They uncover corrupt politicians and a questionable church. There is much that is familiar from the previous books, but I found that comforting, this is a period Dublin which I am happy to return to. Black has a talent for creating memorable characters that interact beautifully. I recommend this novel wholeheartedly to others and urge them to read it. It is so much better than the tv series. I received a ebook copy from the publisher via netgalley for an honest review. Dec 19, Noelle rated it really liked it. I have to be fair and say that from the start, I got the feeling that I was missing out on something, having never read any of the the other books in this series.
However, my curiosity got the better if me and although I struggled initially, I persevered and was very glad that I did. To me, it felt like the author was playing a game of sorts, rather than throwing everything into your face all at once, we are given a subtle trail to follow which ultimately led to the killer and a very clever ending in my view! Quirke himself, is well…kind of quirky. I found there was an air of mystery surrounding him and I am curious if that was just in the context of this book or whether this can be felt in the other books in this series. A semi reformed alcoholic who happens to fall in love.
What I liked about this story is that although a murder was committed and an investigation follows, you are inadvertently drawn into a love story of sorts…but not a mushy, it-is-way-to-in-your-face type of love…no, it was kinda sweet! Quirke is also quite reflective, but seems to be fighting an inner turmoil…which I found quite endearing.
And Evelyn Blake….. Confident, sassy and too old to play games…yep.. I like her character! She feels real! I also felt there was something haunting about this read. I cannot quite put my finger on it…but once I got over my initial struggle…I could not put it down. Politics, revelations, secrecy, redemption, love and even justice is what you will find within this story.
Will I read any more in this series…. I think you will find I have already added a few to my TBR pile! Definitely interested in learning more about Quirke! Nov 18, Ellie rated it really liked it Shelves: indchallenge , irish , series , fiction , mystery. I'll admit I'm a huge Banville fan to begin with and have read and thoroughly enjoyed all of the Quirke books so far.
And it did not disappoint.
Quirke is his usual dark self and his daughter Phoebe complicated and likable. The mystery is a little less gripping than some of the earlier books but the characters are well-draw Even the Dead is the latest installment in Benjamin Black 's aka John Banville Quirke detective series. The mystery is a little less gripping than some of the earlier books but the characters are well-drawn and interesting.
Quirke is on a prolonged sabbatical from his work at the mortuary, as a result of head injuries sustained in an earlier book. When his assistant also his daughter's boyfriend does an autopsy on a young man who supposedly suicided, he suspects foul play. He brings his suspicions to Quirke, who comes out of his semi-retirement to investigate. Of course, being a mystery novel, the suspicions are of course justified. The plot has some very satisfying twists, including some important revisiting of story lines from the earlier books.
I literally read Even the Dead in one sitting. It's the most satisfying kind of light entertainment: beautifully written, with characters I have grown to care about, and a diverting story. I was quite anxious by the end about the fate of several characters but I won't share any spoilers here. Suffice it to say, the reader cannot rest easy while reading this book.
Although the book can be read as a stand-alone, it definitely helps to have read the earlier books in the series. There are many references to the prior stories and some of the resolution is strongly connected to them. But I strongly recommend the entire series. And if you've already read them, you won't want to miss this one.. Oct 15, Lewis Weinstein rated it it was amazing Shelves: crime-and-thrillers. Benjamin Black is a superb writer. He lives up to the standard he expressed at the KW Literary Seminar some years ago that he felt an obligation to make every word as perfect as it could be.
His sentences are often glorious. The only downside in this is that Black sometimes makes me impatient to get on with the story. However, once he decides to tell it, Black is a master at this as well. Pathologist Quirke and Detective Inspector Hackett are both marvelous characters whose approach to solving cr Benjamin Black is a superb writer. Pathologist Quirke and Detective Inspector Hackett are both marvelous characters whose approach to solving crimes is always creative. In the entire Quirke series, Black has taken on the Catholic Church in Ireland for its despicable behavior, often criminal.
