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Summary

'The body is in the library,' Colonel Osborne said. 'Come this way.'

Following the discovery of the body of a well-loved parish priest at Ballyglass House - the Co Wexford family seat of the aristocratic, secretive Osborne family - Detective Inspector St John Strafford is called in from Dublin to investigate. 

Facing obstruction from all angles, Strafford is determined to identify the murderer. But, as the snow continues to fall over this ever expanding mystery, the people of Ballyglass are equally determined to keep their secrets.

©2020 John Banville (P)2020 Faber Audio

What listeners say about Snow

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Nothing new or interesting here.

No doubt that John Banville is a wonderful writer. However, Snow simply doesn’t cut it, especially in comparison to his other works. What starts as an intriguing whodunnit quickly descends into a long, tedious and ultimately fruitless saga about catholic priests doing what they always do. From the inciting incident it’s pretty obvious to guess what happened, which is why I was hoping some twists and turns along the way. Unfortunately it’s just a straight line to the bleeding obvious.

16 people found this helpful

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A treat for Benjamin Black fans..

John Banville has written detective stories for many years using the nom de plume Benjamin Black, but has come out of the shadows with Snow. It’s great to be reunited with Inspector Strafford, a terrific character, from BB’s previous country house mystery, The Secret Guests. We are also given tantalising glimpses of Chief Superintendent Hackett, with whom readers of Quirke will be familiar, and Quirke himself, although he remains, infuriatingly, off-stage.

John Banville has great fun playing with the country house genre “.. ‘It’s a library. It’s an actual fucking library, and there’s a body in it... ‘“ and drops some sly references to other Irish greats of the past. There’s a host of beautifully-observed characters and much dry humour, which is brought out brilliantly by Stanley Townsend. He’s a superb narrator, with impeccable timing and a wonderful range of accents. I could listen to him reading the telephone directory..

It’s all thoroughly enjoyable and atmospheric, and whodunnit and why they dunnit is signposted in letters ten feet high. This doesn’t matter, because the whole is so good, but the reason behind the murder is wearyingly predictable. John Banville’s apparent obsession with the damage wrought by the Catholic church in Ireland would appear to have some way still to go..

9 people found this helpful

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Disappointing

The plot became predictable very rapidly. The characters and their behaviour unbelievable. Such a shame.

7 people found this helpful

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Fantastic

Wonderful sense of place and totally atmospheric. Banville at his best and beautifully read. I was actually sorry to finish it.

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Personally I believe this book needs a *trigger* warning

Pls read with caution



I felt the memoir of child rape was too graphic and would not have started the book if I had known!
The story is okay and I would have finished it (I do not always finish a book) but the topics were not to my taste at all.
I enjoyed the narraters voice.

3 people found this helpful

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I read this to celebrate of 2021's winter weather

I loved that there was an actual body in the library and the fact that John Banville is still preoccupied with the awful behaviour of catholic priests and the schism between the Irish.
I also really enjoyed the protagonists mental distractions
Great stuff

3 people found this helpful

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Delightful light but tasty concoction.

How effervescent and entertaining this novel is making the rather splendid writing seem to be effortless. Yes, we’ve heard the story many times before but the combination of such lyrical, engaging storytelling and the addition of such a whimsical and talented voice actor was so welcome during unique times.
And it felt really cold and full of Snow.

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I found it very interesting

Calm voice brings you gently through the story. To a time when Ireland was young and not so innocent

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Thrilling

A wonderful elegantly written and beautifully read novel. So atmospheric, beguiling tight cast of characters. Not sure had heard Stanley Townsend read audiobook before but I admire him as an actor and was not disappointed. Feel this had had care and attention given by the producer. The cover picture sums it up perfectly.

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Beautiful evocative listen

Stanley Townsend narrates this murder mystery with his beautiful mellifluous voice. Could listen to him reading anything but this is a good story sparingly written, lovely descriptions of a time and a generation gone by. All the social Anglo Irish and rural Ireland mores neatly noted, fully deserves five stars

1 person found this helpful

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  • Norma Miles
  • 23-01-22

"The body in the library."

Just superb.
Yes, it's a murder mystery with somewhat ironic, comic overtones, but it is the characterisations, including those of Irish religious politics and weather, and the cold interplay between the at Christmas time in 1957 which makes this book both unique and, for this reader, totally immersive.
Narrated by Stanley Townsend, his deliciously warm and gentle Irish accented voice comp!Steph compliments the writing. His is a very fine performance, sedate, but replete with understanding of all that he is reading.
The book starts from the POV of the murder victim, Father Tom, a priest well known throughout the country and a frequent visitor to the large and mouldering Bally Glass House where he meets his end. Much later, he returns again to give a first person review of himself and his life, this chapter of itself being a remarkably well presented short story. The rest of the novel is mostly, though not entirely, from the viewpoint of the investigator, D.I.St.John Strafford (with an 'r'), locked into the area by the falling snow. The atmosphere throughout is cold, stark, for protagonists as well as countryside, but with a delightfully gentle humour also, such as the Agatha Christie type setting, the attitudes of almost everyone, and the poor sergeant, Jenkins, virtually invisible to everyone, it seems, and no one can remember his name.

For readers who truly enjoy getting to know the characters, their foibles and eccentricities, rather than placing the murder itself centre stage, this is the book for you and highly recommended.

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  • natalie
  • 29-12-21

this is terrible in every way

this has a graphic, unappolegetic, almost gleeful description of a rape of a young boy. dont read this.

a bit besides the point, but all of the other characters are so unpleasant, you keep wishing all of them dead. and the "detective" is constantly hitting on his suspects and ends up sleeping with a 19 year old. what a gross, endlessly horrible book.