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Holy Orders (2013)

Holy Orders (2013)
3.58 of 5 Votes: 5
0805094407 (ISBN13: 9780805094404)
Henry Holt and Co.
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Holy Orders (2013)
Holy Orders (2013)

About book: I had the advantage of reading this almost entirely on a 5 1/2 hour plane ride from DC to Portland and I think it benefited from being read in one sitting. As always, the Benjamin Black books are much more about the characters than the mystery, but this one had both working at a high level. I continue to be fascinated by the character of Quirke, he is so supremely flawed in so many ways but the more we learn about him the more understandable it gets. I can't recommend these books enough. I'd been aware of this series about Quirke, a pathologist in 1950's Ireland, for some time but Holy Orders is the first installment I've read. I'll be heading back to read the others because Holy Orders succeeds in doing something I love in any work of art: It takes me into a completely unfamiliar world. Quirke's Dublin is a place of dour pubs and rain-soaked streets where allegiances are long held, power resides in secret rooms, and all are subservient to the Church. No wonder Quirke is unhappy. The plot involves the murder of a crime reporter who may have been pursuing a story about a popular local priest, and the investigation takes Quirke (in partnership with the cheerier Inspector Hackett) to both a camp of "tinkers" (gypsies) and a boys' home that reminds Quirke uncomfortably of his own childhood. I'm somewhat at a loss since I haven't read the earlier books in the series, but Quirke seems to find himself at a crossroads in this novel. He suffers a disorientation (which Black renders very well) caused by something other than his drinking, and the ending is a bit of a cliffhanger with regards to Quirke's future. (Though I suspect he'll be back.) My only issue with Holy Orders is the resolution to the murder mystery, as a character is introduced who seems to be outside the Church-centered power structure but then is revealed to be beholden to that structure after all in a way that (while probably accurate) isn't entirely convincing. That said, I'll be returning to Quirke's earlier cases and I recommend Holy Orders. 3.5 stars.
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Not one of my favorites in this series although, I still love the main character and all his flaws.
I think I would have liked this more if I was reading it instead of listening to it.
Not the best of the Quirke novels but still a good read.
Atmospheric mystery set in 1950's Ireland
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