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.
Black's flat fourth crime novel set in 1950s Ireland (after Elegy for April) takes Dublin pathologist Quirke to Brook-lands, the country estate of newspaper baron Richard "Diamond Dick" Jewell, whose nearly headless body is found one summer afternoon in his office above the stables. Jewell appears to have blown his head off with the shotgun still in his hand, but Quirke suspects foul play. Jewell's beautiful widow, Fran oise d'Aubigny, who flatters Quirke by remembering their previous brief meeting a year before, suggests that a feud was brewing between Jewell and another rich Dubliner, Carlton Sumner. Quirke unearths a connection between Jewell and St. Christopher's, an orphanage where he himself briefly lived. When threatening phone calls escalate into violence, Quirke must watch his back. The failure of Black (the pen name of Booker-winner John Banville) to make much of the demise of such a powerful figure and Quirke's unlikely attraction to the dead man's wife help make this Black's weakest effort yet.
Customer ReviewsSee All
Another great Quirke tale
I've read and thoroughly enjoyed Benjamin Black’s three other Quirke mysteries, and his fourth did not disappoint. The author has a very evocative, yet understated style. I was once again transported back in time and a world away to unravel another mystery. I'm very drawn to the deeply flawed Quirke character, and I'm hoping there will be yet another book in this series.
A high class mystery writer
Although this book had too many of the plot elements of Black's (Banville's) earlier Quirke mysteries, it's beautifully written and plenty compelling. Perfect for reading, as I am doing, just before a trip to Ireland.
This book is terrible its so drawn out and boring. Complete waste of money