Elegy for April

Benjamin Black

Elegy for April

1950’s Ireland. As a deep, bewildering fog cloaks Dublin, a young woman is found to have vanished. When Phoebe Griffin, still haunted by the horrors of her past, is unable to discover news of her friend; Quirke, fresh from drying out in an institution, responds to his daughter’s request for help. But as Phoebe, Quirke and Inspector Hackett speak with those who knew April, they begin to realise that there may have been more behind the young woman’s discretion and secrecy than they could have imagined. And while Quirke finds himself distracted from his sobriety by a beautiful young actress, Phoebe watches helplessly as April’s family hush up her disappearance, terrified of a scandal; and all possible leads seem to dry up, bar one she cannot bear to contemplate... 3.8 out of 5 based on 8 reviews
Elegy for April

Omniscore:

Classification Fiction
Genre Crime, Thrillers & Mystery
Format Hardback
Pages 320
RRP £16.99
Date of Publication October 2010
ISBN 978-0330509046
Publisher Mantle
 

1950’s Ireland. As a deep, bewildering fog cloaks Dublin, a young woman is found to have vanished. When Phoebe Griffin, still haunted by the horrors of her past, is unable to discover news of her friend; Quirke, fresh from drying out in an institution, responds to his daughter’s request for help. But as Phoebe, Quirke and Inspector Hackett speak with those who knew April, they begin to realise that there may have been more behind the young woman’s discretion and secrecy than they could have imagined. And while Quirke finds himself distracted from his sobriety by a beautiful young actress, Phoebe watches helplessly as April’s family hush up her disappearance, terrified of a scandal; and all possible leads seem to dry up, bar one she cannot bear to contemplate...

Reviews

The Los Angeles Times

Richard Rayner

Elegy for April is filled with thematic gloom, yet the writing sparkles ... John Banville, writing as John Banville, is a deep-dish writer, always dazzling, sometimes overwrought; when adopting the Benjamin Black persona, he relaxes, though the results, stylistically speaking, are no less striking.

16/04/2010

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The Daily Mail

Carla McKay

It may be heresy to say so, but I almost prefer Benjamin Black’s books to those of John Banville … Black brings all the elegance and intellectual rigour of his literary output to this evocative crime series.

18/11/2010

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The Scotsman

Allan Massie

Dr Quirke is himself an engaging and credible character. To some extent he is a conventional crime novel hero: victim of a damaged childhood, a lonely man, alcoholic, given to depression, ill-at-ease with others. There is something of Raymond Chandler's "soiled Galahad" about him. Yet he has been thoroughly imagined and therefore possesses a convincing individuality. You can enjoy his company.

06/11/2010

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The Spectator

Andrew Taylor

...the plot is not really the point of this novel, and nor is narrative tension. It’s beautifully written and has some memorable characters. Best of all, it portrays a time and place so thoroughly that a whiskey-scented fog seems to rise up from the pages.

27/11/2010

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The Times

Marcel Berlins

Because in real life he’s John Banville, the Booker winner, Black occasionally allows the splendour of his writing to take priority over the pace of the plot. That is an observation, not a complaint. Elegy for April is a beguiling read.

30/10/2010

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The Guardian

Laura Wilson

The plot is relatively uncomplicated, the author seeming less concerned with fancy footwork than with holding the reader's attention with gorgeously precise and expressive prose, which he does superbly

23/10/2010

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Times Literary Supplement

Ben Jeffery

The pacing in Elegy for April is a little rushed, and its final revelation unfolds too easily. But it expertly conjures the feel of a half-innocent, half-sinister mid-century Dublin.

03/12/2010

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The Literary Review

Jessica Mann

This is an interesting and accurate take on mid-twentieth-century Ireland, a chilly place for cheerless people in a corrupt society. The pleasure a reader takes in the beautiful writing is dimmed if not destroyed by the story’s relentless gloom.

01/11/2010

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