“Burke shows again that he’s not just a comic genius, but also a fine dramatic writer and storyteller.” – Booklist. “Prose both scabrous and poetic.” – Publishers Weekly. “Proust meets Chandler over a pint of Guinness.” – Spectator. “Among the most memorable books of the year, of any genre.” – Sunday Times. “A hardboiled delight.” – Guardian. “Imagine Donald Westlake and Richard Stark collaborating on a screwball noir.” – Kirkus Reviews. “A cross between Raymond Chandler and Flann O’Brien.” – John Banville.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Summertime, And The Killing Is Easy …

Yours truly had a rather nice surprise today, when the post arrived and the latest offering from Benny Blanco, aka Benjamin Black, dropped out of an envelope. A DEATH IN SUMMER boasts a fabulous cover and has all the makings, if the blurb elves are to be believed, of being a rather neat satire on ye olde Big House mystery. To wit:
When newspaper magnate Richard Jewell is found dead at his country estate, clutching a shotgun in his lifeless hands, few see his demise as cause for sorrow. But before long Doctor Quirke and Inspector Hackett realise that, rather than the suspected suicide, ‘Diamond Dick’ has in fact been murdered. Jewell had made many enemies over the years and suspicion soon falls on one of his biggest rivals. But as Quirke and his assistant Sinclair get to know Jewell’s beautiful, enigmatic wife Françoise d’Aubigny, and his fragile sister Dannie, as well as those who work for the family, it gradually becomes clear that all is not as it seems. As Quirke’s investigations return him to the notorious orphanage of St Christopher’s, where he once resided, events begin to take a much darker turn. Quirke finds himself reunited with an old enemy and Sinclair receives sinister threats. But what have the shadowy benefactors of St Christopher’s to do with it all? Against the backdrop of 1950’s Dublin, Benjamin Black conjures another atmospheric, beguiling mystery.
  I’m already taking away three Irish crime novels on holiday as part of my freshly patented ‘100% Only Top Quality Books And Suffer No Fools On Holiday’ campaign, said tomes being FALLING GLASS by Adrian McKinty, THE RAGE by Gene Kerrigan and BLOODLAND by Alan Glynn. But I’m extraordinarily tempted to slip A DEATH IN SUMMER into the bag too, not least because the blurb is very suggestive of an Agatha Christie homage / pastiche. But that’ll make it 27 books in the bag, and who the hell can read 27 books in a fortnight? I mean, seriously, 26 is my absolute limit …