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McCadden’s first big test in the Irish Murder Squad – a 97-year-old woman strangled and grotesquely mutilated.

On the first day of the new Millennium the body of a 97-year-old woman is found strangled and mutilated in her ramshackle house in a remote seaside village in west Cork. The local police are inclined to pin it on a pair of travellers who have set up camp in the neighbourhood, after drug money.

McCadden, still new in his job on the all-Ireland murder squad, is not so sure. The viciousness of the attack seems to suggest something much deeper. What has this woman done in her 97 years to inspire such rage? The answer goes back almost to the beginning of the twentieth century …