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Even The Dead by Benjamin Black

March 15, 2016

Pathologist Quirke works in the city morgue, watching over Dublin’s dead. The latest to join their ghostly ranks is a suicide. But something doesn’t add up. The victim has a suspicious head wound, and the only witness has vanished, every trace of her wiped away.

On the trail of the missing woman, Quirke finds himself drawn into the shadowy world of Dublin’s elite – secret societies, High Church politics and corrupt politicians. It leads him to a long-buried conspiracy that involves his own family. But it’s too late to go back now…

THE DEAD WILL BE HEARD

 

 

Quirke is out of hospital and rehab, restless and looking for an escape from the stifling he feels in his lodgings at the home of his friends Rose and Mal.

 
He wants to stop or at least cut down on his drinking, his health has suffered and he has frequent headaches, but the angst that he feels is constantly driving him to test his limits.
Then his assistant, David comes to him to ask his opinion about a death from a car crash in Phoenix Park and this leads him to resolve to go back to work as the lead pathologist in the mortuary.

 
When it becomes clear that the death was not accidental, and that his daughter, Phoebe, has become caught up in the affair through her acquaintance with the dead man’s girlfriend, Quirke takes steps to resolve matters. Working with his old friend, Inspector Hackett, Quirke pieces together the story that led to the young man’s death and the subsequent involvement of his daughter.

 
Set in 1950’s Dublin, this is a beautifully written and very well characterised novel, redolent of the oppressive nature of some of the religious elements of the church, coupled with the underbelly of corruption that haunts the city. The oppression in Dublin corresponds to the despairing nature of Quirke’s character, though in this, the 7th Quirke novel, there is a sense of a future, of something better to come.

 
There is resolution in the story and some resolution too of relationships in Quirke’s life. I found this a beautifully and intelligently written, sometimes poignant, novel and because of that I enjoyed it more than I had expected.

Highly recommended.

EVEN THE DEAD was published by Penguin on 28 January 2016

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