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Vengeance (Quirke) [Hardcover]

Benjamin Black
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (44 customer reviews)

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Book Description

7 Aug 2012 Quirke (Book 5)
This is the latest irresistible Quirke Dublin mystery from the Booker prize-winning author. Why would suicide need a witness? On the east coast of Ireland, Victor Delahaye, one of the country's most prominent citizens, takes his business partner's son out sailing. But once at sea, Davy Clancy is horrified to witness Delahaye take out a gun and shoot himself dead. This strange event captures the attention of Detective Inspector Hackett and his friend Pathologist Doctor Quirke. The Delahayes' and Clancy's have been rivals for generations and the suicide lays bare the perplexing characters at the heart of the mystery, from Mona, Delahaye's toxic young widow, to Jonas and James, his strange, enigmatic twin sons; and Jack Clancy, his down-trodden, womanizing partner. And when a second death occurs, one even more shocking than the first, Quirke begins to realise that terrible secrets lie buried within these entangled families; and that in this world of jealousy, ruthless ambition and pride - nothing is quite as it seems...
--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Product details

  • Hardcover: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Henry Holt & Company (7 Aug 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0805094393
  • ISBN-13: 978-0805094398
  • Product Dimensions: 24 x 16 x 3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (44 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 2,734,930 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description


‘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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Customer Reviews

4.0 out of 5 stars
4.0 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Well written, but not one of his best 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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By Sarah
This is the first Benjamin Black mystery I have read and it will not be the last. Really well written and well paced, with no graphic violence or foul language. Thoroughly enjoyable. Set in Dublin and Cork, it concerns the business which is run by two families, the Delahaye family and the Clancy family. It opens with the death of Victor Delahaye. The crime is investigated by D.I. Hackett and pathologist, Doctor Quirke. It is a well written, book which reads as part saga, part thriller/mystery, such is the depth of detail and quality of writing; but this does not detract, or hamper the pace of this superb book. I found it to be a book I could not put down.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Birthday Gift 2 May 2014
By E Read
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Bought for my son who is studying Media at Uni, in order for him to complete his course, he loves it
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3.0 out of 5 stars adequate but significant room for improvement 16 April 2014
Format:Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
I had never read a Benjamin Black book before, and having read this one, I am not sure I will again.

While I do think the author has a easy way with language, and the prose flows easily making the reading of the book both enjoyable and easy-going, the plot and plot development were less assured. The plot lacks the depth required to make it a real mystery with little emphasis on complexity and clarity, which are both compatible and essential in a mystery.

I also felt that, while the lead characters are well written, and clearly, something the author has spent time developing, the secondary characters at times descended into caricature with too many secrets and unknowns to make them either convincing or even vaguely relatable. All of which resulted in a somewhat stuttering storyline, which failed to capture, let alone retain my interest.
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5.0 out of 5 stars gripping 10 Feb 2014
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
i love Quirke more and more as i read his stories; his appeal gets him entangled deeply in any case he goes near and his sensibility solves things fast - i can ever get enough
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5.0 out of 5 stars 5th in the Quike Books 31 Jan 2014
Format:Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
This is the 5th book in the Quirke series - however this is my 1st & it was possible to read & enjoy it without having read the others. (Having said that I have now just read Elegy for April - the 3rd in the series & will go on to read the others).

I enjoyed this book - is goes at a slow, measured pace to get to a solution - it is not a "wham bang" action thriller.

Dr. Quirke is a pathologist is 1950s Dublin & the strange events involving 2 families capture his attention and that of Inspector Hackett.

The Delahaye family & the Clancy family have been involved in business for several generations. At the beginning of the novel Victor Delahaye & Davy Clancy go out sailing .... Victor takes out a gun and shoots himself dead .......

I went to Dublin in the 1980s ... I think the feel of Dublin is very much here in the book.

Quirke himself is a very flawed character & the "back story" of his earlier life is interesting & strange - to get the full picture I think I must read the rest of the series.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Well-written and enjoyable thriller . 13 Dec 2013
By bookworm8 VINE VOICE
Format:Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
Set in Dublin, this is the fifth book in the 'Quirke' series. The plot twists and turns, keeping the reader guessing satisfactorily. Descriptions of places and families are very convincing. The characters, although sometimes devious and cruel, are very believable and the reader can easily sympathise with some of them, increasing the engagement with the text that I find a pleasure when reading John Banville (aka Benjamin Black). If you like thrillers, and have not read these, start with the first. If you are already a fan, this one will not disappoint. Ideal for Christmas to convert new readers!
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5.0 out of 5 stars recommended 10 Nov 2013
By xenofan VINE VOICE
Format:Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
A great story, begins quickly and challenges the reader to solve the mystery. Lots of twists and turns with well developed characters. Quirke and Hackett (two of the main characters) are mysterious yet slowly reveal elements of their personality as the story unfolds. A good ending that I certainly did not expect with many red herrings along the way to challenge me. Recommended read.
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