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Publisher's Summary

National Best Seller

Shortlisted for The CWA Historical Dagger Award

A Globe and Mail Best Book of the Year

A New York Times Editors’ Choice Pick

“Banville sets up and then deftly demolishes the Agatha Christie format...superbly rich and sophisticated.” (New York Times Book Review)

The incomparable Booker Prize winner’s next great crime novel - the story of a family whose secrets resurface when a parish priest is found murdered in their ancestral home

Detective Inspector St. John Strafford has been summoned to County Wexford to investigate a murder. A parish priest has been found dead in Ballyglass House, the family seat of the aristocratic, secretive Osborne family.

The year is 1957 and the Catholic Church rules Ireland with an iron fist. Strafford - flinty, visibly Protestant and determined to identify the murderer - faces obstruction at every turn, from the heavily accumulating snow to the culture of silence in the tight-knit community he begins to investigate.

As he delves further, he learns the Osbornes are not at all what they seem. And when his own deputy goes missing, Strafford must work to unravel the ever-expanding mystery before the community’s secrets, like the snowfall itself, threaten to obliterate everything.

Beautifully crafted, darkly evocative and pulsing with suspense, Snow is “the Irish master” (New Yorker) John Banville at his best.

Don't miss John Banville's next novel, April in Spain!

©2020 John Banville (P)2020 Harlequin Enterprises, Limited

What listeners say about Snow

Average Customer Ratings
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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Narrator John Lee is the best!

John Banville’s new novel, “Snow” has received varying critiques. Some found the story flat and not up to Banville’s standards. I chose to listen to the audible production of the story, narrated by John Lee, because it’s supposed to be an Agatha Christie-like story. I thought the addition of a good narrator, who uses his voice to add nuance and emphasis, could enhance the story, thus provide the intended narrative. I’m happy I did.

The way John Lee narrated the story, with his emphasis of phrases and words, made me chuckle. There’s a bit about “seeing a man about a horse.” And then there’s much about the said horse. Word play and double entendre run amuck. For me, it added to the story.

The story takes place in 1957 Ireland, when the Catholic Church runs the country. A Catholic priest is found dead, in the library in an old stately manor. Detective St. John Strafford is sent to investigate. Strafford finds the murder and set-up similar to an Agatha Christi novel, just short of the candlestick and Colonel Mustard. Adding intrigue, the priest’s body has been sexually mutilated.

Banville writes the plot within the social context of religion in Ireland at that time. The Archbishop wants the murder covered up as an accident and makes it clear to Strafford what will happen to his career if he crosses the Archbishop. And Father Tom, the victim, has a sordid past, which was common in Ireland at the time. There is a reform school for wayward teenage boys. Father Tom had “his favorites”, boys who he counselled in private. Make no mistake, Banville wants the reader to know and remember the atrocities of the Church. He also writes of the underlying conflict of the Catholics and the protestants at the time. To me, this is a part mystery part social study of Ireland in the mid 1950’s.

I enjoyed listening to John Lee’s performance. It was a fun romp within a tragic story. The characters are richly developed. Father Tom is the most despicable, well, maybe the Archbishop competes. I’m a Banville fan, and I remain a Banville fan.

24 people found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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Don't read this is you have been sexually abused

I had never read any of John Banville's work, but I was intrigued by the New York Times review. I was enjoying this story of a murdered priest, church politics and family secrets, and I am a huge fan of John Lee as a narrator. But towards the end of the book, I had to endure 33 minutes in which a sexual predator recounts grooming and abusing his victims (I can say no more in case there are people who want to be surprised by the ending). All I could think about were my friends who have been through this kind of abuse, and how traumatic this would be for them. I am not saying that an author can't write about this, but I think a book like this should include some kind of warning about disturbing content.

18 people found this helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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Exaggerated staccato delivery is beyond irritating

This will be the first book I have returned in a long time. If the narrator used the affected staccato for one character exclusively, I could handle that. But everyone speaks this way. Can't listen to this one.

12 people found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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Narrator ruins stylish book

John Lee is overly theatrical and turns every character into a caricature. Really destroys a good book

9 people found this helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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If I ever listen....

If I ever listen to another book read by John Lee, shoot me. Got maybe a quarter through this one then skipped to last chapter. The book might have been interesting read by someone else.

7 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Classic mystery with dark themes

"The body is in the library" is the first sentence of the first chapter. One would expect Miss Marple or Poirot to enter in the scene. One would be mistaken.

It's County Wexford, Ireland, 1957. Shortly before Christmas, a priest is murdered and mutilated. DI St. John Stafford (pronounced Sin-Jin) is dispatched from Dublin to investigate by Hackett, who is now the Police Chief. Dr. Quirke is nowhere to be seen. The mention of Quirke and Hackett will alert Quirke fans that the themes are darker than typical mysteries.

Ostensibly, the characters are of the quirky variety typical in British mysteries. But read on and you will find there are subterranean currents that explain and bind them.

It's beautifully written in the characteristic Banville/Black voice and a beautifully constructed mystery hitting all the notes with a satisfying ending.

Highly recommend.

5 people found this helpful

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The narrator is terrible

I returned this book because the narration is just awful and is distracting to the point of not being able to follow the story.

5 people found this helpful

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spoiler alert

Very graphic child abuse. Mystery solid and simple—nothing complicated. Easy listen (except for graphic parts)

4 people found this helpful

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Average, worth a credit.

John Lee received some poor reviews on this page, otherwise I would have skipped this review. I liked his presentation. It's an ok mystery, perhaps more sexual encounters than I care to read about, but essential to the story. No need to hash over the storyline, the synopsis given by audible in enough.

4 people found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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Suggest you skip the chapter titled “Interlude”

I thoroughly enjoyed this novel, except I had to skip through the “Interlude” following Chapter 23. It is extremely disturbing and not necessary at all to the overall story. These matters could have better been left to the imagination.

3 people found this helpful