In "Even the Dead" he took a while to get to the Church, but when he did he made his usual powerful case. Who knows what influences our reaction to books? From the first paragraph, and with experience of four Quirkes some years ago, it took me by surprise that this felt more like Banville than Black. Perhaps I have been in a desert for a while but Even the Dead impressed as an atmospheric smoky piece, brimming with earthy description. And yes, the plot is still secondary to the interplay between Quirke and Hackett, and vague in construction and resolution, but I lapped this one up.
Jan 15, Margaret Madden rated it it was amazing Shelves: books-i-own , irish-fiction. Set in s Dublin, the City Morgue is where you'll find pathologist Quirke. Usually spotting anomalies among the anatomy When a body is discovered in Dublin's Phoenix Park, suicide is presumed. But Quirke's assistant minding the shop while his boss is on leave has his doubts and calls the pathologist back to base.
Before long, there is an investigation underway, with an old friend, Detective Hackett called in to 4. Before long, there is an investigation underway, with an old friend, Detective Hackett called in to muddle through the case. When a young girl disappears while under the care of Quirke's daughter, things get a little complicated.
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Politics, Church and State seem to be interlinked in this curious case and Quirke battles with his thoughts more than his desire for a drink, as he walks the streets of Dublin, searching for answers. Benjamin Black Is the pen name of acclaimed author John Banville, so you know you are going to get top notch writing. But are you going to get an engaging crime thriller from such a literary source?
The answer is a resounding yes. From page one you are plonked into the world of s Dublin, with its historical streets, murky past and reserved political and social atmosphere. Cleverly, the author uses strong female characters alongside the bare-minimum Quirke. Phoebe, his daughter, is an independent woman, living on her own and working full time for Dr. Evelyn Blake, a consultant psychiatrist. A new-fangled idea in Dublin at the time, psychiatry raises more than a few eyebrows yet Phoebe is delighted to work for Dr. There is also Rose, the wife of Quirke's step-brother who is a bored wealthy housewife but has a cutting personality and a free spirit.
Balancing these characters against the legal, procedural and clerical restraint of the time, Black has succeeded in drawing the reader into the story with subtly and questioning curiosity. While the narrative unfolds slowly, with different threads interlinked, there is a sense of loss at its conclusion. Quirke may have his flaws, but he also has an aura that seems to attract the ladies and upset the men, in equal measures.
His determination to reduce his alcohol intake is not rare by todays standards, but is still quite unusual in s Dublin. This, in itself, makes for interesting reading. The thrills are less obvious than a more contemporary based novel, yet the overall package is one of pure enjoyment. Characters are present without over description and their dialogue is what counts.
The reader can almost picture Quirke's observations, through his own eyes, while he walks the streets of Dublin and the pubs and hotels of the city are described in all their smoke-filled glory. Although this is book seven of the series, it can be read as a stand-alone novel. Quirke's back story, while interesting, is not essential to each case.
This is crime noir albeit set during a heatwave with flair. It is engaging, tense and subtle, with Dr. Quirke's shadowy figure staying with you, long after the last page is turned.
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A wonderful combination of history, intrigue and strong characters makes it come to life in your hands View 1 comment. Jul 05, Margaret McCann rated it did not like it. This is an unspeakably bad book. Which is perfectly fine, absolutely his own business, but Quirke is jaded by now, his daughter is stiffer than cardboard, and the jaunts around Dublin in the rare old times no longer lift the storyline past trite and silly. In the earlier books, Banville peeped and twinkled through the rain sodden windows, but he has long since faded into a grim and one-dimensional set piece.
Unspeakably, ridiculously bad. Quirke has be This is an unspeakably bad book. Quirke has become not a caracature Aug 29, Susan Angela Wallace rated it it was amazing. Even the dead by Benjamin Black. Two victims - one dead, one missing. Even the Dead is a visceral, gritty and cinematic thriller from Benjamin Black Every web has a spider sitting at the centre of it. Pathologist Quirke is back working in the city morgue, watching over Dublin's dead. When a body is found in a burnt-out car, Quirke is called in to verify the apparent suicide of an up-and-coming civil servant.
