Monday, March 10, 2008


Black, Benjamin (John Banville). Silver Swan (Holt $25). Irish crime fiction is truly hot thanks to such artists as Shamus Award winners Ken Bruen and Declan Hughes (and John Connolly, even if Charlie Parker works mostly in Maine). I like taking it back over half a century to when Church and pubs dominated, Ireland was not a boom Euro economy, and when secrecy and hidden family and personal secrets hadn't collided with our confessional, Internet age. Morose pathologist Quirke nurses more than one
secret, we know. And now someone from his past appears to ask a favor which Quirke grants. Murder follows…For his mysteries, Banville makes a shift to third-person narrative which works extremely well, snagging him a 2008 Edgar nomination for Christine Falls ($14), Quirke's first case.

Join us Sunday March 9 when John Banville writing as Benjamin Black speaks and signs at 1:00 pm The Irish Cultural Center 1106 N Central Ave Phoenix 602 258-0109

McKenna, Christina. The Misremembered Man
(Toby $25). County Derry, Summer, 1974. Jamie's years in a cruel orphanage have left him anxious and wary of people. He's set as a bachelor farmer until his kindly neighbors Patrick and Rose tell him he's in need of a wife. Lydia, the rector's daughter, lives at home stuck with her demanding mother. An ad in the Lonely Hearts of the Mid-Ulster Vindicator brings together these two absolute opposites, chronicling a search for love and, more darkly, a search for a stolen childhood. This debut ties into Christine Falls, above, and Ken Bruen's The Magdalen Martyrs ($13).

And for the Cozy Crowd
Meier, Leslie. The St. Patrick's Day Murder (Kensington $22). Pennysaver reporter Lucy Stone heads to an interview with Tinker's Cove's new harbormaster when she stumbles on a beheaded body at the end of the pier. It's Old Dan Malone, a grizzled barkeeper. Lucy not only breaks it but breaks the news to Dan's brother, Dylan, a famous Irish actor in town to direct a play for the church's centennial St. Patrick's Day celebration. "As Dylan's daughter encourages Lucy's little girl to believe in fairies and goblins, Lucy hunts for a very real killer. Warm and homespun characters, plenty of seaside ambience and a fast-moving plot make this a perfect winter cozy," says PW.

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