Tuesday, May 16, 2023

The Lock-Up

The Lock-Up by John Banville
5/23/23;320 pages
Hanover Square Press

The Lock-Up by John Banville is a highly recommended literary historical mystery.

Set in 1950s Dublin, Ireland, pathologist Dr. Quirke and DI St. John Strafford are working together to solve a globe-spanning mystery.  Rosa Jacobs, a young history scholar, is found dead in her car. Her death is at first thought to be a suicide, but Dr. Quirke is sure that the death needs to be investigated as a murder. Rosa's older sister Molly discovers a lead that could crack open the case.

The quality of the writing is absolutely incredible in this slow-burn mystery. There are complexities in the narrative that the two must figure out by untangling the clues. Those who appreciate literary fiction will immediately be drawn in by the excellence of the descriptive writing. Additionally, the context of the plot is based on historically accurate information for the time period. This is very important to many readers.

Both Quirke and Stratford are well-developed. The authentic portrayal of the characters as fully realized individuals as realistic and flawed men is part of what makes the narrative so compelling and interesting. This is really a character driven mystery. They are both working on the case in their own way and must look into Rosa's life and involvement with Kesler, a wealthy German industrialist.

Disclosure: My review copy was courtesy of Hanover Square Press via Edelweiss.

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