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49 Reviews
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Well written, but not one of his best
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...
Published on 10 July 2012 by Sid Nuncius

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3.0 out of 5 stars Vengeance
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...
Published on 18 Aug. 2012 by Kevin Roche


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3.0 out of 5 stars Vengeance, 18 Aug. 2012
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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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4.0 out of 5 stars A crime novel with literary integrity, 15 Jan. 2013
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Roman Clodia (London) - See all my reviews
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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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3.0 out of 5 stars Unexceptional, 16 Sept. 2012
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D. Elliott (Ulverston, Cumbria) - See all my reviews
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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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3.0 out of 5 stars adequate but significant room for improvement, 16 April 2014
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Ash - See all my reviews
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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 A wonderfully well written book to lose yourself in., 8 Aug. 2014
By 
Sarah (TAUNTON, United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Vengeance: Quirke Mysteries Book 5 (Paperback)
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 Well-written and enjoyable thriller ., 13 Dec. 2013
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bookworm8 "bookworm8" (UK) - See all my reviews
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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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4.0 out of 5 stars Jealousy, ambition. This has it all, 16 May 2013
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FLB (England) - See all my reviews
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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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4.0 out of 5 stars Superior Crime, 18 Sept. 2012
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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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6 of 8 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Quirke is increasingly unsatisfactory, 30 Jun. 2012
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S. B. Kelly (London United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
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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.

The title is interesting: it's the first time Black has used a single word -- a stark abstraction -- as his title in the Quirke series. Revenge is one of the driving forces of human action, but who is it who is seeking vengeance, and for what? The book is a short and easy read but somehow unsatisfactory; the contrivance of an alibi is too obvious and the denouement weak and hasty.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Everything but the plot, 27 Aug. 2013
By 
D. P. Mankin (Ceredigion, Wales) - See all my reviews
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I haven't read a Benjamin Black novel since the first in the series. The fundamental problem with the debut novel remains. The plot. Whilst John Banville is a beautiful writer his ability to craft a complex, multi-layered crime novel is less assured. Which is a real shame given his ability to craft believable characters and evoke the period. I really wanted to love this book but until the author improves his plotting it could be several more books before I dip into the series again.
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Vengeance: Quirke Mysteries Book 5
Vengeance: Quirke Mysteries Book 5 by Benjamin Black (Paperback - 9 May 2013)
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