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Christine Falls: A Novel

by Benjamin Black

Published by Henry Holt

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In the debut crime novel from Booker Award winner John Banville, a Dublin pathologist follows the corpse of a mysterious woman into the heart of a conspiracy among the city's high Catholic society.

Quirke and Malachy Griffin were raised as brothers, though Quirke -- rescued from an Irish orphanage by Malachy's father, the eminent Judge Garrett Griffin -- was always the favored son. But Malachy married the American girl Quirke loved, and Quirke settled for her sister, who died in childbirth soon thereafter. Malachy went on to become a prominent obstetrician and Quirke a hard-drinking pathologist, and for the past twenty years the two have coexisted uneasily as brothers-in-law as well as rivals.

Then one night, after a few drinks at an office party, Quirke shuffles down to the morgue and discovers Malachy altering a file he has no business even reading. Odd enough in itself to find him there, but the next morning, when the haze has lifted, Quirke begins to suspect that his brother-in-law was in fact tampering with a corpse -- and concealing the cause of death. It turns out the body belonged to a young woman named Christine Falls. And as Quirke reluctantly presses on toward the true facts behind her death, he comes up against some insidious and very well guarded secrets of Dublin's high Catholic society -- which includes members of the Griffin family. But when he is urged -- at first subtly and then with considerable violence -- to probe no further, he nevertheless finds himself drawn inexorably down a trail that leads him across the ocean to Boston, and deep into his own past.

The first novel in the Quirke series brings all the vividness and psychological insight of Booker Prize winner John Banville's fiction to a thrilling, atmospheric crime story. Quirke is a fascinating and subtly drawn hero, Christine Falls is a classic tale of suspense, and Benjamin Black'a debut marks him as a true master of the form.


pub date: 2007-03-06 | hardcover | 9780805081527