The inimitable Quirke returns in another spellbinding crime novel, in which a young woman's dubious suicide sets off a new string of hazards and deceptions
Two years have passed since the events of the bestselling Christine Falls, and much has changed for Quirke, the irascible, formerly hard-drinking Dublin pathologist. His beloved Sarah is dead, his surrogate father lies in a convent hospital paralyzed by a devastating stroke, and Phoebe, Quirke's long-denied daughter, has grown increasingly withdrawn and isolated.
With much to regret from his last inquisitive foray, Quirke ought to know better than to let his curiosity get the best of him. Yet when an almost forgotten acquaintance comes to him about his beautiful young wife's apparent suicide, Quirke's "old itch to cut into the quick of things, to delve into the dark of what was hidden" is roused again. As he begins to probe further into the shadowy circumstances of Deirdre Hunt's death, he discovers many things that might better have remained hidden, as well as grave danger to those
Haunting, masterfully written, and utterly mesmerizing in its nuance, The Silver Swan fully lives up to the promise of Christine Falls and firmly establishes Benjamin Black (a.k.a. John Banville) among the greatest of crime writers.
Black, the pen name of Booker Prize-winning author John Banville (The Sea), second atmospheric crime novel starring Quirke, a 1950s Dublin pathologist and unlikely hero. This novel opens with the death of a young woman, the owner of a seemingly successful beauty salon called the Silver Swan. Her body is found in the river, her clothing neatly folded at the edge of the water. The distraught husband, not wanting his beautiful wife's body harmed, asks Quirke to bypass the standard postmortem. Upon examining it, Quirke quickly notices a puncture mark visible on the dead woman's arm. And so Quirke's descent into darkness begins. Black/Banville is a master of atmosphere; the fear and dread associated with hidden desires and deeds fairly leap off the page. Highly recommended for all public libraries. LJ 2/1/08