Wednesday, November 17, 2010

The Silver Swan - Benjamin Black

The Silver Swan
By: Benjamin Black
Published: 2007
Audiobook Read by: Timothy Dalton
My rating: Poor

I listened to Christine Falls a while back and found it to be somewhat dark and depressing. I have tried to make it my policy not to write off an author after only one book so here I am with The Silver Swan. This book unfortunately continues the oppressive feeling of despair but makes it worse with a poorly developed mystery.

Once again, Quirke finds himself trying to solve a mystery that he shouldn't have allowed himself to get involved in in the first place. His old classmate asks him to forgo the required postmortem on his dead wife, Deidre Hunt, because he "can't bear to think of her being cut open". Quirke agrees but does the autopsy anyway when he finds a puncture mark that raises his suspicions.

Deidre was a beautiful girl who's life had been hard and unhappy. She married on impulse but soon became dissatisfied. After meeting an intriguing man and starting into business with him she soon found herself falling in love with him as well. Her life is going along quite nicely now, her business is flourishing, her lover is wonderful, and her husband blissfully unaware of what is going on. She thinks that she has never been happier, so how did she end up nude and drowned in the river?

I was disappointed with how the mystery is revealed, not through investigation on Quirke's part, but through a separate flashback storyline that simply tells the story from the victim's point of view until just before the crime. Then instead of any great detective work, the actual crime is again, simply recounted as a flashback. There was very little detective work at all but an awful lot of sex and un-needed vulgarity. In reality Quirke was a useless character in the actual mystery and played no part in uncovering the truth. I also found it disturbing that pretty much everything that had happened in the two years between the setting of Christine Falls and this book had been bad and depressing. The ending was particularly unsatisfying putting the final nail in my resolve not to bother with any more books from this author.

I listened to the audiobook read by Timothy Dalton. As before he did an excellent job with this book and even though the book was a disappointment, his performance was not! He is an excellent narrator and his voice with it's wonderful accent is beautiful to listen to!

Overall as you have probably gathered, I was not impressed by this book. Christine Falls at least had a good plot and a well thought out mystery but this one lacked even those redeeming factors. I have definitely read worse books but I can't say I would recommend this book to anyone.

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