There are many reasons I choose what books I read. Mostly it’s because I like the sound of the story, sometimes it’s because it’s by an author I like, sometimes it’s the cover (sorry!), often it’s because it’s been recommended by other readers. In this case, I confess, it was simply the title as I love snow!
About the book
Detective Inspector St John Strafford is called in from Dublin to investigate a murder at Ballyglass House – the Co. Wexford family seat of the aristocratic, secretive Osborne family.
Facing obstruction from all angles, Strafford carries on determinedly in his pursuit of the murderer. However, as the snow continues to fall over this ever-expanding mystery, the people of Ballyglass are equally determined to keep their secrets.
I thought this was a very well written crime novel. It put me in mind of classic Agatha Christie type mysteries with a murder in a big country house and the people staying there all falling under suspicions. I admired the tenacity of DI Strafford (don’t call him Stafford), digging away to get to the bottom of who carried out the gruesome killing of Father Tom and why.
There is a focus on the tensions between Catholic and Protestants in 1950s Ireland and how the Church covered up so much wrongdoing. There are aspects of the story which are quite shocking and make for very uncomfortable reading and that’s when the book deviates from its Golden Age of Crime type feel. Nonetheless I found this a gripping read.
Snow is atmospheric, historical fiction which had me guessing at whodunnit, if not why, throughout my reading. I very much liked Strafford and am pleased to find that he will feature in another novel, April in Spain, which I already have a copy of. Snow is a chilling read, with the cold weather reflecting the tone of the story and I found it a satisfying and compelling book.
Snow is published by Faber Books and is available now from all good bookshops.
About the Author
John Banville was born in Wexford, Ireland, in 1945. He is the author of thirteen previous novels including The Book of Evidence, which was shortlisted for the 1989 Booker Prize. He has received a literary award from the Lannan Foundation. He lives in Dublin.