Anyhoo, onto the story itself. VENGEANCE is the fifth in Black’s Quirke series, with the blurb elves wittering thusly:
A bizarre suicide leads to a scandal and then still more blood, as one of our most brilliant crime novelists reveals a world where money and sex trump everything. It’s a fine day for a sail, and Victor Delahaye, one of Ireland’s most successful businessmen, takes his boat far out to sea. With him is his partner’s son—who becomes the sole witness when Delahaye produces a pistol, points it at his own chest, and fires. This mysterious death immediately engages the attention of Detective Inspector Hackett, who in turn calls upon the services of his sometime partner Quirke, consultant pathologist at the Hospital of the Holy Family. The stakes are high: Delahaye’s prominence in business circles means that Hackett and Quirke must proceed very carefully. Among others, they interview Mona Delahaye, the dead man’s young and very beautiful wife; James and Jonas Delahaye, his identical twin sons; and Jack Clancy, his ambitious, womanizing partner. But then a second death occurs, this one even more shocking than the first, and quickly it becomes apparent that a terrible secret threatens to destroy the lives and reputations of several members of Dublin’s elite.in an interview with The Star’s Mark Egan, that Benjamin Black has influenced the way John Banville writes. To wit:
“Black was able to help Banville,” he says, explaining that the Banville novel he just completed, ANCIENT LIGHT, was improved by his crime fiction.
“Black has got used to doing plots and keeping all that balanced, and Banville has learned some of that from him,” he says.
In ANCIENT LIGHT, Banville revisits his novels ECLIPSE and SHROUD. Narrator Alexander Cleave thinks about the suicide of his daughter Cass and a sexual affair he had as a teenager with a friend’s mother in a small Irish town.
ANCIENT LIGHT is a stunning novel about youth and age, first love and the illusions of memory by one of the finest writers in the English language. An elderly actor remembers his first affair as a young teenage boy in a small town in 1950s Ireland -- the illicit meetings in a rundown cottage outside town; assignations in the back of his lover’s car on a rain-soaked afternoon. And with these memories comes something sharper and much darker -- the more recent recollection of the actor’s own daughter’s suicide only ten years earlier. In John Banville’s dazzling new book is the story of a life rendered brilliantly vivid -- the deluded nature of young love and the terrifying shock of grief. ANCIENT LIGHT is one of John Banville’s finest novels, both utterly pleasurable and devastatingly moving in the same moment.So there you have it. A Black novel AND a Banville novel in the same year? But Mr Publisher-type Ambassador, with these gifts you are surely spoiling us …