April Lavery has vanished. A junior doctor at a local hospital, she is something of a trail-blazer in the deeply conservative and highly patriarchal society of 1950s Dublin. Though her family is one of the most respected in the city, she is known for being independent-minded; her taste in men, for instance, is decidedly unconventional, as evidenced by her current boyfriend, a handsome and charismatic medical student from Nigeria.
Then April disappears, and Phoebe Griffin, her best friend, immediately suspects the worst. Frantic, Phoebe seeks out Quirke, her brilliant but erratic father, and asks him for help. Sober again after intensive treatment for alcoholism, Quirke soon learns that his old sparring partner, Detective Inspector Hackett, has been assigned to the high-profile case. This time, Hackett welcomes Quirke’s help—the pathologist’s knowledge of the darker byways of the city may allow him to uncover crucial information about April’s whereabouts. And as Quirke becomes deeply involved in April’s murky story, he encounters complicated and ugly truths about race-hatred, Catholic ruthlessness, and family savagery.
Both an absorbing crime novel and a brilliant portrait of the difficult and relentless love between a father and his daughter, this is Benjamin Black at his sparkling best.
©2010 Benjamin Black (P)2010 Macmillan Audio
"Quirke, the haunted Dublin pathologist and haphazard sleuth, returns in the third in Black's superb series of sharply etched, nearly Jamesian mysteries.... In Black's atmospheric and penetrating works of Irish noir, pain, prejudice, greed, and violence brew behind lace curtains." (Booklist)
This is the third in a trilogy (so far) of Quirke mysteries. The stories are compelling, the characters very real and Timothy Dalton's eloquent narration is spot on. I've listened to all three novels and he enunciates so well I haven't missed a word. Best narration I've heard of the twenty books I've purchased from Audible so far.
Quirk's daughter, Phoebe, hasn't heard from her friend, April, who usually called her once a day. She asks her father to help her check into April's "disappearance." Along the way, Quirk struggles with alcohol and, although not stated outright, depression. Timothy Dalton's narration is wonderful.
The overall development of plot and characters demonstrates the author's ability to draw in the audience and capture their interset. When uou combine this with Mr. Dalton's magnificient narration, you have an excellent listen of a fine drama.
While still charming as ever, Quirke is getting a little predictable by now (3x). But that's not really a complaint in light of the string of book fails I've read lately. Benjamin Black (alias the wonderful Irish novelist John Banville moonlighting between his literary novels) is a real writer, one untainted (I'd bet) by social media and auto-correct, and it's always a pleasure to go along with the flow of words without the speed bumps that seem to make it passed editors more and more these days. And Timothy Dalton is as smooth as the best Irish whiskey. He is the perfect match for this series, lending an air of sophistication.
I think of Quirke as the common-man's Bond/pathologist (maybe it's the Dalton effect) ...a little bulky, awkward, and prone to falling off the wagon and puking over drainage grates. But, he always manages to get in the required roll-roll-roll-in-za-hay, getting both his lady...and his man; always the successful sleuth. And I love the atmosphere of Dublin, and the surrounding Irish scenery, the sip of good tea, a warm dark stout, and somewhere out in the drizzle...the murderer lurking about.
There are no spectacular villains, no ridiculous plots -- just a straight at you mystery, with excellent writing and narration. In this volume, Quirke's daughter is again in the forefront (as in Silver Swan) when her best friend goes missing. I recently found out that the first 3 Quirke books,"Christine Falls," "The Silver Swan," and "Elegy for April," were a British-Irish crime drama television series that was first broadcast on BBC One and RTÉ One in 2014. Something I'd like to see, but I'd rather read the way Black/Banville writes the series. Now, on to #4. Predictable, but dependable and intelligent.
I have to admit that I'm a total Audible junkie. MUST have book going at all times. I may be the subject of a family intervention someday.
This writer gives us such sharply delineated descriptions of his character's moment by moment experiences, and Timothy Dalton makes the most of each and every moment. As before, this reader brings a Shakespearian brilliance to every word of his narration. I'm afraid he's ruined me for most other readers. I'm so bummed to see that this is the last of the series read by T.D. Judging by the sample of the next book's reader I'm afraid I can't continue, and I so wanted to. Wasn't Simon Vance or Gerard Doyle available?
First of all, I could listen to Timothy Dalton read the phone book! That aside, he does a masterful job bringing this book to life. Benjamin Black weaves a multi-layed tale reflecting the woes of life and its effects on the characters involved. I downloaded The Silver Swan first because of the narrator and liked the author's work so much I downloaded this book as soon as it became available. The Black/Dalton team is fabulous!
I have not read the print version of this story, but I believe the narration gives the reader such a feeling of
The last sentence in the book when Quirke actually laughed was my favorite part of the book.
I have listened to all of the Quirke novels and I really enjoy Timothy Dalton's performance. He gives such life and depth to the characters, and teaches me the correct pronunciations of names like St. John.
Death, treachery, and the corruption of innocence
This is, by far, the darkest and most disturbing Quirke novel yet. Each character seems to fall in to an abyss somewhere along the way and they don't always find their way out. I will be listening to the fourth book soon.
All his books are wonderful. And Timothy Dalton excels. His voice is perfect for the moodiness, the darkness, the loneliness of these stories
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