Elegy for April-Benjamin Black

Elegy for April

Benjamin Black

Holt, Apr 13 2010, $25.00

ISBN: 9780805090918

In 1950s Dublin, Dr. April Latimer apparently vanished; at least that is what her best friend Phoebe Griffin believes.  She failed to meet the group at the Dolphin Hotel as she always does though the other members (Patrick Ojukwu, Isabel Galloway and Jimmy Minor) seem less concerned.  Phoebe called the Hospital of Holy Family where April is a resident, but was told her pal called in ill.

Desperate April asks her “Uncle” Quirke the pathologist to investigate.  She only recently learned he, not his recently widowed brother-in-law Malachy Griffin, was her biological father who gave her up when her mom died in childbirth.  Although in detox at the House of St. John’s, Quirke would do anything for his “niece”.  As he investigates what happened to the niece of a government minister, Quirke begins to unravel the worst in humanity as he finds the Latimer family conceals abuse and brutality within their circle so as to remain influential, the Catholic Church condoning people like the Latimer brood with their silent acceptance of abuse and brutality, and finally the community de facto collective racism that accepts abuse and brutality towards a white Catholic female and a Nigerian expatriate who must never fall in love.  However, even as Quirke works the darkest streets, all roads lead to the convergence of the Dolphin Hotel group with her family.

The latest Quirke historical thriller (see Silver Swan and Christine Falls) condemns Ireland for its enabling the Church and the aristocracy to get away with what should have been criminal activity.  Containing a strong cast, the fast-paced well written inquiry with brilliant final twists grips the reader throughout as Ireland is exposed for ignoring the shortcomings of moral institutions.

Harriet Klausner

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