Nan Ryan lives by herself at Number 14 Chestnut Road. When it’s heard that the builders are coming to work on the deserted house next door, everyone has an opinion. Nan’s three grown-up children reckon she won’t get a moment of peace. Not to mention the mess they’ll create. Or the fact that she’ll end up becoming their tea lady.

But when Derek Doyle’s shiny van arrives outside Number 12, Nan is secretly excited. And when the handsome builder looks to Nan to help unravel the mystery of the previous residents’ vanishing, a special friendship begins to flourish.

But as they soon discover, nothing is quite what it first seems. With family complications and crooked property developers waiting in the wings, things are about to get very messy…


Part of Ireland’s Open Door adult literacy series: all royalties from Irish sales of The Builders go to Our Lady’s Hospice, Harold’s Cross, Dublin.



The Builders

First published 2002 by New Island Press