A Death in Summer

death in summer book cover

Under the name of Benjamin Black, Booker-prize winner John Banville has begun a series of crime novels set in 1950s Dublin. Featuring a police pathologist called Quirke  — pot-bellied, amorous and a wine-lover — they’re the best thing in crime fiction. In this latest one, the murder of a newspaper magnate takes Quirke into the murky world of Irish child abuse. He also finds himself falling in love with the tycoon’s lovely French widow. It’s all beautifully crafted. Every sentence counts, every epithet is well chosen. Sure, the identity of the murderer is easy to guess, but this doesn’t really matter, because the real pleasure of the book lies in its superb characterization and the wonderful evocation of that misty, mid-century Dublin.

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