I tend to read mysteries in spurts, making note of possibilities as I hear about them, and then reading a bunch at once. This winter, having just finished my Christmas mystery binge (it was suddenly just over last Friday), I had also procured from our library two other mysteries, in case the mystery need still held.
One was the Oscar Wilde great mystery series, which I had read three of before. And the other was a series by Benjamin Black I had heard about. Turns out, that is the mystery novel pen name for John Banville, an Irish literary author who has won many top prizes.
So the book I requested from the library was Christine Falls, the first in the series, which is set in Ireland, mostly Dublin, in the 1950s. One major difference between then and now was the tremendous sway the puritanical Irish version of the Catholic Church held over the country.
Which figures largely in the story, as it did in Philomena, the movie with Dame Judith Dench.
An excellent book, well written, Dublin flavor and locations, a lot of male angst for that time and place perhaps, but then these are Irish guys – Quirke (the main protagonist) and Malachy Griffin were raised as brothers. We look at the mystery from all sides, and both sides of the Atlantic. A very satisfying book – and yet I’m unlikely to read any more of the series.
Just because the mystery need has worn off – and because they are set in the 50s, before the world had broken apart, and before the potential for joy was born.