Summer Soap (Episode 4): A doctor, a priest, an accusation of murder

Welcome to The Echo’s second Summer Soap of 2022. Now in its seventh year, Summer Soap is a daily fictional serial run over 12 parts. Called Kilroche, this story is about a woman who falls downstairs - apparently in an accident caused by her long hair. But was it an accident? It was written by Assumpta Curran, of the MA in Creative Writing Programme at UCC. Catch up with previous episodes at In episode 4, an accusation of murder
Summer Soap (Episode 4): A doctor, a priest, an accusation of murder

The priest produced a bottle of holy water from somewhere and flicked copious amounts over the whole group.


Jack Murphy let out an uncomfortable groan as he rose from his armchair. He couldn’t let Peggy hear him, or the same old argument would rear its ugly head, the ‘whether or not to retire’ debate.

He made a quick call to Fr Cleary, before grabbing his keys and limping out the door. He felt that everyone needed a prayer said over them, as they departed this world for the next. All Din had told him was that there had been a tragic accident, and that one of the O’Connor sisters was dead.

Jack started up his old Mercedes and reversed out the driveway. He drove the five-minute journey into Kilroche, deep in thought.

The village was quiet, not a soul on the street. Mags Houlihan was putting the ‘Closed’ sign on the door of her shop. He cursed her silently. Many a rumour revealed in cattiness over the years, had been traced back to her door.

He arrived at O’Connor’s shop at the top of the village, just after eight o’clock. The lights were on outside the front door, and Din Rua’s Ford Fiesta was parked aslant on the road.

Walking around the side of the building, he heard the screams before he ever reached the back window. There, through the glass, he saw Din’s bulk, wrestling with Maura O’Connor’s tiny frame. For a small lady, she was putting up quite a fight, beating him back with her fists and with what looked like a large dog collar, or a dog lead, he couldn’t be sure.

Jack pulled out his glasses and shoved them on for a better look. Dear God, Din had handcuffs and was attempting to clasp them to Maura, while trying to grab the dog collar from her. Jack had never seen either sister walk a dog. He gave a loud rap on the window, and at that very moment, Din managed to grab hold of both Maura’s wrists and lock the restraints to them. More screams.

Jack let himself in the back door.

“Hello, Maura,” he said, nodding uncomfortably in her direction.

“Jack, thank God, I have our murderer and the evidence right here,” Din gasped, breathless from his scuffle. “Well, maybe not the actual murder weapon but proof for sure,” he wheezed.

He held the dog collar aloft and it was only then that Jack realised, that it was in fact a long plait of bloodied hair. He looked on speechless.

“Jesus, Din, what is going on?” he asked.

“I’ll explain everything to you later,” Din replied, sounding almost triumphant.

“I’m heading to the station and I’ll see you there once you’ve finished your business here. Hannah’s out in the hallway, God rest her.”

Maura was silent now, her shoulders slumped and the colour drained from her face.

With that, he opened the door and walked out, Maura following meekly behind.

Jack stood there, momentarily transfixed. Taking a deep breath, he went into the little hallway. To his left was a black spiral staircase, and just beneath it was poor Hannah, lying face down on the cold floor. What a sad scene.

A middle-aged lady, legs akimbo, blood everywhere, in the front hall of her well-tended house. He knelt down beside her, and out of habitual courtesy warmed his hands before placing his index and middle finger against her neck. He then checked her wrist carefully, and rushing to the hall table, grabbed the phone and dialled the emergency services.

“Could I have an ambulance straight away for O’Connor’s Drapery Store, Main Street, Kilroche … Yes, a female, late forties, very weak pulse, a head injury, visible scalp wounds, multiple body contusions, and severe loss of blood. I believe she has suffered a fall from a stairwell.”


Fr Cleary was in the sacristy just after evening mass when Betty O’Shea came running in looking flushed.

“Sorry for the intrusion, Father, but Dr Murphy phoned and asked if you would go straight to O’Connor’s when you finished saying mass.”

Fr Cleary nodded and thanked Betty. Grabbing his hat and stick, he made for the side door. Mags Houlihan nodded at him from a huddle in the churchyard. He practically ran the few hundred yards to the shop. There was an ambulance at the front door, and the lifeless form of Hannah O’Connor being brought out on a stretcher by two paramedics.

“Father,” Jack Murphy nodded, emerging slowly behind them. “Jack, what’s happened here at all?” the priest asked.

“There’s been a bad accident. Hannah is being transferred to the city, and I’d say she will need emergency surgery. I think that she may have suffered a brain bleed as a result of a fall, but it’s too early to say.”

The priest extended his hand, and closing his eyes began praying over Hannah. He produced a bottle of holy water from somewhere and flicked copious amounts over the whole group.

The ambulance departed, its blue light flashing. Fr Cleary and Dr Jack Murphy stood on the street looking after it, both lost for words.

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