Wednesday, January 9, 2008

The Silver Swan-Benjamin Black

The Silver Swan
Benjamin Black
Holt, Mar 2008, $25.00
ISBN 9780805081534

In 1950s Ireland, Billy Hint sees his old college crony pathologist Garret Quirke. Since they have not seen each other in quite a while, Garret is bit surprised by the visit until Billy asks a favor. He begs Garret not to perform an autopsy on his late wife, Deirdre.

The law requires an autopsy when foul play seems possible; in this case it is probable as Deirdre’s naked corpse was fished out of Dublin Bay though indications seem suicide as the most likely cause. However, Garret is stunned by the request as Billy beseeched him to drop the medical investigation. Instead he conducts a quiet inquiry into Deirdre’s last days not knowing what to expect, but totally unprepared to uncovering her alias Laura Swan co-owning the beauty salon Silver Swan with Leslie White and a blackmailing scheme that includes his estranged daughter.

This sequel to the superb CHRISTINE FALLS is an excellent investigative thriller that grips the audience from the moment Billy begs and never slows down until the stunning final confrontation. The story line is fast-paced and in spite of 288 pages is a one sitter read. The terrific hero is likable, as he learns one thing leads to another, but deception is part of each step he takes. THE SILVER SWAN is a great Irish whodunit.

Harriet Klausner