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The Silver Swan: A Novel (Quirke #2) (Paperback)
Postage cost can't be calculated. Please enter a valid postcode. Why does he, Quirke, care? In his stubborn way, Quirke is like a dog with a bone: he knows he should bury it but he Dublin pathologist Quirke cannot seem to tame his curiosity. In his stubborn way, Quirke is like a dog with a bone: he knows he should bury it but he can't seem to quit gnawing on it.
At the same time he's attempting to discover Deidre's fatal secrets, he's also trying to get closer to his daughter, who has only recently learned of the true biological relationship between them. In a word, Quirke's life is still messy, which makes his character both realistically annoying and somehow endearing. Women can't seem to help falling for him even while he works to sidestep anything that smacks of a relationship. Balancing Quirke's dogged efforts at detection are a host of odd characters and suspects: Deidre Hunt Laura Swan , the deceased former proprietor of The Silver Swan salon, as well as business partner and mistress to Leslie White; Billy Hunt, Deidre's husband and Quirke's former classmate; Leslie White, a somewhat effete scam artist who Quirke senses is central to Deidre's untimely end; Kate, Leslie's wife, who has kicked him out and now finds herself attracted to Quirke; Dr.
Kreutz, spiritual healer, who is running his own scam on the women he treats, including Deidre; and Phoebe, Quirke's daughter, who is depressed and angry at her father and who also falls under Leslie White's spell. In this excellent sequel, Jonathan Black demonstrates his considerable storytelling skills in juggling all these characters and their stories. Some stories are told from the character's perspective; some are told from a more omniscient view.
But eventually all merge together and lead to a satisfying conclusion. If there is one failing in this book it's that the reader keeps wishing to see more of Quirke. There's a certain level of frustration and tension created by the scarcity of the main character—but then, that's the magic and mystery of Quirke. Despite the clouds that follow him everywhere, I am definitely looking forward to his return. Jul 25, Larraine rated it it was amazing. In the novel preceding this one, Christine Falls, we meet Dr.
Quirke, an obsessive and trouble pathologist in an Irish hospital. In that novel, Quirke discovers his brother-in-law altering the file of a dead woman. Quirke, who describes himself as "curious," retrieves and examines the young woman's body. Before we know it, he has discovered a ring of illegal adoptions run by the Catholic Church in Ireland.
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In this second novel in the series, Quirke is back - still obsessive, still curious. He's In the novel preceding this one, Christine Falls, we meet Dr. He's given up drinking and, so, as a widower with a daughter who grew up thinking of him as her uncle, he has nobody to go home to at night and nowhere to go. Instead he takes long walks and thinks about his life. This second book in the Quirke series, tells the story of a bizarre suicide of a young woman married to someone Quirke knew at university.
Billy Hunt calls Quirke in tears begging him not to do an autopsy. Ireland is still run by the church in this post WWII period. If her suicide is made public, there will be a scandal, plus she will be refused burial by the Church. Quirke agrees but then notices a needle mark. Soon his obsessive curiosity leads him to try to learn exactly what happened. We learn that the dead woman, Deirdre Hunt, had adopted the name of Laura Swan when she met Leslie White, a swave, silver-haired con man. They open an upscale salon and, for a while, things are going well.
Deirdre has a new car, new refrigerator and is looking forward to a mink coat. However, things soon fall apart. This is not a fast read. The author's protagonist, Quirke, thinks deeply about everything and approaches his curiosity with obsession laced with care. A review of Christine Falls described the book as an onion the reader unfolds until they get to the rotten core.
That's a good description of this one also.
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In Quirke's and Benjamin Black's world there is darkness and corruption behind the facade of the happy Irish face. Reading this can make you feel slightly gritty at the end, but the language is worth the risk. Sep 14, Karen A. This was like Masterpiece Mystery without the Master. Something I would normally watch if there is nothing else on. The main detective, Quirke, who is actually a coroner for the city of Dublin, is a conflicted man, haunted by his past blah blah blah so much so that he is really ineffectual and mostly a non-character through out the book.
This makes me wonder how you build a series around such a man?? The other characters are only slightly more intriguing. There is Diedre Hunt who Meh!! There is Diedre Hunt who discovers her inner self and eventual demise with the help of slimy Leslie White, a charming sex and heroin addict.
The jealous husband is also a non-player until the very end. The only real character of interest is the one the author sets up as Quirke's nemesis. This is the inspector of the police who has a family, is very full of bluster, and knows Quirke is witholding key evidence, and who actually solves the crime of who killed Dierde Hunt. The fact that this is 's Ireland is lost - in fact until I read the back cover I thought it was taking place in contemporary Ireland.
Aug 08, Julie Christine rated it really liked it Shelves: mystery-crime-thriller , ireland-theme-setting. Black is back! Whereas I didn't find the central characters as engaging as Christine Falls, this was still crime noir par excellence. It feels that Black aka Banville is setting the stage for future Quirke mysteries that center on the story more than on Quirke's troubled personal life.
Christine Falls was rife with the melodrama surrounding Quirke's relationships. Dublin is really a big village, so what is secret cannot remain so for long. Quirke struggles with sobriety and loneliness; his beloved niece, er, daughter struggles with bitterness and depression. It's all very bleak but with the warmth of the characters, the racy intrigue and Quirke's gentle giant humanity, it is an utter pleasure to read. I anxiously await the next installment. Apr 24, Carolee rated it it was amazing Recommends it for: Mystery readers. The relationship is full of unspoken and typically poor communication and misunderstandings as in the world today.
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Also, I didn't understand Quirke's closedness to the officials he worked with. Perhaps the previous book explained that mystery and I haven't read it yet. I especially like the realistic epilog, don't skip it. Jul 07, Leah rated it it was ok. Also, it is not necessary to reiterate that Phoebe, who is Quirke's daughter was not raised as his daughter, and the circumstances surrounding that revelation EVERY TIME the relationship is mentioned - really enough already.
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I love the setting of the series and the noir feel. View 1 comment. An intelligent,engaging psychological thriller from Black where he takes you to the big bad world of Ireland in the 50's with its share of characters with unfulfilled desires and dark minds out there to take advantage of it. Flushed out characters and poetic description of the surrounding background populated with quirky characters,makes reading of this novel such an interesting and pleasurable activity.
Dec 17, AuthorsOnTourLive! Benjamin Black is the pen name of acclaimed author John Banville, whose novels have won numerous awards, most recently the Man Booker Prize in for The Sea.
In this haunting, masterfully written, and utterly mesmerizing sequel to Christine Falls , Quirke, the irascible, formerly hard-drinking Dublin pathologist, returns in this spellbinding crime novel, in which a young woman's dubious suicide sets off a new string of hazards and deceptions. Apr 09, Kay rated it really liked it. Quotable Quote: What had he done?
What had he done, that is, that he had not already been punished for, many times over?
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