Author: John Banville
Plot: (Back of Book) Detective Inspector St. John Strafford has been summoned to County Wexford to investigate a murder. A parish priest has been found dead in Ballyglass House, the family seat of the aristocratic, secretive Osborne family. The year is 1957 and the Catholic Church rules Ireland with an iron fist. Strafford—flinty, visibly Protestant and determined to identify the murderer—faces obstruction at every turn, from the heavily accumulating snow to the culture of silence in the tight-knit community he begins to investigate. As he delves further, he learns the Osbornes are not at all what they seem. And when his own deputy goes missing, Strafford must work to unravel the ever-expanding mystery before the community’s secrets, like the snowfall itself, threaten to obliterate everything.
My Review and Thoughts:
This is a slow burn murder mystery thick with a terrifying and disturbing reality. A wonderful complex character driven plot. A who-dunnit that plays like an Agatha Christy novel yet with a much more intense storyline.
Wonderful Detective character. A well built small town atmosphere. I love stories that take place in the dead of winter.
Each player is a mystery in itself. Each person has a tale to be told. Wants the truth comes out, once the flashback is read, it makes the skin crawl and gives you the reality of wanting to un-think the horror that has been done.
A very intelligent and reality based scenario. Brutal in descriptive nature.
The prose is so well done that you feel the cold, the snow and the unrelenting plot playing out in thick overtones of dread.
A memorable book that can haunt the senses and linger in the recesses of your mind.
Would I Return to it Again: Absolutely. Love the character of Strafford. A wonderful Detective character that plays out in vivid ways. Demands further adventures of mystery and intrigue.
Would I Recommend: Absolutely. A wonderful read. Loved every bit of it even with its skin crawling horrors depicted.
My Rating: 4 out of 5
Four Final Words: Passionately executed. Disturbing reality.