots of twists and turns as the action takes you from page to page. For anyone with a love of Ireland and a taste for great crime fiction, Watchers is one to try.

Brid is a very active woman and sometimes hard to pin down, but we managed to grab a few moments with her.

Welcome, Brid, and congratulations on the release of the first Matt Costello story, Watchers. I understand there are now five books in the series, Sleeping Dogs being book two and out in 2014. Sounds like you're writing continually. Do you set a daily routine for writing, or grab a few words as you have time?

I’m driven by the mood but the plot of my latest novel is always going around in my head – as though I’m automatically selecting and filing things I will include – or reject – in the next session. I find it productive to rest the work after a busy writing day or two, because, when I go back, if it doesn’t knit easily into what’s gone before, I know a change is needed. Often my writing burst will extend well into the night and, not infrequently, I go to bed only after the dawn has arrived, I’ve eaten breakfast and am sure I will actually sleep. I assume this is down to adrenalin. It can be inconvenient, but that’s the way it is. My time is totally my own. On the days I’m forced to slot in to normal life, I’m not such a happy bunny.

It sounds like a bit of both then? You find the time to write and when you do you stay with it until you've exhausted yourself and the writing session.

Do you have a special place where you like to write?
Either my living room (photo if your interested) or propped up in bed.  The living room is huge and airy with my computer lodged in one corner beside a wall of windows, which overlook a courtyard.  It’s quiet with only the sound of passing traffic beyond the gate.

Sounds like an ideal spot at the window -- watching people pass by, wondering who they are and where they're going, what mischief they're up to! If they only knew you could be putting them in a book!

What do you enjoy doing when you're not writing?

I used to paint, a lot, but I’m a bit lazy about it these days. Because I’ve been doing it for so long, a finished painting isn’t the achievement it used to be and, if it goes wrong, well, so much for all those years of experience. No excuses. Otherwise, I’m an avid TV watcher. I jump for joy when a good new crime drama begins. There are so many repeats of all programmes – not just dramas – it’s hard to find anything watchable so I trawl the programme lists and record well ahead of broadcast. I’m a fan of period drama and a bit of a film buff. My brain is just a sponge for information so Discovery and National Geographic hold great interest. The news is a necessary evil, as are newspapers. I will never understand man’s inhumanity to man.

I would have been shocked if you hadn't listed some crime programs on your TV programming list. There are so many good ones out there these days. And you can't beat Discovery or NatGeo!

Thanks again, Brid, for joining us here today. And best of luck with your book.

Now, let's check out that excerpt --

• • •

When the remains of a woman are found in Drohola Woods, ex-Garda detective, Matt Costello, is called in by the estate owner to help with the investigation. Clues lead Matt down a twisting path to a more gruesome discovery -- the woman is one of ten who disappeared ten years ago. And now, fresh bodies are turning up.

A quaintly rural town — little more than a wide main street flanked by stone cottages and sagging two-storey buildings — Kilbeg was a hive of activity. Situated twelve miles from Kilkenny, it was home to a peaceful, contented community, most of whom still preferred to listen to local radio than tune into the Godless outpourings from commercial stations. Today they went about their business with increasing curiosity about the influx of police and media to the town.

The grapevine had been busy, and the consensus held that whatever had happened in Drohola Wood had its origins way beyond the boundaries of their town. Amid the invasion of cars and trucks, a dusty black Mercedes drew little attention as it drove slowly along the main street and parked outside the only hotel. A moment later, the driver emerged, opened the back door and retrieved an overnight bag, which he hitched over his shoulder as he mounted the steps and entered the Kilbeg Arms to meet with Sgt. Peter Conlon from Thomastown Garda Station.

“Matt!” The waiting Sergeant greeted him with a smile, extending a hand in welcome as he approached the reception desk. He wore the full navy uniform of the Force, with his peaked hat tucked under his arm. “It’s been a while. How are you?”

“Pullin’ the divil like everyone else,” Matt returned with a smile and a vigorous handshake, dropping the leather valise to the ground beside him. “It’s good to see you. I appreciate you taking the time to meet me.”

“I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to see how the last Casanova is holding up after all these years,” he said jokily. “You broke a few hearts down here, you know.”

“Not intentionally,” Matt returned. “I was young and innocent back then.”

“Young, maybe. Innocent, never!” Pete countered. “What’s your involvement here?” His eyes narrowed and a frown of curiosity gathered.

“My client, a Dublin solicitor, represents the estate owners,” he explained. “They’re worried about possible legal implications surrounding the discovery. That’s the official line. Truthfully, I know nothing more than what the news bulletins are giving out. Can you fill me in?”

The Sergeant considered the man before him: an ex-Garda detective, former work colleague and friend, but there was a policy of silence, as always, in developing cases. “You know the drill as well as I do, Matt,” he told him.

“Yes, I do,” Matt replied with a smile, “and I also know you’ll be sharing the best bits over a dram with your favourite innkeeper tonight. So come on, Pete, give.”

Glancing warily around him, the Sergeant moved closer and lowered his voice. “There’s not much to add to the official reports,” he said. “This Butler kid went missing yesterday evening. A couple of his friends had been with him in the late afternoon after school, but when they left to go home, young Butler decided he wanted to stay. He does it often, but when he didn’t turn up by eight o’clock his grandmother got worried and called us. We spoke to the gamekeeper — an old gent called Fowler — who told us that the last he’d seen of the boy was when he shouted to him and he took off into a section of the woods that’s a private part of the estate. He decided to leave him to find his way out rather than go after him, because he knew the lad was already frightened and he had little hope of catching him. We gathered a search party and went looking.

