Vengeance (Quirke Mysteries) Hardcover – 2 Aug 2012
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‘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
The latest irresistible Quirke mystery from the Booker prize-winning author: now a major TV series starring Gabriel ByrneSee all Product Description
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Top Customer Reviews
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.
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.Read more ›
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.
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.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
These Quirke novels are a good, yet undemanding, read. I presume I'm not the only fan more interested in Quirke's own mysterious impenetrability than whatever death he is... Read morePublished 9 months ago by insomniac
Great book at terrific price and packed with extra protectionPublished 13 months ago by michael schwartz
Usual good story by this author, have read most of his booksPublished 18 months ago by Mrs Patricia Fleet
Wonderful addition to the series. John Banville as himself or as Benjamin Black is one of the best writers writing today.Published 20 months ago by Peter Rosenwald
I haven't even started reading it yet therefore cannot give an opinionPublished 21 months ago by W. Jack
The more I read this series the more I like it. Looking forward to Number Six. hoping Seven is on the way.Published 22 months ago by Deep Reader
Great book, all Benjamin Blacks stories are riveting and this is no exception.Published 23 months ago by Amazon Customer