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4.1 out of 5 stars52
4.1 out of 5 stars
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VINE VOICEon 17 February 2013
Format: Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
The mystery in this story isn't taxing, nor is the final solution that unexpected. However the writing is outstanding. It is the literary equivalent of an "ear worm" ... I found myself using the novel's voice to describe my everyday activities and observations. The story does grip and is ultimately satisfying. Black's descriptive prose is astute and well judged, the characterisation seemingly effortless but right on the button. His people come alive on the page, well observed in all their strengths, idiosyncrasies and frailties. I was new to the Quirke series of novels set in Dublin. It took me a while to work out that it is set in the 1950's, I had to do some maths ... but Black doesn't fall into the too common trap of bestowing his characters with 21st Century sensitivities and mores. I am now ordering the earlier novels so enamoured am I of his writing. (I was half way through this book when I learned that the series is set for TV adaptation; I want to read the novels first.) Highly recommended.
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VINE VOICEon 26 October 2012
Format: Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
The families joined in business, one family, the Delahayes, being in charge and the other, the Clancy's, also rans, leading to considerable resentment.The two Fathers who started it all are retired, one in a wheel chair after a stroke, the other in a home for the mentally infirm.The two sons run the company and both families spend their holidays together every year at the Delahaye's country house.
Then Victor Delahaye takes his boat out to sea with just Davy Clancy, his partners son, for company and commits suicide leaving Davy adrift at sea.He is rescued but a week later his Father Phil is found dead having put to sea in his rowing boat which sank. Phil has an injury to the back of his head and murder is suspected by DI Hackett and his friend the pathologist, Doctor Quirke.
I found the book slow going and the characters not particularly believable. A fairly mundane plot although it did have a twist at the end. Not for me.
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on 18 August 2012
Format: Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
This new Quirke novel written by the acclaimed author John Banville aka Benjamin Black was an OK read. Having read Death in Summer I found this book a bit of a continuation with most of the same characters but a new mystery for Quirke and his sleuthing partner, Inspector Hackett, to solve.
Set in 50s Dublin the story starts with a local wealthy business man who is found dead in his sailing boat out at sea, with his business partners young son alive with him. Quirke does the autopsy and thinks all is not as it seems. Flirting with widows, who just seem to fall at his feet, and chatting to all the right people, the mystery slowly reveals itself.
I found the story a little slow at the start with a lot of detail into Quirke's personal goings-on which I thought didn't do much for the story. After a bit of reading the story did really get going and was pretty good with a few surprise twists and turns along the way.
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 15 January 2013
Format: Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
Set in 1950s Dublin this is a crime novel with an old-fashioned air about it, written with a high level of literary integrity. The characterisation and prose are fluent and assured, and there's a simple eloquence about the style which makes this a very easy book to get drawn into.

The plotting, however, is less satisfying, and it's very easy to work things out well before our investigators.

This is the fifth in the Quirke series but the first that I have read and Quirke himself feels like an afterthought in the book. I found it impossible to believe that a man who is so cold, awkward, dull and `dusty' could also prove so attractive to so many women - maybe the clues are in the earlier books?

So this is effectively an easy, cosy read written with more style than in usual in the genre - I enjoyed it well enough but it hasn't left me desperate to read the rest of the Quirke series.
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Format: Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
The timing and setting of `Vengeance' is engaging as 1950s Ireland, and its plot is a somewhat rather old fashioned murder crime thriller without recourse to the brutal violence of many modern novels. There are numerous absorbing characters and there are intriguing conflicting connections with a number of twists incorporated, but the storyline is generally straightforward and the plot fairly predictable. It may be elegantly written with sparkling descriptions and excellent dialogue, particularly involving main protagonist as pathologist Dr. Quirke and police inspector Hackett, but it is unexceptional. As expected from a series of Quirke novels the pathologist acts the part of detective, but too much is made of his personal relationships and he becomes unnecessarily embroiled with the family of the crime victims. `Vengeance' is an easy and enjoyable read but only average - hence 3-star rating.
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VINE VOICEon 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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on 8 August 2014
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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VINE VOICEon 13 December 2013
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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Format: Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
This is a book of many facets,a suicide with a witness to set it off,a detective and a pathologist who are tasked with unraveling the relationships of the multilayered characters at the heart of the mystery. When a second death occurs , even more shocking than the first, the pathologist, Doctor Quirke discovers terrible secrets which lie buried within these entangled families. Jealousy, ruthless ambition and pride, lay at the heart of it all. Enjoy, the ups and downs of this absorbing plot, with its shocks and surprises. A really good read, it with keep you enthralled, to the very last page
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on 18 September 2012
Format: Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
I enjoyed this. I really liked the style of writing. I thought that it was a lot better than most crime novels. I sometimes find John Banville's books a little too self consciously literary but this was a lot better. The writing is very clear but also evocative.

The background details were interesting and the main character was quite quirky ( sorry!). The plot itself was a slight let down, I felt that maybe there should have been more to it. Despite this I would still recommend this book.
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