Saturday, December 31, 2011
Elegy for April by Benjamin Black
Wanted to read this one before we got to Dublin, since it takes place there and was written by an Irishman. The bleak, foggy, depressed, alcoholic city of secrets described herein didn’t much match the sunny, lively, cheerful, media-obsessed, alcoholic city I saw this week.
April disappears. Her friend Phoebe goes to Quirk, her (Phoebe’s) father, who is a coroner, and who is just finishing a stint in rehab for his alcoholism. Quirk, his buddy the detective, and a few other 1950’s Dubliners explore the fast-living world of April and her friends in an effort to find out what may have become of her. As a period piece that paints a picture of Dublin, Elegy might be pretty good. It certainly hits a sustained tone of bleakness, while keeping the overall level of sordid up nicely.
I was two-thirds of the way through before I realized this book is actually the third in a series of novels about Quirk. Luckily, my ignorance to the occasionally referenced grim previous events didn’t really impact my enjoyment of the book much.
Nothing remarkable about the writing, though I will remember the Irish alcoholic crime-solving coroner, if not the specifics of what exactly happened to April Latimer that bleak year in Dublin.