The Vanishing Triangle by Claire McGowan

Mandie and I both really liked the sound of this book, The Vanishing Triangle by Claire McGowan, when we heard the author speak about it at Capital Crime last year. We both took the opportunity to nab a copy, and now Mandie is sharing her thoughts. Here’s what the book is all about:

Source: Owned Copy
Release Date: 01 May 2022
Publisher: Little A

About the Book

From the bestselling author of What You Did comes a true-crime investigation that cast a dark shadow over the Ireland of her childhood.

Ireland in the 1990s seemed a safe place for women. With the news dominated by the Troubles, it was easy to ignore non-political murders and sexual violence, to trust that you weren’t going to be dragged into the shadows and killed. But beneath the surface, a far darker reality had taken hold.

Through questioning the society and circumstances that allowed eight young women to vanish without a trace―no conclusion or conviction, no resolution for their loved ones―bestselling crime novelist Claire McGowan delivers a candid investigation into the culture of secrecy, victim-blaming and shame that left these women’s bodies unfound, their fates unknown, their assailants unpunished.

McGowan reveals an Ireland not of leprechauns and craic but of outdated social and sexual mores, where women and their bodies were of secondary importance to perceived propriety and misguided politics—a place of well-buttoned lips and stony silence, inadequate police and paramilitary threat.

Was an unknown serial killer at large or was there something even more insidious at work? In this insightful, sensitively drawn account, McGowan exposes a system that failed these eight women—and continues to fail women to this day.

Mandie’s Thoughts

When I attended Capital Crime in London last year I became aware of several authors that were new to me. One of these was Claire McGowan, a crime writer who was actually there to talk about her nonfiction book The Vanishing Triangle. This is a book about eight women who disappeared over several years in the 90’s in Ireland all from similar locations and their bodies have never been found nor has anyone been convicted of their murder. 

This is a very different book for me as there are no big reveals and there are no real answers, the women are still missing, and no one really knows what happened to them. It seems mad with the technology we have now that there is absolutely no trace of them, but they disappeared in a time before CCTV, mobile phones and even DNA testing. They also disappeared in a time when there was a lot of unrest in Ireland. We all see the media coverage when someone goes missing today, the endless searches and appeals for witnesses and you wish that this was available sooner.

Claire McGowan shines a light on how often the investigations into their disappearances were often hampered by the women’s situation/mental state which at times delayed things, giving up vital time that may have provided a different outcome. The lack of witnesses or even those willing to share their suspicions did not help either. 

McGowan was also struck by the fact that until recently she had not even known about these women, they disappeared from places often close to where she grew up but there was no mention of them in the news, but it did highlight that maybe her views of growing up in Ireland may not have been the reality for some.

This book is very much one from the viewpoint of the author as she tries to understand why the women have never been found and why their disappearances were not treated differently. What she does have though is hope that one day the families will get the closure they deserve through either further advances or someone finally having the courage to come forward and provide vital information. One thing this book does is ensure that these women will not be forgotten.

About the Author

Claire McGowan was born in 1981 in a small Irish village where the most exciting thing that ever happened was some cows getting loose on the road. She is the author of The FallWhat You DidThe Other WifeThe PushI Know You and the acclaimed Paula Maguire crime series. She also writes women’s fiction under the name Eva Woods.

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