A Death in Summer: A Novel

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A Death in Summer: A Novel

by Benjamin Black

Henry Holt and Co. | October 30, 2012 | Hardcover

A Death in Summer: A Novel is rated 3 out of 5 by 1.

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.

Format: Hardcover

Dimensions: 320 pages, 9.53 × 6.44 × 1.18 in

Published: October 30, 2012

Publisher: Henry Holt and Co.

Language: English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10: 0805090924

ISBN - 13: 9780805090925

Found in: Fiction and Literature

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Reviews

Rated 3 out of 5 by from Great character, but somewhat predictable storyline Good old Quirke. The coroner/sleuth/ladies man is back to solve another puzzle. I've read the other Dr. Quirke books by Benjamin Black, and there's just something so appealing about the Dublin city life and Dr. Quirke in it: his mournful boozing, the earnest but misguided attempts at parenting his adult daughter, and the stream of ladies that nevers ends, despite no apparent effort on his part to attract them. In fact, I picture him much as the detective George Gently played by Martin Shaw on the British television series Gently. In any case, this story involves the suspected suicide of the high-profile society member and horseman Richard Jewell. Quirke ends up at the country estate almost immediately and assists in interviewing the widow, a striking French woman who is calm and collected despite the horror she just discovered. As in many television shows, the medical examiner here seems more of a detective than a doctor...he pretty much leads the investigation for all purposes. Yes, it's a bit of a stretch but Quirke is just that kind of character, one that Black (a pseudonym of author John Banville) writes well. Because it takes place in Ireland, there are gorgeous descriptions of country estates, drawing rooms, and endless cups of tea. As in all Black novels, many descriptions of the facets of light and dark, the penumbras of shadow play. I noticed a new motif in this particular novel-trees are often described extensively and with a sense of purpose to the story. It's a nice touch that makes the story feel more of a journey than a procedural. So with all that going for it, it should be better than it is. Don't get me wrong, I really enjoy the series and the character of Quirke is up there with Wallander for me in terms of crime fiction. But this one disappointed me in two ways. First, it introduces a story line about Sinclair, Quirke's assistant, and his possible relationship with Phoebe, Quirke's troubled but plucky daughter. It's compelling, but it doesn't seem to develop-it drops off completely. Then, there are the other characters that make up the suspects, and I felt like they were all sort of caricatures-from beginning to end, they never changed in their behavior. Instead of developing some complexity or depth, they simply remained the same as when the story introduces them. This made predicting and solving the crime fairly easy for the reader. Usually in a detective story, the underlying rule is 'nothing is as it seems'; yet in this one, yep, it pretty much is exactly how it seems. And, no spoilers here, but in terms of imagination, the plot of this book has been on every other episode of Law & Order SVU. Mental illness, homeles children, anti-Semitic hate crimes, and business corruption fill in the blanks, but the basic premise is pretty bland and predictable. It's still an enjoyable read, as there's something strangely peaceful about the old-school sleuthing that Quirke does.
Date published: 2011-07-05

– More About This Product –

A Death in Summer: A Novel

by Benjamin Black

Format: Hardcover

Dimensions: 320 pages, 9.53 × 6.44 × 1.18 in

Published: October 30, 2012

Publisher: Henry Holt and Co.

Language: English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10: 0805090924

ISBN - 13: 9780805090925

About the Book

On a sweltering summer afternoon, newspaper tycoon Richard Jewell 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.

Read from the Book

1When 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. Jewell, known to the jauntier among his detractors as Diamond Dick, had been a wealthy man. The bulk of his money he had inherited from his father, the notorious Francis T.—Francie—Jewell, sometime Lord Mayor and proprietor of a highly successful newspaper chain that included the scurrilous and much-feared Daily Clarion, the city's top-selling paper. The older Jewell had been something of an uncut stone, given to violent vendettas and a loathing of trades unions, but his son, though no less unscrupulous and vengeful, had sought to polish the family name to a high luster by means of well-publicized acts of philanthropy. Richard Jewell was known for his sponsorship of orphanages and schools for the handicapped, while the recently opened Jewell Wing of the Hospital of the Holy Family was in the vanguard of the fight against tuberculosis. These and other initiatives should have made Dick Jewell a hero in a city beset by poverty and chronic ill health, but now that he was dead many among the citizenry declared themselves ready to dance on his grave.His corpse was discovered that Sunday afternoon in his office above the stables at Brooklands, the place in County Kildare jointly owned by him and his wife. Maguire, the yard manager, had com
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From the Publisher

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.

About the Author

Benjamin Black is the pen name of the novelist John Banville.  As Black, he is the author of the bestselling and critically acclaimed Quirke novels, including Christine Falls, The Silver Swan, and Elegy for April, and his standalone novel, The Lemur. Christine Falls was nominated for both the Edgar Award and Macavity Award for Best Novel. Writing as John Banville, his novel The Sea is the winner of the 2005 Man Booker Prize. Black was born in Wexford, Ireland, and lives in Dublin.

Editorial Reviews

"[Benjamin Black’s] books about the dour Irish pathologist named Quirke have effortless flair, with their period-piece cinematic ambience and their sultry romance. The Black books are much more like Alan Furst’s elegant, doom-infused World War II spy books than like standard crime tales."—Janet Maslin, The New York Times"Black’s drab Dublin streets are full of perplexing figures, archetypes, as if the characters were stalking through some Jungian map of the unconscious: weakened, dying fathers, good mothers, bad mothers, twins, ‘dark doubles,’ ghosts surging up from the past… His narratives are loaded with poetic devices."—The New Yorker"Black has improved with every book, and the latest, A Death in Summer, is his best yet… [Black] knows how to create a first-rate sleuth—the ungainly, middle-aged Dublin pathologist Quirke, a man who can never seem to keep his nose out of trouble."—Malcolm Jones, The Daily Beast"The author of the Booker Prize-winning The Sea, Banville is a literary artist, whereas Black is a craftsman who churns out page-turning crime tales… Banville’s latest Benjamin Black novel is another complex character study disguised as a plot-driven work of genre fiction."—The Kansas City Star"[A Death in Summer] is an elegant novel, well-paced with dramatic twists, disturbing surprises and richly drawn characters whose actions and motives have a tangible psychological depth.Mr. Black/Banville is well in form here... It can be either plunged into without any need to r
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