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Vengeance (Quirke) Hardcover – 7 Aug 2012


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Product details

  • Hardcover: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Henry Holt & Company (7 Aug. 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0805094393
  • ISBN-13: 978-0805094398
  • Product Dimensions: 16.3 x 2.9 x 24.4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (49 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 3,277,735 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Review

‘A beautifully written and a scrupulously characterized portrait of mid-twentieth- century Dublin’ Literary Review

‘As with the previous books, this one is replete with all the period detail and atmospherics one could hope for in a thriller. Black is a master of presentation. The nudges and the winks, the red herrings and the wool-pullings are all consummately done. The gears of the plot mesh silently and inexorably and the whole machine moves forward to its disastrous outcome. On the way to its terminus, the book becomes more and more Banvillean and it is all the better for that . . . But Black's and Quirke's Dublin remains the gritty and deplorable place it has always been and Vengeance is a memorable and compelling snapshot’ Independent Ireland

'Engaging . . . The liquid precision of the writing presents convincing characters. It renders the drama of their lives as strangely matter-of-fact while fully illuminating the forces at work. We are deftly led through a complex entanglement of charged but often spent relationships. There is a blunt empathy with the principal characters that is curiously affecting. Effortlessly, it would seem, and never wanting, Banville’s description of the physical world is superb. Vengeance is the fifth novel in the Quirke Dublin series by John Banville, writing under the pen name Benjamin Black. It is a pleasure to read’ Irish Times --This text refers to an alternate Hardcover edition.

About the Author

Benjamin Black is the pen name of acclaimed author John Banville, who was born in Wexford, Ireland, in 1945. His novels have won numerous awards, most recently the Man Booker Prize in 2005 for The Sea. He lives in Dublin. Also available from Benjamin Black: Christine Falls, The Silver Swan, Elegy for April, A Death in Summer --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Sid Nuncius HALL OF FAMETOP 10 REVIEWER on 10 July 2012
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
I enjoyed this book, although I do have my reservations about it. Set in Ireland in the 1950s, pathologist Quirke investigates two deaths in two families who together own and run a large business. This is the fifth in the Quirke series and it helps to have read some of the earlier ones although it isn't essential.

The plot, frankly, is slight and predictable and anyone familiar with crime fiction will spot most of what is coming from an early stage. Although not as floridly literary as when he is writing under his own name, Banville's underlying interests are the same: insights into how character works and rich evocation of time, place and the internal lives of his characters. He succeeds well with all of that here; my reservations are mainly that I didn't feel that this was quite enough to carry the book with so little interesting plot. Personally, I don't find Quirke a terribly interesting character so having his thoughts and behaviour as the central theme of the book didn't really work for me, and Inspector Hackett, who I found a wonderful creation in the previous book, scarcely gets a look-in here. However, there is enough in other characters to hold the interest and I found I wanted to see how things turned out.

I suspect that readers looking for a good crime thriller will be a bit disappointed, but fans of Banville will love this. It's not a gripping read, but recommended nonetheless as a thoughtful and contemplative one with a good deal of interest.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Bluecashmere. TOP 1000 REVIEWER on 8 Sept. 2014
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This, the fifth in the Quirke series, more than lives up to the virtues of its predecessors. In fact, I think it is my favourite so far. Certainly, there is no sign of Black running out of steam yet.

Here, the action centres on a family feud and business rivalry, but once again it is less a burning sense of suspense than the texture of the writing and the lives of the three central, permanent characters that rivet attention. Against the background of 1950s Dublin – the time if not perhaps the place – is sharply realised, and becomes almost an additional character. The plot is skilfully handled, but our attention is every bit as much focused on the lives and relationships of Quirke, himself, his daughter Phoebe and his foil, the phlegmatic but sharp Inspector Hackett.

As I write I think I have only one novel in this series left to read. I savour the prospect and hope that Black is hard at work on the seventh. I find Quirke one of the most engaging of crime novel detectives.
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By emma who reads a lot TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 19 Oct. 2012
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
The Quirke books are a curious series: John Banville is more famous as a literary novelist and he brings all his powers of evocative description and sense of place to his second identity as a crime writer. Vengeance tells the story of two families linked by business concerns who are so dysfunctional that there is wonderful potential for horrid goings on. A suicide, then a murder - all brilliantly described.

The book takes turns describing events from different characters' points of view, which immediately breaks a crime novel convention - but your knowledge of what actually happened increases with beautiful slowness, utterly loyal to the tradition of the genre. Banville is particularly good at capturing people and their tiny tics - there's a moment in this novel where he describes a woman is feeling utterly short-tempered with a friend, then snaps at her but immediately puts on a smile hoping to soften the impression of her ill-temper... The woman's character is totally defined by this one detail and these sorts of things are wonderfully caught throughout.

In fact a layer of Irish society - for all I know, completely fictional - is totally evoked in these novels, and no less in this new one. These people are upper-class, odd, rather grand, spend money and don't really generate it - they rarely relate to one another in any human way.. Glamorous women dot the books, and are described in loving detail right down to every item of their outfits and their toenail varnish. It reminds me a lot of hard-boiled noir in a way.

But this is not a conventional crime novel, that's the important thing to know. There's a lot more emphasis on colour, flavour, personality, than on narrative. If you buy it expecting the normal twists and turns of a modern crime novel I think you could be disappointed. But for capturing a family so dysfunctional that murder could occur in their ranks, I think he deserves full marks.
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Format: Hardcover
So happy to have just learned that Man Booker Prize winner John Banville (who writes under the pseudonym Benjamin Black) will write a new Philip Marlowe novel to be published next year. Yes, in an agreement with the estate of Marlowe's creator Raymond Chandler Banville aka Black will reprise the fellow who has been called the hardest of hard-boiled private detectives.

While I have to wait until next year for that I'm now savoring the pleasure found in Vengeance, the fifth novel in Black's popular Quirke series. Quirke, consultant pathologist at the Hospital of the Holy Family, is a far cry from Marlowe but every bit as fascinating. He drinks far too much, easily beds women when so inclined, isn't much of a father but when Inspector Hackett has a case making him feel "like a monkey with a coconut and no stone to crack it on." he turns to Quirke. And the pathologist is easy to find - "perched at the bar in his usual spot....a glass of Jameson's at his elbow."

The case that so puzzles Hackett involves the death, an apparent suicide, of Victor Delahaye. If it was suicide it was surely an odd way to go about it. Delahaye, an accomplished sailor, takes Davy Clancy, the son of his business partner, out for a sail. Davy dislikes water but believed he could not reject Delahaye's invitation. After going out a fair way and engaging in very little conversation save for a story about how his father thought to teach him self-reliance, Delahaye pulls out a pistol and shoots himself. Knowing absolutely nothing about boats Davy is left at sea in more ways than one.

Delahaye's suicide is a conundrum for all as his garage business is doing well, he has recently married a young, beautiful woman, Mona, and is a well placed member of Dublin society.
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