NYTIMES Sunday Book Review:
John Banville has chosen Benjamin Black as the pen name for a project that may be his own guilty pleasure — a classic, hard-boiled crime novel. More than a seamless performance in fulfilling the demands of its genre, “Christine Falls” is executed with what feels like authorial delight.
Fittingly... the main action in “Christine Falls” begins “long after midnight” in a morgue, in “the shadowy dark of the body room.” The reluctant, brooding hero, playfully named Quirke, makes a career of performing autopsies. He prefers the dead to the living — they’re less withholding and commendably docile — and as Black (also playfully named) observes: “In the pathology lab it was always night. This was one of the things Quirke liked about his job.”
In this expertly paced debut thriller, pathologist Garret Quirke uncovers a web of corruption in 1950s Dublin surrounding the death in childbirth of a young maid, Christine Falls. Quirke is pulled into the case when he confronts his stepbrother, physician Malachy Griffin, who's altering Christine's file at the city morgue.
And the deeper Quirke delves into the mystery, the more it seems to implicate his own family and the Catholic church.
Sounds like a great read from a usually very serious writer. Enjoy!