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Christine Falls by Benjamin Black
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Christine Falls

by Benjamin Black

Series: Quirke (1)

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1,7051024,171 (3.46)280
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English (94)  Spanish (4)  German (2)  Danish (2)  French (1)  Catalan (1)  All languages (104)
Showing 1-5 of 94 (next | show all)
A well crafted book in the Noir mystery genre. ( )
  add_dragon | Mar 26, 2016 |
This book, the start of a new series (of course) has been on and off of my radar since it came out. Mixed reviews kept me away from it, but my library had it so I gave it a go and as a result I might read another, but I’m not that enthusiastic. See, as decent as the plot, atmosphere and pacing were, the writing and the wish-fulfillment aspects of the book were eye-rolling a times. The ham-fisted warning off of Quirke (like that ever works), the easy-to-spot father of the stolen baby, the tired Catholic-church-as-villain and the magic sex appeal of the main character (who also can fight through an injury that should have basically crippled him) - all of it is a bit much. I did like the subtle way the author set the story in the 1950s; I knew it wasn’t modern, but we weren’t told the date right off. Nicely done. And the pacing is pretty good, there’s enough of a lull between action scenes, but not too much. And the secrets and slights in the Griffin family dynamic are revealed at well-timed intervals. There is a larger story-arc in that family scenario, and I might come back to see what happens next, but it might not be right away. ( )
  Bookmarque | Feb 11, 2016 |
I was quite looking forward to this mystery set in 1950s Ireland. I knew that it was written by Booker winner John Banville. The subject matter of the Magdalene Laundries (Joni Mitchell song about this topic), where the Catholic Church shamed young pregnant women, stole their babies and sold them to adoptive families is interesting to me and a novel setting for a mystery. However, this book was quite male in perspective and very sad? dark? brooding? The question marks are there because I generally like books that are sad, dark and brooding as long as it is in keeping with the characters and subject matter. I'm just not sure. Perhaps bleak is a better description. Oddly, I'm likely to try one more in the series hoping that the next has a shift in tone. Hope springs eternal. ( )
  nancyewhite | Dec 31, 2015 |
Its unbelievable that this book has been nominated for an Edgar award!
Christine Falls, written by John Banville using the name Benjamin Black, is a mystery set in Ireland and also in eastern U.S.
Pathologist Quirke stumbles upon his brother-in-law falsifying the file of one Christine Falls. This sets in motion Quirke’s investigation of who Christine was, how she ended up in the morgue, and what happened to the child she was carrying at the time of her death.
Sure Black uses lots of fancy metaphors in an attempt to create an atmospheric story, but they become redundant and downright irritating. Both Quirke and one of the nuns have problems walking, but couldn’t Black have thought of more than one way to describe their plights? Examples:
Pg. 96: “…dragging her hip after her like a mother dragging a stubborn child.”
Pg. 213: “He shifted uneasily, his huge leg tugging at him like a surly, intractable child."
Pg. 275: “...swinging himself forward on his stick he yanked himself from the room, like an angry parent dragging away a stubbornly recalcitrant child.”
Enough!!
The men can’t keep their penises in their pants. Women throw themselves at Quirke (Why?? He isn’t portrayed as all that attractive.), the most laughable being a nurse who comes out of nowhere in the hospital after Quirke is beaten up, and jumps him. The women characters are for the most part portrayed as “damaged”, fragile, and weak.
NOT RECOMMENDED! ( )
  BooksOn23rd | Nov 25, 2015 |
Not sure what to say. Good enough to keep the pages turning, but strangely dissatisfying at the end. Good enough, I guess, that I might give the Quirke series another go at some time. ( )
  VashonJim | Sep 5, 2015 |
Showing 1-5 of 94 (next | show all)
In his decision to write a straightforward, no-nonsense thriller about transatlantic baby-smuggling and the Catholic Church, John Banville, a veritable emperor of baroque prose, has not so much taken a vow of poverty as put in a sly bid to extend and reinforce his stylistic dominion. ... Those familiar with Banville will have expected nothing less; the neophyte, however, who picks up this racy little number anticipating nothing more than a night of brisk casual thrills may soon be surprised to find himself in the grips of a literary passion he had not gambled on.
 
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She was glad it was the evening mailboat she was taking, for she did not think she could face a morning departure.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Benjamin Black, pseud. used by John Banville.
Original title: Christine Falls
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It's not the dead that seem strange to Quirke. It's the living. One night, after a few drinks at an office party, Quirke shuffles down into the morgue where he works and finds his brother-in-law, Malachy, altering a file he has no business even reading. Odd enough in itself to find Malachy there, but the next morning, when the haze has lifted, it looks an awful lot like his brother-in-law, the esteemed doctor, was in fact tampering with a corpse - and concealing the cause of death. It turns out the body belonged to a young woman named Christine Falls. And as Quirke reluctantly presses on toward the true facts behind her death, he comes up against some insidious, and very well-guarded, secrets of Dublin's high Catholic society, among them members of his own family.… (more)

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