Christine Falls, Paperback Book
4.5 out of 5 (1 rating)


Quirke's pathology department, set deep beneath the city, is his own gloomy realm: always quiet, always night, and always under his control.

Until late one evening after a party he stumbles across a body that should not be there - and his brother-in-law falsifying the corpse's cause of death.

This is the first time Quirke has encountered Christine Falls, but the investigation he decides to lead into the way she lived and died uncovers a dark secret at the heart of Dublin's high Catholic network; one with the power to shake his own family and everything he holds dear. `A superb stylist . . . His control and pacing cannot be faulted, and the final outcome is almost unbearably moving . . .You're in for a treat' Michael Dibdin, Guardian `Succeeds sensationally . . . An absorbing plot, beguiling characters and evocative settings . . . His pacing is impeccable' Marcel Berlins, The Times `A gripping, beautifully crafted thriller . . . A one sitting-read, an all-night enticement' Scotsman


  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 416 pages
  • Publisher: Pan Macmillan
  • Publication Date:
  • Category: Crime & mystery
  • ISBN: 9780330445320

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How impressive - a crime novel brimming with imagery so vivid that, at times, the smells evoked assaulted my senses; and with such clarity of words, that, at other times, I found myself, almost unwillingly, witnessing events as if first-hand!Set in the 1950s, <i>Christine Falls</i> follows the consequences after pathologist Quirke, retreating quite drunk from a hospital party one night, encounters his brother-in-law, obstetrician Malachy Griffin, out of place, in his office, altering the findings in a report. From some subconscious depth, due to an intrinsic 'quirk' of personality, much like a snow-ball effect, Quirke becomes helplessly, uncharacteristically, ensnared in the circumstances of this particular case; the death of Christine Falls. The more he delves, the more his family becomes entangled in the investigation; and the deeper he delves, the further the convoluted familial relationships between so many impact; until a web of corruption of a society from Dublin to Boston becomes unravelled.This is a sordid tale crammed with condemnable incidents – from the abject to the inexcusable – and with no character left unsoiled. The satisfaction is in the mundane but detailed observances and reactions the author deftly applies, to each situation and to all the participants, offering such interesting distinctions and descriptions that they fascinate and repulse simultaneously. There are times when the reader knows more than Quirke; times when Quirke is not at all forthcoming to the reader; and times, it must be said, that happenstances occur a little too neatly.Amongst all this Benjamin Black masterfully builds the persona of Quirke, whose attributes and true character, so long buried beneath a whiskey bottle, reluctantly surface as Christine ‘falls’ into his domain; Quirke’s life is the real story, perhaps even crime, here. A big man, often uncomfortable in his surroundings, unable to fully reconcile his past, purposely disregarding much of it, his story remains unfinished; his ending to-date untidy, his indifference returning to haunt him in the bleakness of his world, a world very different from today.Still, there is much to like about Quirke in this book and much more to narrate. As the crimes themselves are revealed so too is Mr Quirke. Who knows, maybe, in time we will even elicit his first name – telling, that omission of one word amongst a veritable feast of others. Perfect, a further mystery to unfold.

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