But Quirke can't shake a suspicion of foul play.
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The only witness has vanished, every tra Even the dead by Benjamin Black. The only witness has vanished, every trace of her wiped away. Piecing together her disappearance, Quirke finds himself drawn into the shadowy world of Dublin's elite - secret societies and high church politics, corrupt politicians and men with money to lose.
When the trail eventually leads to Quirke's own family, the past and present collide. But crimes of the past are supposed to stay hidden, and Quirke has shaken the web. Now he must wait to see what comes running out. Quirke is human enough to swell the hardest of hearts' GQ 'Quirke is an endearing hero and the Dublin of the s - wet, cold, foggy, sinister - is evoked with harsh realism and nostalgia' The Times 'A requiem for a cursed city, its inhabitants' inner lives doomed to remain as locked away, unhappy and unknowable as whatever lies buried' Metro Fantastic read with brilliant characters.
I really enjoyed this book. Didn't want it to end. Netgalley and penguin books UK. A young man is killed when his motorbike crashes into a tree. Quirke, a pathologist, is on sick leave, suffering from memory problems and attention lapses due to an injury he received some years earlier. But when his assistant begins to think that the young man's death was not due to either accident or suicide, he asks Quirke to come in to check his conclusions. Quirke agrees — it looks like the death was a murder. The victim is Leon Corless, son of a Communist politician, and th Disappointing The victim is Leon Corless, son of a Communist politician, and the police don't know whether Leon has been killed for something he has done or to get at his father, a man notorious for annoying people.
I recently read and loved The Blue Guitar , written by the same author under his other name of John Banville, and wondered how his writing style would transfer to the crime novel. The answer, I fear, is not terribly well, at least not as far as this book, the seventh in the Quirke series, is concerned. To be fair, looking at other reviews suggests this is not having universal praise heaped on it by even fans of the series, so I probably picked the wrong one to start on. The basic writing, as I expected, is excellent.
But the balance is totally wrong between the crime and all of Quirke's personal baggage, of which he has more than plenty. His daughter resents him for him having given her away at birth to his adopted brother and his wife to bring up. He has had many broken affairs, including with the aforesaid brother's new wife. His daughter is going out with his assistant. Quirke is a drinker, currently on the wagon, but with a history of going in and out of rehab. And so on and on.
His memory problems, which we hear about at excessive length for the first half of the book, are completely forgotten in the second half. Forgive the unintentional joke. The other thing that irritated me was that I had no real idea of when the book was supposed to be set. For a while I wasn't even sure if it was before or after WW2 — eventually I decided after, but still couldn't pin it down to '40s, '50s or possibly even '60s. Presumably some indication was given in previous books, but in this one it's all very vague.
Again, other reviews from people familiar with the series tell me it's the '50s. Dublin also failed to come to life. Street names and locations are mentioned but I got no feel for the life of this vibrant city. There were points when I actually forgot what the crime actually was, and writing this review two weeks after finishing the book, I'm struggling to recall much about it.
The vast bulk of the book is grossly over-padded with filler and the solving of the crime is rushed into the last section. And coincidentally without spoilers Quirke, his family and friends all seem to have a personal link to one aspect of it or another, and it appears to relate back to crimes in previous books. Add in a ridiculously unlikely love-at-first-sight affair, and all in all, this fairly short book felt very long indeed. In truth, I began to skip long passages of musings about life, the universe and everything, in the hopes that I might finally get to the promised thriller ending.
Sadly, I found the ending as flat as a pancake. I'm sure this will work better for people who have been following the series and have an emotional investment in the recurring characters, but as a standalone it left me pretty unimpressed. I'm still looking forward to reading more Banville, but I think I'll leave Benjamin Black on the shelf in the future.
Feb 04, Tuck rated it really liked it Shelves: noir , sailing-and-fighting. Christine Falls.
