By Benjamin Black
(Picador, Paperback, 9780312426323, 384pp.)
Publication Date: January 22, 2008
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The hero of Christine Falls, Quirke, is a surly pathologist living in 1950s Dublin. One night, after having a few drinks at a party, he returns to the morgue to find his brother-in-law tampering with the records on a young woman’s corpse. The next morning, when his hangover has worn off, Quirke reluctantly begins looking into the woman’s history. He discovers a plot that spans two continents, implicates the Catholic Church, and may just involve members of his own family. He is warned--first subtly, then with violence--to lay off, but Quirke is a stubborn man. The first novel in the Quirke series brings all the vividness and psychological insight of John Banville’s writing to the dark, menacing atmosphere of a first-class thriller.
Benjamin Black is the pen name of acclaimed author John Banville, who was born in Wexford, Ireland, in 1945. His novels have won numerous awards, most recently the Man Booker Prize in 2005 for The Sea. He lives in Dublin.
- "In secret," the author writes, "Quirke prized his loneliness as a mark of some distinction." (pg. 12). What does Quirke’s loneliness do for him? How does it make possible what he ultimately accomplishes in the story? Is Quirke’s isolation part of what allows him to see the truth about the conspiracy around him?
"A page-turner told in prose so beautiful you'll want to read some passages repeatedly. Intricately plotted, beautifully written."--The Boston Globe
"Measured, taut, and transfixing . . . Benjamin Black's plotting is methodical, detailed, and always gripping. You can smell the smoke in Quirke's favorite pub and touch the cool walls in a Boston convent he later visits."--USA Today "Swirling, elegant noir . . . Crossover fiction of a very high order . . . Rolls forward with haunting, sultry exoticism . . . toward the best kind of denouement under these circumstances: a half inconclusive one."--The New York Times
"Offers a subtler, deeper satisfaction than just finding out whodunit. . . . What's most disconcerting of all about Christine Falls is the atmosphere of moral claustrophobia enveloping it."--The Philadelphia Inquirer
"A dark, ambitious crime novel . . . It’s going to make more than a few readers flip the book over to look at the author photo to make sure Banville’s really pulling the strings."--Newsday
"Crime fiction rarely lives up to the term 'literary,' but [Christine Falls] is the happy exception."--Entertainment Weekly