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Vengeance (Quirke) [Hardcover]

Benjamin Black
4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (46 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: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (46 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 2,820,051 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

4.1 out of 5 stars
4.1 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
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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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Another triumph for Black. 8 Sep 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 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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6 of 8 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Quirke is increasingly unsatisfactory 30 Jun 2012
Format:Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
The Delahayes and the Clancys have been in business together for two generations but everyone knows that the Delahayes call the tune. So it is that Davy Clancy doesn't feel he can refuse when Victor Delahaye, his father's partner, invites him out on his boat one day when they are all holidaying at the Delahayes' country house near Cork. Once out at sea, Victor takes out a gun and shoots himself. As the families are Dubliners, the case is passed over to Inspector Hackett who, uncomfortable with the rich and posh, asks Quirke to help him. The Delahayes --young second wife and louche twin sons-- seem little affected by his shocking death. Only Victor's spinster sister Maggie seems to care. Meanwhile, Davy's father, Jack, has been secretly attempting a hostile takeover of the company. Then there is another death: we, the readers, know that it is murder but that is not obvious to Hackett.

Having been the central pivot in the first four books, Quirke seems curiously marginalised here, as if only half awake. Black created a vivid character in Christine Falls but has left him to fade away ever since. Left by the woman he loved in volume 4, he finds himself back in the arms of actress Isabel, whom he previously dumped and left to a suicide attempt of her own. The glamorous widow Delayhaye also has her eye on him. As so often in fiction written by men, we are expected to believe that no attractive woman can wait to throw herself into the arms of a depressed, middle-aged alcoholic.

90% of the time Black writes beautiful, resonant prose and then a leaden cliché will appear on the page, as if a troll had crept into his manuscript and vandalised it.
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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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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Addictive
The more I read this series the more I like it. Looking forward to Number Six. hoping Seven is on the way.
Published 21 days ago by Deep Reader
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Great book, all Benjamin Blacks stories are riveting and this is no exception.
Published 1 month ago by Dymphnamarie
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
A bit rambling
Published 1 month ago by Michael Phelan
5.0 out of 5 stars Addicted to Quirke
I love the Dublin atmosphere of the 50s and 60s & also the quirky (sorry) resolutions to these well-written stories.
Published 7 months ago by AK Howard
5.0 out of 5 stars gripping
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
Published 7 months ago by Leslie Gardner
4.0 out of 5 stars Thriller
Mystery and resolve are the order of this book.
This is a series of books, but each one can be read individually without anything being lost. Read more
Published 7 months ago by Mrs. C. Colbert
5.0 out of 5 stars 5th in the Quike Books
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. Read more
Published 8 months ago by HJK
5.0 out of 5 stars Well-written and enjoyable thriller .
Set in Dublin, this is the fifth book in the 'Quirke' series. The plot twists and turns, keeping the reader guessing satisfactorily. Read more
Published 9 months ago by bookworm8
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant
Not to everybody's taste but I enjoyed it, a little predictable and drawn out in area but a good read.
Published 10 months ago by RAK
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