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About Benjamin Black
Benjamin Black is the crime-writing pen name of acclaimed author John Banville, who was born in Wexford, Ireland, in 1945. He is the author of fifteen novels, including The Sea, which won the 2005 Man Booker Prize. In 2013 he was awarded the Irish PEN Award for Outstanding Achievement in Irish Literature.
Black has written seven novels starring Quirke, the surly but brilliant pathologist. In 2014 the Quirke novels were adapted into a major BBC TV series starring Gabriel Byrne.
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The inimitable Quirke returns in another spellbinding crime novel, in which a young woman's dubious suicide sets off a new string of hazards and deceptions
Two years have passed since the events of the bestselling Christine Falls, and much has changed for Quirke, the irascible, formerly hard-drinking Dublin pathologist. His beloved Sarah is dead, his surrogate father lies in a convent hospital paralyzed by a devastating stroke, and Phoebe, Quirke's long-denied daughter, has grown increasingly withdrawn and isolated.
With much to regret from his last inquisitive foray, Quirke ought to know better than to let his curiosity get the best of him. Yet when an almost forgotten acquaintance comes to him about his beautiful young wife's apparent suicide, Quirke's "old itch to cut into the quick of things, to delve into the dark of what was hidden" is roused again. As he begins to probe further into the shadowy circumstances of Deirdre Hunt's death, he discovers many things that might better have remained hidden, as well as grave danger to those
Haunting, masterfully written, and utterly mesmerizing in its nuance, The Silver Swan fully lives up to the promise of Christine Falls and firmly establishes Benjamin Black (a.k.a. John Banville) among the greatest of crime writers.
In the debut crime novel from the Booker-winning author, a Dublin pathologist follows the corpse of a mysterious woman into the heart of
a conspiracy among the city's high Catholic society
It's not the dead that seem strange to Quirke. It's the living. One night, after a few drinks at an office party, Quirke shuffles down into the morgue where he works and finds his brother-in-law, Malachy, altering a file he has no business even reading. Odd enough in itself to find Malachy there, but the next morning, when the haze has lifted, it looks an awful lot like his brother-in-law, the esteemed doctor, was in fact tampering with a corpse—and concealing the cause of death.
It turns out the body belonged to a young woman named Christine Falls. And as Quirke reluctantly presses on toward the true facts behind her death, he comes up against some insidious—and very well-guarded—secrets of Dublin's high Catholic society, among them members of his own family.
Set in Dublin and Boston in the 1950s, the first novel in the Quirke series brings all the vividness and psychological insight of Booker Prize winner John Banville's fiction to a thrilling, atmospheric crime story. Quirke is a fascinating and subtly drawn hero, Christine Falls is a classic tale of suspense, and Benjamin Black's debut marks him as a true master of the form.
Quirke—the hard-drinking, insatiably curious Dublin pathologist—is back, and he's determined to find his daughter's best friend, a well-connected young doctor
April Latimer has vanished. A junior doctor at a local hospital, she is something of a scandal in the conservative and highly patriarchal society of 1950s Dublin. Though her family is one of the most respected in the city, she is known for being independent-minded; her taste in men, for instance, is decidedly unconventional.
Now April has disappeared, and her friend Phoebe Griffin suspects the worst. Frantic, Phoebe seeks out Quirke, her brilliant but erratic father, and asks him for help. Sober again after intensive treatment for alcoholism, Quirke enlists his old sparring partner, Detective Inspector Hackett, in the search for the missing young woman. In their separate ways the two men follow April's trail through some of the darker byways of the city to uncover crucial information on her whereabouts. And as Quirke becomes deeply involved in April's murky story, he encounters complicated and ugly truths about family savagery, Catholic ruthlessness, and race hatred.
Both an absorbing crime novel and a brilliant portrait of the difficult and relentless love between a father and his daughter, this is Benjamin Black at his sparkling best.
A suspicious death, a pregnant woman suddenly gone missing: Quirke's latest case leads him inexorably toward the dark machinations of an old foe
Perhaps Quirke has been down among the dead too long. Lately the Irish pathologist has suffered hallucinations and blackouts, and he fears the cause is a brain tumor. A specialist diagnoses an old head injury caused by a savage beating; all that's needed, the doctor declares, is an extended rest. But Quirke, ever intent on finding his place among the living, is not about to retire.
