“Prose both scabrous and poetic.” – Publishers Weekly. “Proust meets Chandler over a pint of Guinness.” – Spectator. “A sheer pleasure.” – Tana French. “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. “The effortless cool of Elmore Leonard at his peak.” – Ray Banks. “A fine writer at the top of his game.” – Lee Child.

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 …

6 comments:

J. Kingston Pierce said...

Good luck with all of those books, and have fun.

Cheers,
Jeff

Sean Patrick Reardon said...

Love the reference to Sublime, and I think you will enjoy "Falling Glass"

Michael Malone said...

The most books I ever read on a 2 week holiday was 11.

Enjoy yours and don't worry - your devoted followers will be waiting for your words of wisdom.

Maxine said...

I finally got around to reading the first Benjamin Black novel a couple of months ago, and did not enjoy it. Clunky plot you could drive a bus through, quite cliched in terms of characters, and not that well written. I therefore did not review it. If you want my favourite read to take on hols, try Mercy by Jussi Adler-Olson. It is cheap and superb, but I have to admit Danish.

Declan Burke said...

Much obliged, Jeff. Really looking forward to it.

Sean - I'm pretty sure I will enjoy Falling Glass, I think McKinty is one of the best writers working today. It's nothing short of a scandal that I haven't already read it, but he's a mate of mine, so I had to step out of the loop when it came to reviewing it. And I've read one book this year so far that wasn't work-related ... That's one book out of a total of 36 to date. So yeah, one of the joys of the holiday will be Falling Glass, I don't doubt it.

Michael - 11 books in 14 days is good going. Given that we'll have a three-year-old with us, if I read four or five this holiday, I'll think I've done well.

Maxine - I wasn't hugely enthused about the first Benjamin Black either, to put it mildly, but the most recent one, Elegy for April, put me in mind of Ken Bruen. A different style, certainly, but Black / Banville seemed to have found his groove, with Quirke wandering around a sepia-toned Dublin investigating himself more than anything else. I liked it, I have to say.

Cheers, Dec

Maxine said...

Hmm, style of Ken Bruen. That's quite a change!