Two years have passed since the events of the bestselling Christine Falls, and much has changed for Quirke, the irascible, formerly hard-drinking Dublin pathologist. His beloved Sarah is dead, his surrogate father lies in a convent hospital paralyzed by a devastating stroke, and Phoebe, Quirke's long-denied daughter, has grown increasingly withdrawn and isolated.
With much to regret from his last inquisitive foray, Quirke ought to know better than to let his curiosity get the best of him. Yet when an almost forgotten acquaintance comes to him about his beautiful young wife's apparent suicide, Quirke's "old itch to cut into the quick of things, to delve into the dark of what was hidden" is roused again. As he begins to probe further into the shadowy circumstances of Deirdre Hunt's death, he discovers many things that might better have remained hidden, as well as grave danger to those he loves.
Haunting, masterfully written, and utterly mesmerizing in its nuance, The Silver Swan fully lives up to the promise of Christine Falls and firmly establishes Benjamin Black (a.k.a. John Banville) among the greatest of crime writers.
"The Silver Swan is even more engrossing than last year's Christine Falls. Grade: A-."
- Entertainment Weekly
"In this stunning follow-up to 2007's Christine Falls, Black spins a complex tale of murder and deception in 1950s London."
- Publishers Weekly, starred review
"Elegant... [Mr. Black/Banville's] sinuous prose, subtle eroticism and 1950s period detail do more than enough to put this series on the map."
- New York Times
"Black... continues his exceptionally nuanced crime series... in this tense, engrossing tale of passion, crimes, and chaos shot through with lightning wit and radiant compassion."
- Booklist, starred review
"Banville/Black is a master of atmosphere; the fear and dread associated with hidden desires and deeds fairly leap off the page."
- Library Journal, starred review
"Mr. Black/Banville has raised the bar for the soul's-night genre... If the characters in (his) cool, atmospheric prose are not blithe spirits, they are memorably etched."
- Dallas Morning News
"The lonely characters that fill The Silver Swan linger in the mind — a puff of fog here, a shadow there. They ask the big questions, and they never seem quite happy with the answers they work out for themselves in this fascinating meditation on morality."
- New Orleans Time Picayune
"A strong performance full of earned moral weight... Line by line, Banville is a superb, evocative writer."
- Palm Beach Post
"In this second mystery, author Benjamin Black (a pseudonym for the Booker Award-winning novelist John Banville) once again brings readers back into the gloomy and repressed world of mid-20th century Dublin. The writing, once more, is wonderfully evocative."
- Boston Globe
"Christine Falls was the most artful noir mystery in years; The Silver Swan is better. The plot is grippingly propulsive, the evocation of Dublin is detail-perfect, every major and minor character is beautifully realized—and there isn't a clunky sentence in the book."
- Los Angeles Times