Abigail Rieley

Writer and Author

Devil in the Red Dress Steps Out Into the World

My book, Devil in the Red Dress is now officially available in the UK.  It’s the first time it’s been available outside Ireland and I’m interested to see how the story will translate somewhere that hasn’t been so familiar with the whole Lying Eyes, Tony Luciano affair.

One of the reasons I was attracted to writing the book was the fact that the story reads like a thriller and could have happened anywhere.  Even the barristers made references to the Coen Brothers and film noir.  To be honest you simply don’t get cases like this cropping up in Ireland and it was simply too good a tale to pass by.

I was aware while I was covering the trial and later researching the book over last summer that the story had gone truly global.  I did a lot of research on line (fittingly enough) and every time I searched people involved in the story I got hits from further and further afield.  Even doing a search now you can find accounts from the Telegraph, The Guardian and the Daily Record in the UK and CNN in the States. I’m not surprised particularly, it is a great story.

What did amaze me though was how far the coverage extended, there’s coverage from Spain, Hungary and even Vietnam. Now my Spanish, Hungarian and Vietnamese aren’t great, so I’m not sure what spin they were taking but it’s the first time I’ve covered a story that has become such an international talking point.

When you work in a country the size of Ireland it’s easy to get caught up in the local aspect of news…there’s frequently little else but the odd time, when a story arrives with a truly international dimension, that spans from the west of Ireland to the casinos of Las Vegas with a pitstop in Spain, it’s difficult not to get excited.

A lot of the Irish press focused once again on the local angle, the fact that the scheming femme fatale behind the internet plot to kill her millionaire boyfriend was a County Clare housewife from an old Ennis family.  Certainly this is a case that has gone down in Clare legend and it’ll be a long time before it’s forgotten in Ireland as a whole.

But there is another side to the story.  The so-called hitman Sharon Collins hired to do her dirty work was an Egyptian poker dealer in Las Vegas.  His story and his conquests had travelled through Ohio, Michigan & Illinois.  Much of the plotting took place while Sharon was staying with her partner PJ Howard at his apartment in Feungirola in Malaga.  This was a dimension that lifted things out of the parochial into the international.

I was fascinated by the international dimension and explored the American angle in far more detail the majority of my colleagues.  I’m not saying clever me, simply that this was the bit of the story that interested me.  It’s not often the bright lights of Vegas shine on an Irish court case after all.

It remains to be seen how my account of the whole twisted mess does on it’s first foray abroad but I wish it well.  It’s a story that should reach a wider audience.  But we’ll just have to wait and see.

2 Comments

  1. Interested Party

    8th May 2009 at 2:02 pm

    Best wishes with the UK launch – hope it gets the readership it deserves. Tales of greed and hubris in Ireland right on the money. Sharon Collins the Zeitgeist.

  2. Exciting… and yes, it is a great story. Might inspire every Sharon out and about? or serve as a warning, just like any aul’ Grimm story… Thanks for writing it!

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