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Thursday 14 December 2017

New thriller features one of Maeve's final chapters

Irish literary legend Maeve Binchy was honoured at the launch of the last book she contributed to last night.

Senator Feargal Quinn, who knew Maeve since the 1960s, was on hand to launch the collaborative novel at the Royal Irish Academy.

Sister Carravagio tells the tale of a small abbey in Kildare that is home to a small Caravaggio painting.

One night, the painting disappears and the Mother Superior refuses to cooperate with police.

As the nun tries to track down the precious painting, the list of suspects and the body count multiplies.

It is an unusual book in that each of the seven chapters is written by a different author. However, readers will have a mystery on their hands as they won't know who wrote each chapter.

The book was devised and edited by writer Peter Cunningham who fondly remembered his friend.

"She was so supportive about this book and she happily agreed to contribute a chapter to it," he said.

"Tonight is tinged with sadness that she can't be here but she did get to read the first draft of the book and she laughed so much at it," he continued.

Famous

Peter also told of how Maeve wasn't afraid to use her famous name every once in a while.

"One Christmas time, at the height of the boom, she forgot to book a table at Shelbourne Park races for all our literary friends," he recalled.

"I knew she wasn't going to be able to get a table at a few days notice but she pulled it off.

"Eventually she told me how she managed to snag a table. 'I rang Bertie Ahern,' she said."

Fellow writer Peter Sheridan, brother of director Jim, also shared memories of his late friend and colleague.

"Maeve was devoid of ego. She was humble, humorous and self-effacing and she put that in her writing which is why she was so successful," he said.

"This book is a lovely way to remember her and I'm so glad that she was a part of it.

"It's so unusual that writers get to work on something together.

"Compiling this book was like joining a sports team," Peter added.

"I'm so glad that we got do it with her."

hnews@herald.ie

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