Day: September 5, 2015

Quirke (TV Series) Episode 2 – The Silver Swan

91WRQvrXnSL._SL1500_ Having read the novel of the same title, I was quite keen to see the second episode in Quirke TV series, The Silver Swan, directed by Diarmuid Lawrence, adapted by Andrew Davies and starring Gabriel Byrne (Quirke), Michael Gambon (Judge Garret Griffin), Geraldine Somerville (Sarah Griffin), Branwell Donaghey (Billy Hunt), Nick Dunning (Malachy Griffin), Aisling Franciosi (Phoebe Griffin), Brian Gleeson (Sinclair),  Lee Ingleby (Leslie White), Charlie Murphy (Deirdre Hunt) and Stanley Townsend (Inspector Hackett); which I had the opportunity of watching recently.

Synopsis: It is early 1957 and the Griffin family has been blown apart since the revelation in Boston. Quirke is drinking heavily, Mal and Sarah’s marriage is on the rocks, and Sarah is regretting the missed chances of twenty years before, when she let her sister Delia steal Quirke from under nose. Quirke and his adoptive father, the formidable judge Garret Griffin, are estranged, and Phoebe has decided to assert her freedom from the lot of them by moving out of the family home. Nothing anyone can say can dissuade her, and Quirke, recognising the part he played in her decision, defends her choice and resolves to look out for her as best he can. But Phoebe – young, naive and vulnerable – pushes Quirke and the family away, defiantly taking up with a louche and dangerous young man by the name of Leslie White. It’s a name that becomes familiar to Quirke as he investigates two apparent suicides, one a well-to-do society woman and the other the wife of his former student Billy Hunt. All is not as it seems in the deaths of the two women, but will Quirke and the redoubtable Inspector Hackett be able put the pieces together quickly enough to keep Phoebe from danger? Will Quirke and Sarah’s feelings for each other get in the way of his promise to look after his daughter? And will he be able to rise above his past or be pulled down by a rip tide of whiskey and guilt? (Source: BBC One Quirke)

The Silver Swan is worth seeing and I have found it much better than the first episode. Although it doesn’t meet the expectations created by the novel. Anyhow my suggestion is to read first the books, watch the TV series afterwards, and always in chronological order.

Review: The Silver Swan by Benjamin Black

Esta entrada es bilingüe, para ver la versión en castellano desplazarse hacia abajo

Picador, 2008 Format: Paperback Edition. First published in 2007, ISBN: 9780330454087. Pages: 352.


Time has passed since the events narrated in Christine Falls, the first and previous instalment in the Quirke series. See my review here. One day Quirke finds on his desk a note with the name Billy Hunt, a number and the words ‘Please call’, scribbled in pencil.  That name doesn’t ring any bells though Quirke, out of curiosity, calls him. Billy Hunt, was in college with him, but it’s natural that Quirke doesn’t remember him, he was in his first year, when Quirke was in the last one, though Billy gave up his studies and he now works as a commercial traveller for a pharmaceutical company. The reason why he wants to contact him is that, apparently, his wife, Deidre, has taken her own life. Her naked body has appeared off the rocks on the landward shore of Dalkey Island and Billy wants to ask him a favour. He can’t bear the idea that she will going to be cut off and doesn’t want that her body to be subject to an autopsy. Without promise him anything, Quirke will see what he can do. He believes that it will suffice with a visual examination, but when he is alone and getting ready to perform the post-mortem, he realises that Deidre Hunt body’s has a tiny puncture mark on the inside of her left arm and he is compelled to do the autopsy. Deidre Hunt used to call herself Laura Swan, a sort of professional name. She ran a beauty parlour, the Silver Swan, from where she got her name. At this point, Quirke finds himself obliged to delve into what is hidden behind the death of Deidre Hunt/Laura Swan. Though  what he doesn’t know so far is that his own daughter, Phoebe, who doesn’t recognise him to be her father, is going to be involved in this matter.

The story, told in the third person by an omnipresent narrator, follows a certain chronological order, interspersing occasionally fragments of the life of Laura Swan/Deidre Hunt. I found the plot weak or, maybe, not too well-crafted and perhaps the overall tone of the story is excessively sad. However, even if I’m not able to explain myself properly, since I read Christine Falls, I have a soft spot for the Quirke series. In my view, this is mainly due to the fact that they are extremely well written, and I love Benjamin Black’s prose and style. In addition, Benjamin Black/John Banville provides us a magnificent portrait of Dublin in the 50’s. I look forward to read Elegy for April, the third book in the series and I already have A Death in Summer on my TBR shelf.

