Paula Maguire series


Paula Maguire is a forensic psychologist who was born in a border town in Northern Ireland. When she was thirteen her mother disappeared. No trace of her has ever been found. Paula moved to London as soon as she could, until a case draws her back and she finds she can't leave again. The series features the work of the MPRU - the missing persons response unit, a specialist team devoted to old and new missing persons cases. 


DI Guy Brooking 


Seconded from London to the MPRU, Guy is trying to get away from the death of his ten-year-old son. When the books start Guy is forty, has a teenage daughter and is married (very rockily) to Tess. He's tough, fair, follows the rules, and can't understand the strange ways of Northern Ireland. A natural leader. 


Dr Paula Maguire


Aged thirty when the books start, Paula returns to her hometown to help the MPRU with a case. She's stubborn, a loner, and can be hot-tempered. She desperately wants to find out what happened to her mother, who disappeared when Paula was thirteen. Paula is caught in a love triangle between her boss, Guy, and her old boyfriend, Aidan. 


Aidan O'Hara


Editor of the local paper, The Ballyterrin Gazette, Aidan cares about the story above all. He struggles with drink after the death of his father when he was just seven - shot in the offices of the paper while Aidan watched. He clashes with Paula often but they can't keep away from each other. Aidan is thirty-one when the books start.  

Other characters

The series features a host of recurring characters - as well as a stand-alone case in each book. You'll meet:


PJ Maguire 

Paula's father, a Catholic ex-member of the RUC. Injured his leg badly during a shoot-out in the nineties and has been retired ever since. His wife Margaret went missing in 1993 and was never found.


Pat O'Hara

Aidan's mother, widowed when her husband was shot in the eighties. Kind and motherly, very protective of Paula. Very religious.  


DCI Helen Corry

The tough, stylish, no-nonsense head of Serious Crime for the Ballyterrin PSNI. Sometimes clashes with Guy Brooking over jurisdiction. Divorced with two children. 


DC Gerard Monaghan

A young Catholic recruit to the PSNI. Athletic, tall, and slightly full of himself! 


Avril Wright

The MPRU's intelligence analyst, pretty and neat. From a non-drinking, very religious family and engaged to a rather dull youth pastor. 


Garda Fiacra Quinn

A young member of the Southern Irish police service, seconded to the MPRA. Easy-going, cheerful, and from a large family. His father was also a Guard. 


DS Bob Hamilton

Approaching retirement, an ex-RUC member and Orangeman who used to be Paula's father's partner - and may know more about her mother's disappearance than he lets on. By the book and struggling to keep up with changes to the police force. Bob features heavily in the novella Controlled Explosions. 


Dr Saoirse McLoughlin

Paula's former best friend, and A&E doctor. Married to Dave and desperate for a baby. 


Maeve Cooley

Dublin-based journalist friend of Aidan's. Blonde, beautiful, smart and even nice too. 



Welcome to Ballyterrin


The series is set in the fictional town of Ballyterrin (which is not a million miles away from my hometown of Newry!) It's a general crossroads of shiftiness, ex-terrorists, and smuggling. The arist Garrett Carr included it in his fictional map of Ulster












The real Newry (even has a canal!).

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© 2015 by Claire McGowan