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Christine Falls: Quirke Mysteries Book 1

Christine Falls: Quirke Mysteries Book 1 [Kindle Edition]

Benjamin Black
3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (71 customer reviews)

Print List Price: £7.99
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Product Description


'...the imagery is unforgettable' -- Guardian

'A breath of fresh air...a potently involving and deftly evolving intrigue...A dark pleasure'
-- Sunday Times

'A strong debu...This is a literary thriller that merits the name'
-- Daily Telegraph

'Black's narrative seems to unravel of its own accord, echoing the rythmns of Joyce and James' -- Observer

'The beautifully turned plotting and the sensitive and intelligent evocation of 1950's Dublin is pure pleasure'
-- Good Book Guide

'The plotting's watertight, the setting crackingly criminal and the language a cut above your usual potboiler'
-- Evening Standard

'the imagery is unforgettable.' -- Guardian


'the imagery is unforgettable.'

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 791 KB
  • Print Length: 388 pages
  • Publisher: Mantle; Media tie-in edition (9 April 2008)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B003DWC6K4
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (71 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #37,662 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Whiskey galore 16 Dec 2008
By Michael Watson TOP 1000 REVIEWER VINE VOICE
For someone who doesn't like hard liquor, Dr. Quirke manages very well at disguising this. In fact, the story is something of a disguise from the outset.

Altered death certificate, orphaned babies dispatched in secret to USA, an uncle, a father, a whole miasma of family members, each with a secret to hide, the Catholic Church with a secret to hide. There's more but the list is too long.

I'd never heard of the author nor did I buy the book because of his literary prowess once I'd read the blurb. I was intrigued by a crime story set in 1950s Dublin. And I was not disappointed.

I care not if the plot was fairly predictable since I was looking for atmosphere, characterization and a moving (in more ways than one) storyline. I loved the emotionally cold Quirke, a pathologist who, finally in his life, wanted to do something good, something which would make a difference. He does and it did - to every character in the book - and there are many.

The story is well reviewed elsewhere. Suffice for me to say that this is a book I throughly enjoyed. I read it in one sitting as I became involved in the route Quirke was taking. My only criticism is that the ending seemed rather a cop-out; I would have loved to have followed the results to their bitter end, if only to see if Quirke really had succeeded in his goal. We can only hope and, as the saying goes, 'it is better to travel in hope than...'!
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51 of 53 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars "We all have our own kinds of sin." 30 Oct 2007
With the same care that he devotes to his "serious" fiction, Booker Prize-winning author John Banville, under the pen name of "Benjamin Black," plumbs Dublin's Roman Catholic heritage in a mystery which examines the question of sin. The result is a vibrantly alive, intensely realized story of Dublin life and values in the 1950s--a mystery which makes the reader think at the same time that s/he is being entertained. Unlike most of the characters, Quirke, the main character, holds no awe for the church. In his early forties, "big and heavy and awkward," Quirke is a pathologist/coroner at Holy Family Hospital, a man who "prizes his loneliness as mark of some distinction." A realist, he has seen the dark side of life too often to hold out much hope for the future, his own or anyone else's.

His vision of humanity is not improved when he goes to his office unexpectedly one evening and finds his brother-in-law, famed obstetrician Malachy Griffin, altering documents regarding the death of a young woman, Christine Falls. Quirke's autopsy of Christine shows, not surprisingly, that she has died in childbirth, a "fallen woman" in the eyes of the church. The nature of Christine's sin, however, does not begin to compare to the sins that Quirke uncovers during his investigation of her death and the fate of her child.

John Banville (Black) has always been at least as interested in character as plot, and this novel is no exception. Quirke lived in an orphanage before being unofficially adopted by Judge Garrett Griffin, father of Dr. Malachy Griffin, who is obviously involved in the case.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Not so much a mystery as an exploration 22 Oct 2009
I really enjoyed this book. While agreeing that it wasn't the mystery novel it was hyped up as being - nor were there the insights into pathology that you get from Waking the Dead or Silent Witness - it was the first novel that I have read that attempts to portray post-colonial, de Valera's Catholic-constitutioned Ireland of the 1950s. It was dark and atmospheric, and succeeded in portraying a the perspective of a man who couldn't go along with the secrecy and hypocrisy of the times, who was probably a product of some shameful tryst, hence his early upbringing in an orphanage. Another reviewer stated that today we know about what went on in Ireland at that time, that it's been well documented. The point is, it hadn't at that time and no one talked about it. Quirke is flawed, but brave. The novel is elegantly written with fine attention to the choice of words. I disagree with the reviewer who thought it could be set anywhere - a number of street names in the book are real, placing it firmly in Dublin. My niggle (and it's a tiny one) is the use of the surname and omission of a forename - it's been done before by Colin Dexter.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderfully written 6 May 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Unlike most detective fiction, this first novel in Benjamin Black's Quirke series is worth reading simply for the writing alone. Not surprising, given that Black is in fact Booker Prize winning novelist John Banville. That said, I absolutely hated Banville's 'The Sea', so was very surprised to enjoy this opener in the Quirke series as much as I did.

If anything, it's light on plot, driven instead by the atmosphere of 1950's Dublin and the wonderful characters. Quirke becomes a more tortured, darker soul as the book unravels, setting things up nicely for future stories, no doubt. The darker side of the Catholic church is also exposed, and, although it's been done in other books as it's familiar theme, it's handled well here. All the characters are vibrant, flawed people; you may not warm to many of them, but they are certainly real and plausible. Black also weaves in a sub-plot involving characters in Boston, tying the two strands of the book up in the third stage of the novel. It feels a little contrived towards the end, but the writing never flags, and it is the crisp, direct style, the beautifully drawn atmosphere (almost cinematic, like something Sam Mendes might direct) - that keeps you rivetted as a reader. It's like Chandler crossed with the very best of Irish writers.

This is one of the few crime/mystery genre novels that I think would bear a second reading, the style is that good. Already looking forward to more in the series. Superbly crafted, superior fiction.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
Book was bought as a present for someone else and I won't be reading it.
Published 20 days ago by John Arnold
4.0 out of 5 stars Good read, but not really tempted to read more ...
Bought the book after I watched the programme on the TV. Good read, but not really tempted to read more of his books.
Published 1 month ago by Alison
5.0 out of 5 stars I love every one of the Quirke books
I love every one of the Quirke books, they are brilliant and hope there will be another, though I realise the author is a busy man.
Published 2 months ago by Finporter
5.0 out of 5 stars Beautifully written, conjuring up the brooding atmosphere of the ...
Beautifully written, conjuring up the brooding atmosphere of the Film Noir as if seen through a perpetual Irish mist instead of the proverbial half-open blind.
Published 2 months ago by Barbara Pappe
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Sorry I've not finished it yet but so far very good
Published 3 months ago by Joy Luff
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
very happy with this item
Published 3 months ago by rasher
2.0 out of 5 stars A cure for insomnia .
Too slow ,a cure for insomnia !.
Published 3 months ago by jam
4.0 out of 5 stars A very promising debut
Since first introducing the pathologist, Dr Quirke, in this book in 2006, the 2005 Booker Prizewinner, John Banville [writing as Benjamin Black] has written six more mystery... Read more
Published 3 months ago by Dr R
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Brilliant read
Published 3 months ago by Mary Murray
3.0 out of 5 stars Three Stars
ok read but not my kind of book
Published 3 months ago by dorothy
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