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I don’t generally pick up a series so far on–HOLY ORDERS is the sixth Quirke novel–but the premise snagged me, and I’m glad it did. I’ll be reading the first five in the series as soon as possible. The series begins with CHRISTINE FALLS.

There are plenty of deeply flawed, self-destructive sleuths out there, but Quirke has an appeal all his own. An alcoholic pathologist, he teams up with Inspector Hewitt to solve the murder of his daughter’s friend. This is 1950s Dublin, and Quirke finds himself butting heads with the Church’s powers that be and dealing with some of his own troubled past as he digs deeper.

Black (a pen name for John Banville) draws 1950s Dublin masterfully. It’s rainy, grim, and overshadowed by the Catholic Church. Quirke and Hackett are a delightfully complex pair: “They looked at each other, and had they been other than they were they would have smiled.” I’d say that sums up their relationship. Quirke’s struggles to relate to his daughter are poignant. The mystery is tightly paced and satisfying. I enjoyed Quirke and look forward to more.

Source disclosure: I received an advance copy of this book courtesy of the publisher.