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REVIEW: The Pig Did It by Joseph Caldwell

“The world, young man, you’ll find, is the strangest place in which we’re ever going to live. And strangest of all is the people in it.”

Dear. Mr. Caldwell,

The title alone, “The Pig Did It,” was sufficient to make me want to at least try this novel of love, death or maybe murder, the sea reclaiming its own and a pig. The lovely cover, complete with the pig insert at the bottom, sealed the deal. I had to read it and there unto I used the last of a gift certificate given to me this Christmas past which had only been waiting for the right book to be spent on. Alas, that the book didn’t quite live up to my expectations of it.

The Pig Did ItAaron McCloud has returned to the land of his ancestors, his quite recent ancestors as his young Aunt Kitty, older than he by only two years, still lives there, in order to feel sorry for himself. He has decided that “the domesticated hills would be his comfort, the implacable sea his witness” as he obsesses over a young woman in his writing workshop who didn’t fall in love with him. But his plans for his self pity party keep getting put on hold as he runs into first an escaped group of swine, followed by the discovery of a shallow grave under his aunt’s cabbage patch. It is after this that his aunt Kitty, Lolly McKeever – who denies that an escaped pig who followed Aaron to his aunt’s house is hers – and Kieran Sweeney – a local man who obviously has strong feelings for Kitty – each accuse the other of murdering the man in the grave, one Declan Tovey, refuse to call in the police, then throw a riotous Irish wake which ends in a grand burial for Declan that literally brings the house down.

Poor Aaron has come to Ireland to wallow nobly and manfully in his disappointment over his non love affair with the indifferent Phila but never quite seems to get around to it. There’s always something to distract him whether it’s the pig which decides to claim Aaron as its own, the sea which Kieran declares has decided to claim Aaron for itself, a darts contest in the local pub or the skeleton which the pig uproots during its destruction of Kitty’s entire garden. Aaron wants to brood, he plans to brood but even with the best intentions, he is slowly cured of what he ultimately realizes is merely thwarted obsession rather than true love.

As I kept reading the book, it finally dawned on me midway that the book isn’t really about who killed Declan or whether the sea has decided to snatch Aaron, or if Kitty and Kieran, who love to hate each other and hate to love each other, will finally get together. Or even if Lolly and Aaron decide to start their own romance. It’s a slow, gentle, stately send up of Irish mist and mysticism at a pace which never hurries or rushes along.

There is humor throughout the story. The magical use of words transports me to the West coast of Ireland to a house about to fall into the sea or a pub filled with good hearted people. The pig amuses me and the soliloquies to which most of the characters seem prone delight me. And yet….the ending of the story is too quick and the declaration of love between one set of lovers comes from almost nowhere which in the end causes enough disappointment that I doubt I’ll continue on with the published second book in the trilogy much less the upcoming third one.


Book Link | Amazon |   BN | Borders |  No ebook

Another long time reader who read romance novels in her teens, then took a long break before started back again about 15 years ago. She enjoys historical romance/fiction best, likes contemporaries, action- adventure and mysteries, will read suspense if there's no TSTL characters and is currently reading very few paranormals.


  1. Mary Beth
    Aug 09, 2010 @ 16:01:08

    This one was a DNF for me. I, too, was intrigued by the title and I wanted to like. Once I started reading it, though, I just couldn’t garner enough interest to keep going. I think this book is an example of personal taste. There was nothing glaringly wrong with it, it just didn’t work for me.

  2. Jayne
    Aug 09, 2010 @ 17:19:39

    @Mary Beth: I can easily see that this is could be a DNF book. It worked enough for me to complete it but as I mentioned, I don’t plan to go on with the series.

  3. Darlynne
    Aug 09, 2010 @ 20:57:20

    I read this book, too, and recall that I liked it a great deal. For the life of me, though, I can’t remember the ending and now will have to check to see if it made sense at the time. Thanks for the review.

  4. Jayne
    Aug 10, 2010 @ 05:56:07

    @Darlynne: Have you read book 2?

  5. MBG
    Aug 10, 2010 @ 09:56:08

    How fun to see this review! I had forgotten that I had read this book. It was very strange. I haven’t read book 2. I wonder if it is as good.

    Jayne, Mary Beth, and Darlynne, have you read anything by Ian Sansom? If so, do you think his books ‘feel’ anything like this one?

  6. Darlynne
    Aug 10, 2010 @ 10:45:32

    Grrrh. My original comment went somewhere, but not here.

    Jayne, I didn’t even know this book was part of a series, so I’m definitely going to check out the next one. Maybe I’ll even remember to report my findings.

    MBG, I started the first of the Mobile Library books, but didn’t stay with it. This was clearly a mistake on my part, so I will try it again.

  7. Jayne
    Aug 11, 2010 @ 05:58:00

    @MBG: No, sorry. Have never read that author.

  8. Jayne
    Aug 11, 2010 @ 05:59:01

    @Darlynne: Yes, the second book is already out and the third is due in Sept or Oct.

  9. Book Review: #49 – The Pig Did It by Joseph Caldwell « Let's eat, Grandpa! Let's eat Grandpa! (Punctuation saves lives.)
    Jun 21, 2011 @ 19:44:29

    […] Dear Author: “It’s a slow, gentle, stately send up of Irish mist and mysticism at a pace which never hurries or rushes along.” […]

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