cover image Elegy for April

Elegy for April

Benjamin Black, read by Timothy Dalton , Macmillan Audio, unabridged, eight CDs, 9.5 hrs., $39.99 ISBN 978-1-4272-0945-0

Timothy Dalton, former James Bond and longtime reader of Black's thrillers, channels his Royal Shakespeare Company roots to give life to pathologist Garret Quirk. Black (a pseudonym of Booker Prize–winner John Banville) specializes in psychologically complex 1950s Dublin noir. In this latest installment set in a gray, sleeting winter, Quirk—fresh out of rehab and at the behest of his daughter, Phoebe—delves into the disappearance of a young doctor, April Latimer. The two young women were members of a clique that also includes an arrogant, diminutive reporter, a theatrical actress, and a Nigerian prince. Dalton uses only subtle shifts in tone to delineate the characters, focusing more on their temperaments than gender or ethnicity. He does the same for the members of April's influential family, effectively underlining their arrogance and disdain for the unruly Quirk. As the haunted pathologist shambles through his unauthorized investigation, questioning events in his own life and falling back on his alcoholic ways, the author is more successful in creating a mood of melancholy rather than suspense. But thanks to his exquisite style and Dalton's precise locutions, that more than suffices. A Holt hardcover (Reviews, Feb. 22). (Apr.)