18 August 2014

Review: CHRISTINE FALLS, Benjamin Black

  • first published by Picador 2006
  • #1 in the Quirke mystery series
  • ISBN 978-1-4472-3731-0
  • 390 pages
  • source: my local library
Synopsis (Fantastic Fiction)

In the Pathology Department it was always night. This was one of the things Quirke liked about his job...it was restful, cosy, one might almost say, down in these depths nearly two floors beneath the city's busy pavements. There was too a sense here of being part of the continuance of ancient practices, secret skills, of work too dark to be carried on up in the light.

But one night, late after a party, Quirke stumbles across a body that shouldn't have been there...and his brother-in-law, eminent paediatrician Malachy Griffin - a rare sight in Quirke's gloomy domain - altering a file to cover up the corpse's cause of death. It is the first time Quirke encounters Christine Falls, but the investigation he decides to lead into the way she lived - and the reason she died - disturbs a dark secret that has been festering at the core of Dublin's high Catholic society, a secret ready to destabilize the very heart and soul of Quirke's own family...

See author website.

My Take

I like to read a series in order but recently I read the latest in the Quirke series, HOLY ORDERS, just because it came to hand. While that title stood quite well as a stand alone, some puzzling fragments that I came away with were made clearer in CHRISTINE FALLS.

This first novel in the series is set in Dublin (Ireland) and Boston (Massachusetts) in the early 1950s and emphasises the strong ties between the two. Wealthy Josh Crawford, living in Boston, has come up with a scheme to guarantee a reward for him in heaven. He is also the father of Quirke's former wife and there are those in Dublin who assist in his scheme. When Quirke begins to investigate the puzzle of what happened to Christine Falls he finds that there are people in Dublin who will go to extraordinary lengths to stop him.

This novel gives the reader a lot of Quirke's background from the previous twenty or so years.
It is also a commentary on the practice of sending Irish orphans to Boston for "adoption" in the 1940s and 1950s. See this newspaper article.

My rating: 4.5

4 comments:

Margot Kinberg said...

Kerrie - I'm glad you've reviewed this one. It reminds me that I ought to spotlight one of the novels in this series.

Susan said...

Because Holy Orders has gotten such good reviews, I have bought Christine Falls so I could read the series in order! I'm glad to see your review, and that you liked the mystery so much. I'm looking forward to reading it soon. I have been catching up in other mystery series this summer....so many good mysteries to read, aren't there?

BVLawson said...

Hi, Kerrie! I've added this post to the links I'm collecting for Patti Abbott's FFB this week. Here's the permalink:

http://inreferencetomurder.typepad.com/my_weblog/2014/08/ffb-.html

Anne H said...

This seems to be an appropriate place to mention two more novels that might appeal to readers interested in a bygone Irish / Dublin connection. And to Kerrie of course!
Set in the 1930's:
City of Shadows
City of Strangers, both by Michael Russell and unputdownable reads that were recommended to me.

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