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Femme bookend: Dublin tale of double trouble

The Big Novel

Filmmaker Neil Jordan returns to his first trade -- writing -- with Mistaken, a kind of Irish Double Life of Veronique, about Kevin Thunder and Gerald Spain, so alike that they mistake themselves for each other.

One is a Belvedere boy, a shoplifter and general messer; the other lives in Dracula's house, once the home of Bram Stoker. As they grow up they feed on each other's lives until, in middle age, one is a geeky starveling, the other a fat and famous novelist.

And the writing? Very '60s, with that air of dreamy distance and dank Dublinness that was the trademark of the generation. It's lovely rich prose, with a desultory story that plaits in and out of the two lives, using the details of the city as sauce for the tiny chapters of perfectly formed story. If you'd like to spend some time with the bad fairies in doubling Dublin, dive right in.

The Chicklit

We are at the heart of Celtic Tigerland in Love is the Reason by Mary Malone.

Publisher Poolbeg is back on form with this crisply written chicky thriller about a house fire, the series of mysteries it reveals, and greed.

In New York, tasty Matt Ardle is riotously happy with his fragile girlfriend -- until she goes missing, and he can't find out why. In Crosshaven, Matt's parents' house goes up in smoke -- and the Garda suspect arson and a link to a Revenue scam.

Everyone has crooked secrets, everywhere there are streams of corruption undermining truth and honesty.

The story rackets on at a thundering pace, and is full of satisfyingly tangled ethical issues and horrid villains.

The Big Non-Fiction

"People on the board loved the culture within the bank, they would get presentations and go 'Jesus Christ'," says Seanie Fitz in The FitzPatrick Tapes (Tom Lyons and Brian Carey, Penguin).

People still say that -- especially while reading the horror/comedy hit, a series of interviews with former Anglo-Irish Bank chairman Sean FitzPatrick.

Read about Seanie's July 2008 golf outing in Druids Glen with Brian Cowen: "We didn't discuss the bank crisis." And the crash that started with the property market unravelling, continued on to Sean FitzPatrick's arrest and questioning, and culminated with -- well, there's the question. If you're already grinding your teeth with rage, don't read this book. It'll only upset you.

> lucille redmond