The mystery of Marsha Mehran

Marsha in happier times

The best-selling young novelist who died a recluse in a rubbish-strewn cottage on Ireland’s west coast

From the moment of her arrival in Lecanvey, Marsha Mehran cut a solitary figure.

The few times she was seen were when she would sit, in the depths of winter, on a bench in the shadow of Ireland’s holiest mountain and open her laptop to catch the Wi-Fi from the village pub opposite.

The Dawson family, who run Staunton’s Pub in a crook of the meandering road that tracks the stark beauty of County Mayo’s Atlantic coast, repeatedly invited the striking young woman into the warmth.

Once or twice in four months, she accepted. But most of the time the 36-year-old politely declined, explaining that she needed to get back home. Visitors to her nearby rented house overlooking a rocky beach were greeted with a sign: “Do not disturb. I’m working.”

{josquote}Born in Tehran in 1977, Marsha was the daughter of an accountant, Mehran, and his wife, Shahin, a teacher, both members of Iran’s Baha’i faith...{/josquote}

As Therese Dawson, the landlady of the homely boozer in the shadow of the 2,500ft Croagh Patrick, put it: “I suppose she needed our Wi-Fi and she’d be out there in all weathers. Of course we invited her in. We told her she didn’t have to worry about buying anything. But I sensed from her that she preferred to be alone.”

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