I just read the 2007 noirish novel “Christine Falls” by Benjamin Black
(the pen name of Booker Prize-winning author John Banville). Set in
the 1950s in Dublin and in the Irish immigrant community in the Boston
area, the book follows the rather unwilling and desultory
investigation of a mysterious death by a hospital pathologist, a Dr.
Quirke, who uncovers a heinous scheme to export unwanted Irish babies
to orphanages in the U.S. I loved the writing, and the reluctance of
the author to turn the tale into a by-the-numbers mystery thriller.
Almost everything about the book confounds a reader’s expectations,
but it still functions as an entertaining read. I liked it so well I
quickly picked up and read the 2008 sequel, “The Silver Swan.”

Mark Pritchard
Bernal Heights

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Founder/Executive Editor. I’ve been a Mission resident since 1998 and a professor emeritus at Berkeley’s J-school since 2019 when I retired. I got my start in newspapers at the Albuquerque Tribune in the city where I was born and raised. Like many local news outlets, The Tribune no longer exists. I left daily newspapers after working at The New York Times for the business, foreign and city desks. Lucky for all of us, it is still there.

As an old friend once pointed out, local has long been in my bones. My Master’s Project at Columbia, later published in New York Magazine, was on New York City’s experiment in community boards.

Right now I'm trying to figure out how you make that long-held interest in local news sustainable. The answer continues to elude me.

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