Quirke—the hard-drinking, insatiably curious Dublin pathologist—is back, and he’s determined to find his daughter’s best friend, a well-connected young doctor April Latimer has vanished. A junior doctor at a local hospital, she is something of a scandal in the 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. Now April has disappeared, and her friend Phoebe Griffin suspects the worst. Frantic, Phoebe seeks out Quirke, her brilliant but erratic father, and asks him for help. Sober again after intensive treatment for alcoholism, Quirke enlists his old sparring partner, Detective Inspector Hackett, in the search for the missing young woman. In their separate ways the two men follow April’s trail through some of the darker byways of the city to uncover crucial information on her whereabouts. And as Quirke becomes deeply involved in April’s murky story, he encounters complicated and ugly truths about family savagery, Catholic ruthlessness, and race hatred. Both an absorbing crime novel and a brilliant portrait of the difficult and relentless love between a father and his daughter, this is Benjamin Black at his sparkling best.Last year brought us John Banville’s THE INFINITIES, of course, which is a terrific read for anyone who hasn’t caught up with it yet. It’s highly unlikely ELEGY FOR APRIL will be in the same league, but hey, even a workmanlike Banville is better than no Banville at all.
“Burke shows again that he’s not just a comic genius, but also a fine dramatic writer and storyteller.” – Booklist. “Prose both scabrous and poetic.” – Publishers Weekly. “Proust meets Chandler over a pint of Guinness.” – Spectator. “Among the most memorable books of the year, of any genre.” – Sunday Times. “A hardboiled delight.” – Guardian. “Imagine Donald Westlake and Richard Stark collaborating on a screwball noir.” – Kirkus Reviews. “A cross between Raymond Chandler and Flann O’Brien.” – John Banville.
Friday, March 19, 2010
An APRIL For April
With an unerring eye for the myriad marketing possibilities, Henry Holt releases Benny Blanco’s ELEGY FOR APRIL in – oh yes! – April. Quoth the blurb elves: