The work of John Banville—Booker-winning novelist and New York Review of Books contributor—might seem an unlikely source for a prime-time crime series. But now BBC1 has adapted three of the books Banville has written under the pseudonym of Benjamin Black for what is a traditional Sunday-night murder slot on British television.
Gabriel Byrne plays Banville’s crime-solving pathologist, known even to his intimates only as Quirke, a heavy drinker with plenty to drink about. (Among much else, Quirke was brought up in one of Ireland’s notorious “orphanages” for illegitimate children, and later had a wife who died in childbirth). The series gives the novels the full-on noir treatment, complete with endless rain, corrupt authority figures, lots of trilby hats and trench coats—and a commitment to smoking that Mad Men might consider a bit excessive.
For more information and programming schedules, visit bbc.co.uk. Out on DVD in June.