I was recently sent a paperback copy of this by the publisher.
The novel starts with pathologist Quirke who is on sick leave and staying with his brother and sister in law. A body has been found in a car and at first it looks as though it was a suicide. However a visit from the assistant pathologist who is also the boyfriend of Quirke’s daughter, persuades him that things are not quite as they seem. Shortly after, Quirke’s daughter gets a visit from her old friend Lisa Smith who is pregnant with the dead man’s child. Lisa however, then goes missing and Quirke teams up with Inspector Hackett as the two cases start to merge.
This was the first of the Quirke novels I have read although it’s actually the seventh that has been published. The novels are set in 1950s Dublin and have also been made into a TV series. I enjoyed this, as it was an interesting view of the rather seedy sounding dark side of Dublin. The whole story was interwoven with organised crime set against the background of the Catholic church.
I must confess that it took me a little while to actually get into this book. I suspect that is mainly due to me not having read the previous novels in the series so I didn’t know any of the background. However the story itself soon drew me in and the description of the City in this era was fascinating. Quirke as a protagonist was interesting. As tends to be the case in crime fiction he is flawed, a functioning alcoholic with few close relationships yet someone who is excellent at solving crimes.
The story was gentle rather than action packed but it would certainly be described as atmospheric and intriguing. There are lots of stories hinted at such as the affair between Quirke and his brother’s wife that clearly show the pathologist has led an interesting life.
Overall this was an enjoyable book and stands alone as a novel, although there is probably a deeper enjoyment to be had from reading the series from the start.