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Elegy for April (Quirke Series #3)
     

Elegy for April (Quirke Series #3)

3.8 23
by Benjamin Black
 

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The New York Times Bestselling Author of Christine Falls

April Latimer, a junior doctor at a local hospital, is something of a scandal in the conservative and highly patriarchal society of 1950s Dublin. She's known for being independent, and her taste in men is decidedly unconventional. Now April has vanished, and her friend Phoebe Griffin

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Elegy for April (Quirke Series #3) 3.8 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 23 reviews.
harstan More than 1 year ago
In 1950s Dublin, Dr. April Latimer apparently vanished; at least that is what her best friend Phoebe Griffin believes. She failed to meet the group at the Dolphin Hotel as she always does though the other members (Patrick Ojukwu, Isabel Galloway and Jimmy Minor) seem less concerned. Phoebe called the Hospital of Holy Family where April is a resident, but was told her pal called in ill. Desperate April asks her "Uncle" Quirke the pathologist to investigate. She only recently learned he, not his recently widowed brother-in-law Malachy Griffin, was her biological father who gave her up when her mom died in childbirth. Although in detox at the House of St. John's, Quirke would do anything for his "niece". As he investigates what happened to the niece of a government minister, Quirke begins to unravel the worst in humanity as he finds the Latimer family conceals abuse and brutality within their circle so as to remain influential, the Catholic Church condoning people like the Latimer brood with their silent acceptance of abuse and brutality, and finally the community de facto collective racism that accepts abuse and brutality towards a white Catholic female and a Nigerian expatriate who must never fall in love. However, even as Quirke works the darkest streets, all roads lead to the convergence of the Dolphin Hotel group with her family. The latest Quirke historical thriller (see Silver Swan and Christine Falls) condemns Ireland for its enabling the Church and the aristocracy to get away with what should have been criminal activity. Containing a strong cast, the fast-paced well written inquiry with brilliant final twists grips the reader throughout as Ireland is exposed for ignoring the shortcomings of moral institutions. Harriet Klausner
SAHARATEA More than 1 year ago
Crime fiction has no shortage of brooding crime-solvers, and it's usually their vices and complications that make them so memorable. In Benjamin Black's new novel, Elegy for April, the "facilitator" is Dr. Quirke, a pathologist who doesn't investigate crimes as much as he observes the key players and encourages them to talk and communicate until the mystery is revealed. His perception and the way he moves people is the key to the solution, rather than typical detective techniques. Dr. Quirke is one of the most memorable characters I've run across lately, and this novel is an engaging read that constantly offers surprises and complications. The biggest surprise to me is that it is not politically correct: Quirke is a raging alcoholic and the book begins with him leaving his treatment center, and he manages a few hours of sobriety. His drinking is stupendous, with blackouts and all, and yet the author doesn't try and preach anything from it nor romanticize it. It's a refreshing change that makes Quirke's character that much more sympathetic. Other complications in his life, such as his relationship with his daughter and several women, also demonstrate conflict without resolution. He clearly doesn't have all the answers, yet he's able to help solve the disappearance of April with subtle questions. Several things really struck me about this book, clearly an example of Dublin Noir. Sure, there's rain in most of those style books, but Elegy for April features rain, sleet, mist, hoarfrost, fog, and drizzle. Black uses these weather features to illustrate twists to the plot and factors in the mystery, without ever getting cutesy or formulaic. Additionally, many scenes feature characters looking in or looking out of windows, and the symbolism of introspection and separation from the outside world is clear. This aspect of the main characters is especially telling, yet done subtly. Lastly, the other symbolism in the story is the archetypical meanings of black and white, light and dark. Characters step into shadow, out of bright rooms, into shadowed corridors, under bright streetlights, and into gloomy booths. The contrasts between the light and dark are intertwined with the story and it creates an air of tension and suspense. Quirke himself uses the analogy of an ocean to observe: "All around lay the surface of the ocean, seeming all that there is to see and know, in calm or tempest, while, underneath, lay a wholly other world of things, hidden, with other kinds of creatures, flashing darkly in the deeps." If this were ever made into a movie, I'd hope they'd film it in black and white to keep the feel and mood of it united. It's set apart from other mysteries because much is left unresolved, as happens in real life. My only critique of it was that it ended rather abruptly after a tense buildup through the greater part of the book. I think I simply didn't want to let go of the mood and characters. Altogether though, I enjoyed this and intend to seek out Black's earlier books that feature Dr. Quirke.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I live the descriptive writing in these mysteries.
MexicoDan More than 1 year ago
I've read almost everything he's written. Never disappointed.
jlessl More than 1 year ago
I really enjoyed this book. A mystery with heart about relationships; a truly complex and intriguing story.
RANYC More than 1 year ago
Benjamin Black's mystery series is great. I can never resist a good Irish murder mystery, and these are among the best. I've only been to Dublin once, but when I read Black's books, it feels like I've lived there forever.
teachman More than 1 year ago
I loved Christine Falls and Silver Swan. Benjamin Black is just okay on plots but when the writing is this good you shouldn't care.
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