0 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Wine, Women and Death,
This review is from: Vengeance (Quirke Mysteries) (Hardcover)
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)Victor Delahaye, a respected and apparently successful business man, takes his business partner's son Davy Clancy out in his sailing boat and then, once the coastline has disappeared over the horizon, shoots himself. Clearly a case of suicide, but why did Victor need a witness to his death, and why did he choose the seemingly harmless and innocent Davy?
Inspector Hackett and his friend, the Pathologist Dr Quirke, investigate the mystery and find themselves embroiled in a toxic mix of business and family feuds; a world of cracked, edgy aunts; mischievious and possibly malicious twins; unfaithful wives (Victor's wife, Mona, with her beautiful looks, love of a drink and her taste for dresses of a poisonous snake-like green was the highlight of the book for me) and weasle-faced tale-telling accountants. The plot for 'Vengeance' I found fairly slight, albeit still satisfying, but the characters with their flaws, crooked interests and ability to raid the drinks cabinet at every turn are a constant delight. As other reviewers have commented Dr Quirke has rather less to do in this novel than in the previous entries in the series which is something of a shame but the weird and wonderful Delahayes and Clancys with their guilty secrets and penchant for back-stabbing make up for Quirke's reduced role.
As one would expect from an author of Black's (i.e. John Banville's) calibre the prose is elegant and the dialogue in particular has a genuine edge: the scene towards the end of the novel where Quirke questions Mona Delahaye about the mysterious twins and their role in the lacing of his daughter's drink is a masterpiece of subtle, sustained menace. I would have liked a bit more background and colour regarding 1950s Ireland (there's much less of this here than in the previous books) but all the same the characters inhabit a convincing world. In conclusion I'd definitely recommended the novel if you like your detective fiction well-written, character-based and populated by femme fatales with a taste for manipulation and deceit and where everything is played out against a background of cigarette smoke and alcohol. Vengeance is 1950s Irish Noir, served up with style and laced with heady quantities of wine, women and death.