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A Death in Summer by Benjamin Black
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A Death in Summer

by Benjamin Black

Series: Quirke (4)

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English (38)  Spanish (2)  Italian (1)  French (1)  All languages (42)
Showing 1-5 of 38 (next | show all)
This was an exciting thriller playing in the 1950s in and around Dublin. It's the fourth volume from the Quirke series, but for me it's the first book I read from this series.
Richard Jewell, a nasty contemporary, is found dead at his desk. At first everything looks like a suicide. Only the pathologist Quirke and Inspector Hackett believe in murder. To enlighten this is very difficult, because all the protagonists have something to hide. Furthermore, it turns out that even sexual abuse is a motive. ( )
  Ameise1 | May 5, 2018 |
Having enjoyed Banville's forage into Chandler's World with a "new" Philip Marlow novel, "The Black-Eyed Blonde", I decided to give Banville's "Quirke" series a try. After all, it was obvious in The Black-Eyes Blonde, Banville was no slouch as a writer and, more evidence of this is that Banville was short-listed for the Booker Prize in 1989 for "The Book of Evidence", won the Booker Prize in 2005 for "The Sea" and was awarded the Franz Kafka Prize in 2013. Banville has at least a dozen or so other most-prestigious awards--and, it is rumored, he is on the short-list for a Nobel Prize in Literature. Even though Banville has labeled his crime fiction as "cheap fiction" , Banville's writing has been called perfectly crafted, beautiful, and dazzling. His skill shows up here in this pleasurable read of his "cheap fiction". The only book in the Quirke series in the Library at the time I went looking was "A Death in Summer" from 2011, by Banville's alter-ego Benjamin Black. I read it in three stayed-up-late sittings. The writing is magnificent and, as he is known-for a terrific sense of humor it, fortunately, in a subtle and not easily perceived way, shows through in this novel-which is the 4th book of the Quirke series. Beginning with the main protagonist "Quirke" , starting with the character's name, moving on to his occupation, and his dialogue and his image of himself, that sense of humor continues to reside in a light dusting throughout the personalities, the language, the places, and the physical being of the other characters. The plot does not hold center stage here--the people, and the places do. The plot is importantly there however, is believable, i effective and not fabricated, but who did it and how was it done frequently turns over the stage to who who is, and why and what who will do next , and why who did what was done in the first place. Make no mistake, however; the book has power, reward, suffering and pain, laid on with a most delicate hand. ( )
  SmithfieldJones | Dec 10, 2016 |
This felt a bit less lyrical, and "thinner" in the story than previous ones. Still enjoyable, except for Dr Quirke's unaccountably charming way with the posh ladies... ( )
  jkdavies | Jun 14, 2016 |
With humidity as thick as molasses, an Irish heat wave threatens to bring Dublin to a slow crawl in this 1950s drama. Like Ireland itself, time moves slowly and this novel could have been written in a time dating from 1920s forward. Only references to concentration camps and the French resistance give us an accuracy to bring time forward.
Like a take-off on Holmes and Watson, Inspector Hackett and his trusted partner, pathologist Dr. Quirke make an odd pair poking around in the affairs of dead newspaper owner, Richard ‘Diamond Dick’ Jewell. In a country still torn with prejudice after World War II the Irish seem surprised to find a Jewish conclave here in Dublin, one treated with respect unless they happen to get in the way. Jewell apparently got in someone’s way.
Dropping clues like flies on a sticky summer day, Black allows us to see ahead of his investigators and we want to shout out warnings and have them discard the red-herrings. As the only so-human, flawed protagonist, Quirke, stumbles blindly ahead, only seeing the clues like a mole suddenly blinded by the bright sky after sticking his snout of a hole for the first time. Surely he can’t help but notice what he has been tripping over, especially when a bloody finger is attached to his front door in an envelope.
Jewell’s death has so many possible suspects that it takes the entire book to whittle them down slowly, one at a time keeping you guessing until the very end. The plodding pace of the book helps evolve the storyline and makes this one worth hanging in there until the inevitable conclusion.
( )
  MarkPSadler | Jan 17, 2016 |
With humidity as thick as molasses, an Irish heat wave threatens to bring Dublin to a slow crawl in this 1950s drama. Like Ireland itself, time moves slowly and this novel could have been written in a time dating from 1920s forward. Only references to concentration camps and the French resistance give us an accuracy to bring time forward.
Like a take-off on Holmes and Watson, Inspector Hackett and his trusted partner, pathologist Dr. Quirke make an odd pair poking around in the affairs of dead newspaper owner, Richard ‘Diamond Dick’ Jewell. In a country still torn with prejudice after World War II the Irish seem surprised to find a Jewish conclave here in Dublin, one treated with respect unless they happen to get in the way. Jewell apparently got in someone’s way.
Dropping clues like flies on a sticky summer day, Black allows us to see ahead of his investigators and we want to shout out warnings and have them discard the red-herrings. As the only so-human, flawed protagonist, Quirke, stumbles blindly ahead, only seeing the clues like a mole suddenly blinded by the bright sky after sticking his snout of a hole for the first time. Surely he can’t help but notice what he has been tripping over, especially when a bloody finger is attached to his front door in an envelope.
Jewell’s death has so many possible suspects that it takes the entire book to whittle them down slowly, one at a time keeping you guessing until the very end. The plodding pace of the book helps evolve the storyline and makes this one worth hanging in there until the inevitable conclusion.
( )
  MarkPSadler | Jan 17, 2016 |
Showing 1-5 of 38 (next | show all)
"A Death in Summer," Black's fourth book featuring pathologist Garret Quirke, is a swift, hopscotching murder mystery set in postwar Ireland. Quirke is called in on the Jewell case by Detective Inspector Hackett, and he can't help but get involved. He and Hackett believe Jewell's death was not a suicide, and they spend much of the book working together. They're similar and different; both are middle-aged, but Hackett is plump and rumpled, while Quirke is tall and dissolutely handsome. In one of Black's previous novels, Quirke went to rehab, but here he starts drinking again; it's as if the genre demands that he lift a glass.
 
