37 of 38 people found the following review helpful
Narrative Strong Enough to Keep the Pages Turning,
This review is from: Elegy for April (Quirke, Book 3) (Hardcover)
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Program (What's this?)"Elegy for April" is a new mystery novel by Benjamin Black: a none too mysterious pen name for award-winning Irish author John Banville. Under this pseudonym, he has penned Christine Falls: A Novel and The Silver Swan: A Novel. "Christine" was nominated for both the Edgar and the Macavity awards for Best Novel, and was a New York Times Best Seller.
"Elegy," like "Christine," (I've not read "Silver Swan"), is set in 1950's Dublin, the author's home town, presumably the better to continue beating it up for its stultifying social life, deeply conservative patriarchal mores, and oligarchy by the Catholic Church and select prominent families. It centers again on Quirke, the hard-drinking pathologist, adopted himself into a prominent family, who gets involved in helping his only recently acknowledged daughter Phoebe search for a friend of hers who has just mysteriously disappeared. That would be April Lavery, also of a locally prominent family, a junior doctor at the same hospital in which Quirke, and his stepbrother/brother-in-law Malachy work. April is her family's black sheep; for example, she's currently been seeing Patrick, a handsome, charismatic Nigerian student of surgery.
Fortunately, in "Elegy," Black tends to restrict his ever so Irish `literary' writing to the description of Dublin's winter, which comes out sounding so bone-chilling I was reminded of the old joke that you wouldn't want to move to/live in Ireland unless they put a roof on it. The writing overall is quite good, dialog, narrative, descriptive, and the plot is reasonably complex. The author also tells us quite a lot about an Alvis, a beautiful, pricey car Quirke decides to buy, without knowing how to drive. Furthermore, in "Elegy," Black does do better by his mystery elements than he did in "Christine," at least to my taste. The mystery is much better paced and developed, and does not rely, as did "Christine," on confusing the reader. And I found the narrative of this book was strong enough to keep me turning the pages.
Tracked by 1 customer
Sort: Oldest first | Newest first
Showing 1-10 of 12 posts in this discussion
Initial post: May 30, 2010 6:07:22 PM PDT
nice review but giving away the
'no body found' was more than I wanted.
In reply to an earlier post on May 31, 2010 6:08:44 AM PDT
Prisrob, You know, I thought about it long and hard, too, guess I'll try some more,
Posted on Jun 8, 2010 12:45:39 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Aug 4, 2012 4:52:49 AM PDT
Stephanie! You removed the "no body found!"
Nice review, by the way. I just finished ELEGY and found it the best of the series! I don't think you really missed much with THE SILVER SWAN. More of sad Phoebe and her ill choices in men.
And I'm very intrigued with the actress Isabel. See my review (rather an answer to a review) written a few days ago if you feel so inclined. I love the Black/Banville 1950's Dublin which was still the same when I first visited in 1986!
In reply to an earlier post on Jun 8, 2010 4:01:35 PM PDT
Janebbooks, Liked your review, indeed. Also liked Elegy for April, guess I didn't like Christine Falls enough to want to read Silver Swan. Might double back, someday.
Thing is, I did think long and hard about " no body found," wondered if people would find it a spoiler. SO, if they do, didn't mind cutting that sentence,
In reply to an earlier post on Jun 9, 2010 3:56:37 AM PDT
Stephanie, do you think Black/Banville will write more Quirke mysteries or did he have a three book contract with Henry Holt?
By the way, thanks for reading my review of a review for Elegy. But did you have to give me a NO vote? As a VINE member, do you ever get used to No votes?
In reply to an earlier post on Jun 9, 2010 6:07:23 AM PDT
Jane, I liked the review of yours that I read. I didn't give you a No vote on it. I didn't give you a yes either, that'd be voting against myself, I do give yeses to other people's reviews, but not generally on same books as me, but I don't think I've ever given anyone a No, and doubt I ever would. I really hate them, they come down in numbers on some of my most blameless little reviews.
In reply to an earlier post on Jun 9, 2010 10:14:27 AM PDT
Last edited by the author on Jun 9, 2010 10:39:14 AM PDT
Thanks for the reply, Stephanie.
Looks like someone went through all the reviews and gave "no" votes! My review was third then slipped away to something way down the line. By the way, I also post my reviews on the Mystery Cafe discussion on the mystery community forums. Come over and join the discussions! There's the Nordic discussion there also...but I get most of my recommendations from Mystery Cafe.
And you do write nice blameless little reviews! I'll be looking for more!
In reply to an earlier post on Jun 9, 2010 3:02:29 PM PDT
A lot of people wish Amazon would eliminate the unhelpful votes, they can be very malicious, particularly on Vine reviews, but, so far, no luck.... Not familiar with mystery community boards, that's odd, isn't it, will hafta look into, altho, with one thing and another, not really looking for more mysteries, or anything else, for that matter, I also post on Amazon UK, and they request many things,
In reply to an earlier post on Jun 9, 2010 3:42:27 PM PDT
Just went looking for Mystery Cafe, came up empty, and a number of mystery communities. Where's it hiding?
In reply to an earlier post on Jun 10, 2010 12:01:34 PM PDT
Right below these postings on the left is a box called The Mystery community. Click on Explore the community, then click on See the 606 discussions. About seven discussions down is my favorite thread, Mystery Readers' Cafe: Come on in and join the conversation.
By the way, have you reviewed or read any Canadian mysteries? Giles Blunt or Louise Penny?