cover image Vengeance


Benjamin Black. Holt, $26 (320p) ISBN 978-0-8050-9439-8

Bestseller Black’s understated but highly effective fifth crime novel featuring 1950s Dublin pathologist Quirke (after 2011’s A Death in Summer) offers a provocative whydunit. One sunny June day, Victor Delahaye takes Davy Clancy, the 24-year-old son of his garage business partner, out for a sail in his yacht off the Irish coast. Delahaye tells Davy a story of his childhood involving a lesson in self-reliance, then pulls out a pistol and shoots himself in the chest. In a panic, Davy picks up the gun and tosses it overboard as Delahaye expires. Later, once Davy’s safely ashore, the authorities readily accept his account of the suicide. Less clear is the motive, given Delahaye’s financial success, a question that becomes more urgent when someone else connected with the garage partnership turns up dead. Superior prose (“Spoiled children had that look, of knowing deep down that all the petting and the pampering might at any moment just stop, without the slightest warning”) and a subtle mystery ensure another winner for Black (the pseudonym of Booker-winner John Banville). Agent: Ed Victor. (Aug.)