A Death in Summer: A Novel

Kobo ebook | July 5, 2011

byBenjamin Black

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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.

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From the Publisher

One of The Chicago Tribune's Best Reads of 2011One of Dublin's most powerful men meets a violent end— and an acknowledged master of crime fiction delivers his most gripping novel yetOn 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 shot...

Format:Kobo ebookPublished:July 5, 2011Publisher:Henry Holt and Co.Language:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:1429972912

ISBN - 13:9781429972918

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Reviews

Rated 5 out of 5 by from Christina falls I loved it I saw the t.v. series on PBS and looked up the author. So far I have read 3 and you feel like you do not want them to end. Him and Ken Breun ( also Irish) are my today favorites. Forget TV read these books!
Date published: 2015-07-29
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