A Death in Summer: Book summary and reviews of A Death in Summer by Benjamin Black

A Death in Summer

A Novel

By Benjamin Black

A Death in Summer

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Book Summary

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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Reviews

Media Reviews

"Black's mysteries are not black and white with cut-and-dried villains behind bars at the conclusion. However, readers looking for more character development and ambiguity... will enjoy getting to know Quirke and Hackett by picking up this book." - Library Journal

"Matters get moving whenever Quirke starts investigating, but Black keeps him off-scene for long stretches, further stalling cohesion and momentum. The reveal, alas, will probably pop into the reader's mind before it does onto the page." - Kirkus Reviews

"The failure of Black... to make much of Quirke's unlikely attraction to the dead man's wife help make this Black's weakest effort yet." - Publishers Weekly

"The sardonic banter is finely stropped, and moments of detective clairvoyance are neatly juxtaposed with numskull opaqueness as Black... once again exposes insidious corruption and prejudice." - Booklist

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Author Information

Benjamin Black Author Biography

Photo © Jerry Bauer

Benjamin Black is the pen name of acclaimed author John Banville, who was born in Wexford, Ireland, in 1945. His novels have won numerous awards, including the Man Booker Prize in 2005 for The Sea. He lives in Dublin.

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