Jun 11, Mary Crawford rated it liked it. I enjoyed the nostalgia for Dublin in the 50s. The empathy for the father of the young man murdered is gently related through the relationship between Quirke and the Garda Hackett. I liked the ending though the novel felt like a swan song in tying up loose ends from previous books in the series. Aug 15, Colleen rated it really liked it Shelves: mystery. Black writes compellingly about the dour sides of s Dublin. Yet Quirke, despite his alcoholism and depression is engaged in his life and his family who are all full of secrets.
His descriptions of starting a sexual relationship with a woman his age is beautiful and real. Neither has many illusions about long lasting love, but both understand the need to find pleasure and kindness when they can. Sep 01, Jenny rated it really liked it. I loved it. Every Quirke novel was better than the last. There's a sense of closure with this one but I don't want it.
I love these people. I love inhabiting their world for a bit. Oct 01, Marguerite Kaye rated it really liked it. One of my favourite of the Quirke books I think - and sadly the last available at the moment, I do hope that more are in the pipeline. Quirke is recovering from what he thought was a brain tumour, but is probably the after effects of a battering he took in an earlier book.
He's been off the drink for a while, and he's in a different - maybe better - frame of mind, having also been away from work for a while. But of course he gets dragged back into everything - work, drink, family secrets and old One of my favourite of the Quirke books I think - and sadly the last available at the moment, I do hope that more are in the pipeline. But of course he gets dragged back into everything - work, drink, family secrets and old enemies. For me, the Quirke books are not about the murders so much as the psychology of those who investigate it.
Quirke's outlook on life is endlessly fascinating. He's such a dour, almost unlikable man, and yet he's so oddly confused by the world, he's compellingly endearing. This time around, there are some happy bits. Whether they will be sustained - it would seem unlikely. Unless this is the end of the series - no, no, no!!!!
Please come back Quirke, I want more. Beautifully observed characters and interactions making the invisible more visible. This ranges from the paradoxically broken-and-whole nature of Quirke himself, to the Irish mood of Dublin, to the entirely adult way he describes Quirke's affair. Loved the way older people apparently old enough to retire are portrayed as sexual beings! Jan 29, Kathy rated it really liked it. I am a fan of the Quirke series.
If a reader picked up this most recent book, I doubt they would be able to embrace this character. There are only a handful of brilliant descriptions I so love this author for. I would advise starting with the first and going forward as it would be impossible to appreciate the many threads that come to a satisfying close with this book. Early on in this book there are some very fine descriptions of brain damage from earlier beating Quirke suffered and the humoro I am a fan of the Quirke series.
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Early on in this book there are some very fine descriptions of brain damage from earlier beating Quirke suffered and the humorous description of his brain specialist: "Philbin had a long narrow head, the top of which was a slightly flattened, shiny curve, like the crust of a loaf. He was entirely bald save for a fringe of suspiciously black hair--did he dye it? He felt like Robinson Crusoe, grown old on his island. Quirke is drawn back from his rest and into action, once again working with Detective Inspector Hackett to solve a murder. The "messenger" serving to bring him back to life and thus off the island is in the person of David Sinclair, his daughter Phoebe's boyfriend and his own assistant in the pathology department of the hospital Hospital of the Holy Family.
Foreshadowing the tenuous position of Sinclair, he describes his ride to the hospital after being stranded for two months in his brother Mal's house: "Sinclair's car was a prematurely aged Morris Minor. It had suffered a lot of rough treatment for he was a terrible driver, sitting bolt upright and as far back as the seat would allow, his elbows stiff, seeming to hold the car at arm's length, stamping haphazardly on the pedals and poking around with the gear stick as if he were trying to clear a blocked drain. I am ok if this book winds it up, but perhaps there could be more. It's just nice to think we might leave Quirke as happy as he is capable of being, though the cigarettes ought to go along with the whiskey if he is fated to live on.
Justice in the end is delivered in spades with this book. Jan 02, Kathy Martin rated it liked it. This is the first Quirke mystery that I have read and I definitely felt that I was missing a considerable amount of backstory that would have answered some of my many questions. I did get the idea that Quirke has some problems with alcohol and that he has some unanswered questions about his heritage. It seems to me that the mystery - the suspicious death of a young man and the disappearance of his pregnant girlfriend - took the backseat to the internal battle that Quirke was facing.