“Honestly, Matt,” he went on, “without lights in there you wouldn’t be able to see a hand in front of your face. We didn’t locate him until after ten and it was by pure chance. It looked like he’d tripped and fallen into a hole. He was out for the count and when we lifted him, we spotted bones. It turned out to be a sunken grave. An ambulance took him to hospital to be checked out. Other than a few scratches and bruises, he seems to be alright, but they’re keeping him under observation for a few days.”

“Any idea how old the grave is?” Matt asked.

“Forensics think somewhere around twelve to fifteen years, but it’s an early estimate. They’re still in there gathering evidence.”

“Male or female?”

“Female — young, somewhere between eighteen and thirty.”

Matt shook his head in sadness and sighed. “Any missing persons on your books that might fit?” 

“Sorry, that’s as much as I can tell you,” the Sergeant said firmly.

“Thanks, Pete,” he replied acceptingly. “I owe you one."

• • •

Born in Dublin, Ireland, Brid’s family hails from the inner city, making her a true blue ‘Dub’. One of four sisters, she was educated by the Holy Faith Nuns in Larkhill. Always drawn to the arts, Brid studied piano at the Municipal School of Music. Later she joined a band where she played the electronic organ and sang harmony with her sister. They were known as The Honeybees.

At nineteen, she met her future husband and travelled to Manchester for a year before returning to Ireland where they married and she settled down to become a stay-at-home mum to their three children. At that time she learned to paint, which led to her joining The North Dublin Craftworkers’ Association, on whose behalf she ran the annual Christmas Craft Gift Fair in the city centre. This led to a new career within the exhibition industry.

In 2001, seeking a change of environment, Brid moved to Kilkenny City and began to write. An avid armchair detective, she chose her favourite genre; crime fiction. Her aim was to create a character in a series of mystery stories based in modern Ireland. Matt Costello is that character. In 2006, she relocated to Inistioge, a picturesque village outside Kilkenny City, where she continues to write and paint.
Find Brid Online --

The Street Gallery
Tirgearr Publishing

-- > Brid is giving away a copy of Watchers to one lucky commenter. Leave her a question or comment here with your email address to be automatically in the draw.

Or you can grab a copy of Watchers now for just $4.49 through Tirgearr Publishing.


  1. Welcome to Heart of Fiction, Brid! Congratulations on the launch of your new series, Matt Costello Mysteries.

    Can you tell readers where you got the idea for this story?

  2. LIke any armchair detective, I'm driven to try to solve crimes as they are presented. Watchers reflect a theory I have about one particular unsolved crime in Ireland and, though the circumstances are completely different, it represents what I believe happened. I just hope I live long enough to see this particular mystery solved and the killer/s caught.

  3. Cool. You're Ireland own Cold Case detective :-)

    Do you have a favorite scene in Watchers? If so, which one was it, and why?

  4. I have a few but it's difficult to mention them without giving the plot away. I enjoyed writing about the poacher, Seamus Fllynn and his son, Paddy - particularly Seamus who, without a hint of remorse, grabs everything that's going, yet defers to his maker at the drop of a hat.

  5. Looks like an intriguing mystery. I like the small town setting. Hope your novel is well received.

  6. Ireland is full of small towns and I'd lay odds that all of them have their secrets. Thank you for your good wishes, Annette.

  7. Yeah, do horrible things then do it in god's name and without feeling bad about it.

    About towns having secrets -- very true for Ireland, I'm sure, since it's such an old country. Lots of history.

  8. Oh, yes. And they're closely guarded. You'll know you've hit a nerve when the conversation suddenly dies and, try as you might, you won't get a whistle out of anyone - until something surfaces that might cause trouble to land where it shouldn't.

  9. And it's worse if you're a blow-in. Worse than an Irish blow-in to a new region is an American blow-in ;-)

  10. Really? I thought that was a trait peculiar to the Irish. Hmmm. You live and learn.

  11. It's definitely Irish. But some places can be so insular that they won't readily chat with another Irish person if they're not from the locale. And worse, if they're not Irish at all. We lived in a town like that for ten years. Yuck!

  12. I've had that experience and it's not pleasant. I'm the type who launches into conversation with anyone on any subject. I've come up against quite a few stony faces in my time. I recall attempting to chat with a lady in a supermarket one day - as you do. She turned to me, looked me from the ground up and down again before promptly walking away. If I were younger and less hardened by life, I would have felt embarrassed. As it was, I broke into laughter - thanking my lucky stars that I don't see the world through her eyes.

  13. Good grief! Just after we moved into our house in Macroom years ago, I went into the local bakery with mom while she was over for a visit. She wanted a traditional loaf of Irish brown bread, and I knew they sold it at the cafe across the road and I liked it. We waited to be served, as there was a chinwag between the woman behind the counter and the woman in front of us. While waiting, another couple ladies walked in. Locals. When it was our turn, we chatted with the shop lady about buying some of her bread, as we'd had it at the cafe and liked it and wanted to take some home with us. She said it wouldn't be fresh by the time we got home (Americans, remember, and she assumed we were flying it to the US). When I told her we just moved to the town, she dropped the loaf back in the rack and went to serve the women behind us. We weren't tourists anymore but blow-ins and apparently unwanted. Forget that I was giving her my money! When I picked up the loaf to put it on the counter to buy, she put her back to me. My mother was SO embarrassed. I got angry and was going to give the woman a piece of my mind but mother was near to tears from the experience. Welcome to the neighborhood.

  14. That's a horrendous story. What annoys me most about these people is that they, like criminals, are in the minority, thank God, but they do so much damage. Someone posted a notice on fb recently that said 'be kind to people who are unkind because they need it'. Personally, I say, give them a wide berth and leave them to their misery. I hope your mum wasn't forever put off the country.

  15. So sorry I missed this post earlier. Good luck with your book1