My rating: B (I really liked it)

Benjamin Black is the pen name of acclaimed author John Banville, who was born in Wexford, Ireland, in 1945. His novels have won numerous awards, most recently the Man Booker Prize in 2005 for The Sea. He lives in Dublin. Under the pseudonym Benjamin Black, John Banville has published the following crime novels in the Quirke series: Christine Falls (2006), The Silver Swan (2007), Elegy for April (2010), A Death in Summer (2011), Vengeance (2012), Holy Orders (2013) and Even the Death (2015). The first three have been adapted by Andrew Davies and Conor McPherson for the BBC, starring Gabriel Byrne in the title role.

The Silver Swan has been reviewed at Euro Crime (Fiona Walker), The Bookbag (Sue Magee), Kirkus, The New York Times (Marilyn Stasio) and at The crime segments, A Quirke Quadruplet (NancyO), among others


Macmillan Publishers

Benjamin Black Official Website 

The Silver Swan by Benjamin Black–Audiobook Excerpt 

A Fansite for John Banville 

Benjamin Black, aka John Banville by Martin Edwards  

El otro nombre de Laura/ The Silver Swan (Spanish Edition) de Benjamin Black

AL73802El tiempo ha pasado desde los acontecimientos narrados en El secreto de Christine, la primera y anterior entrega de la serie Quirke. Ver mi reseña aquí. Un día Quirke encuentra en su escritorio una nota con el nombre de Billy Hunt, un número y las palabras ‘Por favor llame’, garabateadas a lápiz. Ese nombre no le suena aunque Quirke, por curiosidad, lo llama. Billy Hunt, iba con él en la universidad, pero es natural que Quirke no le recuerde, él estaba en su primer año, cuando Quirke estaba en el último, aunque Billy abandonó sus estudios y ahora trabaja como viajante de comercio para una compañía farmacéutica. La razón por la que quiere ponerse en contacto con él es que, al parecer, su esposa, Deidre, se ha quitado la vida. Su cuerpo desnudo ha aparecido entre las rocas de la costa en Dalkey Island y Billy quiere pedirle un favor. No puede soportar la idea de que ella vaya a ser cortada y no quiere que su cuerpo sea sometido a una autopsia. Sin prometerle nada, Quirke verá lo que puede hacer. Él cree que bastará con un examen visual, pero cuando está solo y se prepara para realizar la autopsia, se da cuenta de que el cuerpo de Deidre Hunt tiene la marca de una punción diminuta en el interior de su brazo izquierdo y se ve obligado a hacer la autopsia. Deidre Hunt solía llamarse Laura Swan, una especie de nombre profesional. Dirigía un salón de belleza, el Cisne de Plata, de donde consiguió su nombre. Llegados a este punto, Quirke se verá obligado a profundizar en lo que se esconde detrás de la muerte de Deidre Hunt/Laura Swan. Aunque lo que no sabe hasta ahora es que su propia hija, Phoebe, que no reconoce que él sea su padre, va a estar involucrada en este asunto.

La historia, contada en tercera persona por un narrador omnipresente, sigue un cierto orden cronológico, intercalando de vez en cuando fragmentos de la vida de Laura Swan/Deidre Hunt. Encontré la trama débil o, tal vez, no muy bien elaborada y quizás el tono general de la historia es demasiado triste. Sin embargo, incluso si no soy capaz de explicarme correctamente, desde que leí El secreto de Christine, tengo debilidad por la serie Quirke. En mi opinión, esto se debe principalmente al hecho de que están muy bien escritos, y me encanta la prosa y el estilo de Benjamin Black. Además, Benjamin Black/John Banville nos ofrece un magnífico retrato de Dublín en los años 50. Espero leer En busca de April, el tercer libro de la serie y ya tengo Muerte en verano en mi estantería TBR.

Mi valoración: B (Me gustó mucho)

Benjamin Black es el seudónimo del consagrado autor John Banville, que nació en Wexford, Irlanda, en 1945. Sus novelas han ganado numerosos premios, el más reciente el Man Booker Prize en 2005 por El mar. Vive en Dublín. Bajo el seudónimo de Benjamin Negro, John Banville ha publicado las siguientes novelas negras en la serie Quirke: El secreto de Christine (2006), El otro nombre de Laura (2007), En busca de April (2010), Muerte en verano (2011), Venganza (2012 ), Òrdenes sagradas (2013) y, la última hasta el momento Even the Death (2015). Las tres primeras han sido adaptadas por Andrew Davies y Conor McPherson para la BBC, protagonizadas por Gabriel Byrne en el papel protagonista.