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“Christine Falls ”


written by Harriet Klausner on 13/01/2007

Christine Falls
Benjamin Black
Holt, Mar 2007, $25.00
ISBN 0805081526

In Dublin, after a few drinks at an office going away party for a nurse, pathologist Garret Quirke enters his prime work area, the morgue, only to be stunned by what he sees, in spite of being drunk. His stepbrother, Dr. Malachy Griffin, was sitting at Quirke's desk writing in a file that the pathologist noticed is that of Christine Falls. Too tired to think any further, Quirke leaves a nervous Mal behind.

After several hours of sleep, Quirke wonders why Mal was at the morgue instead of home with his wife Susan. He begins to look closer at the death of the young maid, Christine Falls, who died during childbirth, especially since he knows Mal changed the file. However, whenever he raises a point, he finds the Irish medical establishment protecting one another while the clues take him to Boston.

This is a terrific 1950's medical thriller that constantly pulls the rig out from underneath the reader with fabulously unexpected-yet-plausible twists. The subplot in Dublin is foggy and mysterious as the audience, alongside the obstinate hero, wonders what is going on. The shift to Boston turns more detective-like in tone and less sinister, as the clues begin to come together though spins still will fool the reader. Benjamin Black provides a superior medical investigative tale that will have fans clamoring for more work by quirky Quirke.

Harriet Klausner

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