It’s a Mystery: Elegy for April, by Benjamin Black

Elegy for April (Quirke, #3)

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Benjamin Black conjures up 1950’s Dublin in his Quirke detective series, which features a hard-drinking, middle aged pathologist who is more inclined to brooding than to living. In Elegy for April, Quirke is recruited by his daughter to discover what has become of her friend April, who hasn’t been seen in nearly two weeks. He begins with decided reluctance, but that soon evolves into a kind of dogged determination to get to the bottom of things. This is mystery falls squarely into the noir tradition, bleak in its protagonist, its plot and and its settings. it’s easy to picture Kenneth Branagh in the leading role. Black (aka John Banville) is a skilled writer, particularly with respect to his powers of description, his ability to develop an aura, a mood. Strangely, the title character, April, never really comes across as real, though the solution to what has become of her is a profoundly chilling one.

Recommended primarily for fans of noir mysteries.

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