Quirke, first name unrevealed, is chief pathologist at the Holy Family Hospital, Dublin. His personal life is complicated given he married the wrong sister, who died in childbirth, and his friend, whose father favours Quirke over him, married the right sister.
One evening after an afterwork party, he finds his brother-in-law, Malachy Griffin, completing the death certificate of Christine Falls to show that she died of a pulmonary embolism. Quirke is suspicious and retrieves the young woman’s body from the morgue and performs a proper post mortem which reveals something entirely different. His pursuit of what he finds soon leads to murder and his own life is endangered.
The heart of what is going on will be no surprise to those with knowledge of recent Irish history and yet I was neatly fooled by a double twist.
This isn’t a comfortable or uplifting read but it was still very interesting and because my only motivation for reading it was as part of my 100 Greatest Literary Detectives challenge I enjoyed it more than I expected to.