Keith's Reviews > Christine Falls

Christine Falls by Benjamin Black
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's review
Feb 02, 2012

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Benjamin Black’s chronicle of a wealthy Irish family during the 1950’s is more intriguing than it is intrigue. Quirke, the protagonist, is an outsider in the prominent Dublin family of Judge Garret Griffin and even though he was adopted from an orphanage at an early age and raised along with a brother, he never lets the reader forget that Malachy is the true son of Judge Griffin. The brothers both attended medical school in Boston and then both married two sister of an even more eminent and wealthy Irish Bostonian family but the fact that he feels estranged is underscored by the exclusive use of his last name—Quirke---throughout the story. He is never referred to by his first name although all of the other characters are. When Quirke discovers that the death records of an Irish indigent named Christine Falls have been falsified, possibly by his brother Mal, he becomes suspicious and sets out to find the reason. Quirke is an interesting but sad character---the rationale is revealed at the end---that is swept up in the power struggles of wealth, deep family secrets and clandestine maneuvering within the Catholic Church. Although listed as a mystery novel, most of the secrets are less mysterious than convoluted and somewhat predictable. But the story is a good one and the character development extremely well done. It’s the kind of life story that when it’s over makes you wonder what became of all those people involved.
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