Irma is a hard-working, somewhat cynical and hard-bitten but focused legal mediator. She has seen the best and the worst of human nature in her role, over the years but she has a reputation for fairness and achieving just settlements in disputes. When she sees a newspaper headline screaming at her that her first, one-true love, heart replacement surgeon, Peter Dayton has been arrested and charged with culpable homicide after one of his transplant patients had died due to a mistake in medication, Irma knows she has to help the man she once loved (maybe even still does) with every fibre of her being.
Peter has all the trappings of success, wealth, status, and power but over the years his arrogant and overbearing manner has seen him disliked, as a person, within the halls of medicine. His incredible skill and success has leavened that cold nature in the eyes of hospital administrators and he is recognised as a hero, especially among those he has given a new life, with transplant surgery. His biggest regret in life remains his kowtowing to his parents back in College to end his relationship with Irma, as she was clearly an unsuitable match for this silver-spooned future surgeon. Despite all the trappings of success, Peter is sad, lonely and desperate for affection.
Faced with an open and shut case against Peter, Irma finds herself clinging to any sort of hope and this leads her to investigate a heart-transplant patient who appears to have dramatically changed personality since receiving a woman's heart. Can it possibly be that this seeming personality transfer has something to do with Peter's demise?
As I said, Irma's Endgame was a departure for Mahurin but, for me, a successful departure. The two main characters Irma and Peter, their separate lives and trials that have brought them back full-circle to find each other again are the classic unrequited love story. I particularly enjoyed the exploration Mahurin did of the idea of personality transference in organ transplants. The idea that some small part of a donor's personality somehow lives on in the recipient of the organ was fascinating. The relationship between the husband of the donor and the recipient was beautifully written and one could feel the instant connection between the two and marvel at it.
This is a fantastic story that I read with absolute zeal and like all books of Mahurin's I was disappointed to have reached the end. I can highly recommend this read, as Mahurin tests the boundaries and depth of friendship, loyalty, psychosis, betrayal and most importantly, of love. It is a triumphal departure from her usual genre for this incredibly talented author.