It's not the dead that seem strange to Quirke. It's the living. One night, after a few drinks at an office party, Quirke shuffles down into the morgue where he works and finds his brother-in-law, Malachy, altering a file he has no business even reading. Odd enough in itself to find Malachy there, but the next morning, when the haze has lifted, it looks an awful lot like his brother-in-law, the esteemed doctor, was in fact tampering with a corpse, and concealing the cause of death.
Two years have passed since the events of the best-selling Christine Falls, and much has changed for Quirke, the irascible, formerly hard-drinking Dublin pathologist. His beloved Sarah is dead, the judge lies in a convent hospital paralyzed by a devastating stroke, and Phoebe, Quirke's long-denied daughter, has grown increasingly withdrawn and isolated.
"A great sequel!"
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.
"Great Series, Excellent Narration"
Time has moved on for Quirke, the world-weary pathologist first encountered in Christine Falls. It is the middle of the 1950s, that low, dishonourable decade; a woman he loved has died, a man he once admired is dying, while the daughter he for so long denied is still finding it hard to accept him as her father. When an old acquaintance approaches him about his wife's apparent suicide, Quirke recognizes trouble but, as always, trouble is something he cannot resist.
"Wow the narrator did his best"
Quirke's pathology department, set deep beneath the city, is his own gloomy realm: always quiet, always night, and always under his control. Until late one evening after a party he stumbles across a body that should not be there - and his brother-in-law falsifying the corpse's cause of death. This is the first time Quirke has encountered Christine Falls, but the investigation he decides to lead into the way she lived and died uncovers a dark secret at the heart of Dublin's high Catholic network.
1950's Ireland. As a deep, bewildering fog cloaks Dublin, a young woman is found to have vanished. When Phoebe Griffin, still haunted by the horrors of her past, is unable to discover news of her friend; Quirke, fresh from drying out in an institution, responds to his daughter's request for help. But as Phoebe, Quirke and Inspector Hackett speak with those who knew April, they begin to realise that there may have been more behind the young woman's discretion and secrecy than they could have imagined.