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When word got about that Richard Jewell had been found with the greater part of his head blown off and clutching a shotgun in his bloodless hands, few outside the family circle and few inside it, either, considered his demise a cause for sorrow.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0805090924, Hardcover)

One of The Chicago Tribune's Best Reads of 2011

One of Dublin's most powerful men meets a violent end— and an acknowledged master of crime fiction delivers his most gripping novel yet

On a sweltering summer afternoon, newspaper tycoon Richard Jewell—known to his many enemies as Diamond Dick—is discovered with his head blown off by a shotgun blast. But is it suicide or murder? For help with the investigation, Detective Inspector Hackett calls in his old friend Quirke, who has unusual access to Dublin's elite.

Jewell's coolly elegant French wife, Françoise, seems less than shocked by her husband's death. But Dannie, Jewell's high-strung sister, is devastated, and Quirke is surprised to learn that in her grief she has turned to an unexpected friend: David Sinclair, Quirke's ambitious assistant in the pathology lab at the Hospital of the Holy Family. Further, Sinclair has been seeing Quirke's fractious daughter Phoebe, and an unlikely romance is blossoming between the two. As a record heat wave envelops the city and the secret deals underpinning Diamond Dick's empire begin to be revealed, Quirke and Hackett find themselves caught up in a dark web of intrigue and violence that threatens to end in disaster.

Tightly plotted and gorgeously written, A Death in Summer proves to the brilliant but sometimes reckless Quirke that in a city where old money and the right bloodlines rule, he is by no means safe from mortal danger.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:15:18 -0400)

(see all 4 descriptions)

When newspaper magnate Richard Jewell is found dead at his country estate, clutching a shotgun in his lifeless hands, few see his demise as cause for sorrow. But before long Doctor Quirke and Inspector Hackett realize that, rather than the suspected suicide, "Diamond Dick" has in fact been murdered.

» see all 6 descriptions

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