Saturday, August 6, 2011

A Death in Summer, by Benjamin Black

John Banville should either make an honest effort with the Benjamin Black books or just stop now.  The first Quirke book was wonderful, the next pretty humdrum, the third back in great form, the last a complete bust.  Admittedly having a dreadful readers hammers lots of painful nails into the coffin of a mediocre book, but it's not all the fault of Keating.  The book begins with a headless tycoon and meanders casually through some fairly grim territory -- a ring of powerful child molesters, a horrific orphanage-cum-brothel, a maiming, a couple of fratricides.  The anti-semitism thread weaves steadily throughout but ultimately goes nowhere, and I was disappointed in Quirke for his risky affairs with drink and Francoise.

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