Elegy for April : Quirke

  • by Benjamin Black
  • Narrated by Timothy Dalton
  • Series: Quirke
  • 8 hrs and 29 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

April Lavery has vanished. A junior doctor at a local hospital, she is something of a trail-blazer in the deeply conservative and highly patriarchal society of 1950s Dublin. Though her family is one of the most respected in the city, she is known for being independent-minded; her taste in men, for instance, is decidedly unconventional, as evidenced by her current boyfriend, a handsome and charismatic medical student from Nigeria.
Then April disappears, and Phoebe Griffin, her best friend, immediately suspects the worst. Frantic, Phoebe seeks out Quirke, her brilliant but erratic father, and asks him for help. Sober again after intensive treatment for alcoholism, Quirke soon learns that his old sparring partner, Detective Inspector Hackett, has been assigned to the high-profile case. This time, Hackett welcomes Quirke’s help—the pathologist’s knowledge of the darker byways of the city may allow him to uncover crucial information about April’s whereabouts. And as Quirke becomes deeply involved in April’s murky story, he encounters complicated and ugly truths about race-hatred, Catholic ruthlessness, and family savagery.
Both an absorbing crime novel and a brilliant portrait of the difficult and relentless love between a father and his daughter, this is Benjamin Black at his sparkling best.

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What the Critics Say

"Quirke, the haunted Dublin pathologist and haphazard sleuth, returns in the third in Black's superb series of sharply etched, nearly Jamesian mysteries.... In Black's atmospheric and penetrating works of Irish noir, pain, prejudice, greed, and violence brew behind lace curtains." (Booklist)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

Is the Third Time the Charm?


While still charming as ever, Quirke is getting a little predictable by now (3x). But that's not really a complaint in light of the string of book fails I've read lately. Benjamin Black (alias the wonderful Irish novelist John Banville moonlighting between his literary novels) is a real writer, one untainted (I'd bet) by social media and auto-correct, and it's always a pleasure to go along with the flow of words without the speed bumps that seem to make it passed editors more and more these days. And Timothy Dalton is as smooth as the best Irish whiskey. He is the perfect match for this series, lending an air of sophistication.

I think of Quirke as the common-man's Bond/pathologist (maybe it's the Dalton effect) ...a little bulky, awkward, and prone to falling off the wagon and puking over drainage grates. But, he always manages to get in the required roll-roll-roll-in-za-hay, getting both his lady...and his man; always the successful sleuth. And I love the atmosphere of Dublin, and the surrounding Irish scenery, the sip of good tea, a warm dark stout, and somewhere out in the drizzle...the murderer lurking about.

There are no spectacular villains, no ridiculous plots -- just a straight at you mystery, with excellent writing and narration. In this volume, Quirke's daughter is again in the forefront (as in Silver Swan) when her best friend goes missing. I recently found out that the first 3 Quirke books,"Christine Falls," "The Silver Swan," and "Elegy for April," were a British-Irish crime drama television series that was first broadcast on BBC One and RTÉ One in 2014. Something I'd like to see, but I'd rather read the way Black/Banville writes the series. Now, on to #4. Predictable, but dependable and intelligent.
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- Mel

Great Series, Excellent Narration

This is the third in a trilogy (so far) of Quirke mysteries. The stories are compelling, the characters very real and Timothy Dalton's eloquent narration is spot on. I've listened to all three novels and he enunciates so well I haven't missed a word. Best narration I've heard of the twenty books I've purchased from Audible so far.
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- Pat

Book Details

  • Release Date: 04-13-2010
  • Publisher: Macmillan Audio