It seemed to This is the first Quirke mystery that I have read and I definitely felt that I was missing a considerable amount of backstory that would have answered some of my many questions. It seemed to me that most of the characters, particularly Quirke, spent most of their time gazing into their own heads. Quirke calls in his friend in the police department, Hackett, when his assistant brings the suspicious death of a young man to his attention. Quirke has been on medical leave and it seems that he was more or less drifting. He was staying with his adopted brother who is a retired doctor and the doctor's second wife who had a previous relationship with Quirke.
The relationship between them seems uneasy. He abruptly moves back to his own apartment when he begins to investigate the case. Quirke also has an uneasy relationship with his daughter Phoebe at least in part because he gave her to his adoptive brother and his wife to raise when she was born.
She didn't know that he was her father until just a few years previous to this story and they are still trying to build a relationship. Phoebe comes to Quirke when a young woman she met in a secretarial course comes to her for help. The young woman is frightened and pregnant. When Phoebe goes back to the safe place where she put her, the young woman is missing.
Those cases come together when it is learned that the young woman was the murdered young man's girlfriend. As Quirke and Hackett investigate they soon find ties to old cases and old troubles. The story was lyrical and dream-like. I thought the pacing was slower than I am used to in most mysteries. It had some lovely, lyrical descriptions though. Fans of the series will want to read this one because Quirke comes to some conclusions that he finds earth shattering or, at least, Quirke shattering.
Newcomers may want to start at the beginning of the series to have a better understanding of the relationships that have already been built. Jan 23, Larraine rated it it was amazing. A lot of people would say this is a slow read, and they would be right. For this series, he dumbs it down a little, but it's still a slow, thoughtful read. One review said that Quirke, his quirky I don't think it's a coincidence! The book opens with Quirke in a self imposed drying out period. He hasn't worked in a while, leaving A lot of people would say this is a slow read, and they would be right.
He hasn't worked in a while, leaving is able assistant, Dr. Sinclair, to do all of the work without the title. He's been living with his brother and his wife with whom he once had an affair. Then Sinclair asks him to look at a body of a young man killed in what, at first, seems like a horrific auto accident. Sinclair sees a wound on the skull that is inconsistent with the accident and agrees that a murder was involved. Of course, he contacts his friend, Inspector Hackett, and the two begin an investigation.
We learn that the young man is the son of a well known Communist Party member who had fought in the Spanish Civil War on the side of the Loyalists. At the same time, a young woman who took a secretarial course with Phoebe, Quirke's daughter, contacts her and says she is in fear of her life. Then she disappears. Of course the two are connected. The murder is, of course, far more complicated.
The end was far more satisfactory than a lot of the others though. In his first book, the well known Magdalen Laundries made their appearance. There is one here also. Everyone knows what they do, but this is 's Ireland where Holy Mother Church is in everyone's business both public and private as the author explains.
So if you are offended by this kind of thing, this is not the book for you. The problem is that Stern proves a lousy detective. His predicament only worsens when another body is found. Despite his claims to prodigious intelligence, Stern is both careless and naive. Dazzled by his new status and helpless in the face of his own impulses, he ricochets through Prague in a state of almost permanent intoxication, drunk not only on the plentiful liquor but on sex, novelty and, most of all, fear. He may have no idea who killed Kroll but he knows only too well the fate of those who displease the emperor.
A conventional whodunit would be fatally undone by so feckless a protagonist, but Prague Nights is not a conventional whodunit. Stern fails to take the warning, but the stage is set. As the sophisticated and ruthless masters of court diplomacy move him like a chess piece from square to square to achieve their own ends, it is not the mystery of the two murders but the creeping sense of the net tightening around Stern himself that drives the narrative, slowly revealing a power struggle that threatens to undermine the emperor.
Prague Nights is published by Viking. Topics Crime fiction Book of the day. Fiction John Banville reviews.