One night during a June heat wave, a car crashes into a tree in central Dublin and bursts into flames. The police assume the driver's death was either an accident or a suicide, but Quirke's examination of the body leads him to believe otherwise. Then his daughter Phoebe gets a mysterious visit from an acquaintance: the woman, who admits to being pregnant, says she fears for her life, though she won't say why. When the woman later disappears, Phoebe asks her father for help, and Quirke in turn seeks the assistance of his old friend Inspector Hackett. Before long the two men find themselves untangling a twisted string of events that takes them deep into a shadowy world where one of the city's most powerful men uses the cover of politics and religion to make obscene profits.
Even the Dead--Benjamin Black's seventh novel featuring the endlessly fascinating Quirke--is a story of surpassing intensity and surprising beauty.
One of The Chicago Tribune's Best Reads of 2011
One of Dublin's most powerful men meets a violent end— and an acknowledged master of crime fiction delivers his most gripping novel yet
On a sweltering summer afternoon, newspaper tycoon Richard Jewell—known to his many enemies as Diamond Dick—is discovered with his head blown off by a shotgun blast. But is it suicide or murder? For help with the investigation, Detective Inspector Hackett calls in his old friend Quirke, who has unusual access to Dublin's elite.
Jewell's coolly elegant French wife, Françoise, seems less than shocked by her husband's death. But Dannie, Jewell's high-strung sister, is devastated, and Quirke is surprised to learn that in her grief she has turned to an unexpected friend: David Sinclair, Quirke's ambitious assistant in the pathology lab at the Hospital of the Holy Family. Further, Sinclair has been seeing Quirke's fractious daughter Phoebe, and an unlikely romance is blossoming between the two. As a record heat wave envelops the city and the secret deals underpinning Diamond Dick's empire begin to be revealed, Quirke and Hackett find themselves caught up in a dark web of intrigue and violence that threatens to end in disaster.
Tightly plotted and gorgeously written, A Death in Summer proves to the brilliant but sometimes reckless Quirke that in a city where old money and the right bloodlines rule, he is by no means safe from mortal danger.
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.
Why did Victor Delahaye kill himself, and who is intent upon wreaking vengeance on so many of those who knew him?
When the body of his daughter's friend is brought to his autopsy table, Quirke is plunged into a world of corruption that takes him to the darkest corners of the Irish Church and State.
"At first they thought it was the body of a child. Later, when they got it out of the water and saw the pubic hair and the nicotine stains on the fingers, they realized their mistake."
So begins Holy Orders, the latest Quirke case set in Dublin at a moment when newspapers are censored, social conventions are strictly defined, and appalling crimes are hushed up. Why? Because in 1950s Ireland the Catholic Church controls the lives of nearly everyone. But when Quirke's daughter Phoebe loses her close friend Jimmy Minor to murder, Quirke can no longer play by the Church's rules. Along with Inspector Hackett, his sometime partner, Quirke investigates Jimmy's death and learns just how far the Church and its supporters will go to protect their own interests.
Haunting, fierce, and brilliantly plotted, this is Benjamin Black writing at the top of his form. His inimitable creation, the endlessly curious Quirke, brings a pathologist's unique understanding of death to unlock the most dangerous of secrets.
"When you're done binge-watching The Crown, pick up this multifaceted wartime thriller."
As London endures nightly German bombings, Britain’s secret service whisks the princesses Elizabeth and Margaret from England, seeking safety for the young royals on an old estate in Ireland.
Ahead of the German Blitz during World War II, English parents from every social class sent their children to the countryside for safety, displacing more than three million young offspring. In The Secret Guests, the British royal family takes this evacuation a step further, secretly moving the princesses to the estate of the Duke of Edenmore in “neutral” Ireland.
A female English secret agent, Miss Celia Nashe, and a young Irish detective, Garda Strafford, are assigned to watch over “Ellen” and “Mary” at Clonmillis Hall. But the Irish stable hand, the housemaid, the formidable housekeeper, the Duke himself, and other Irish townspeople, some of whom lost family to English gunshots during the War of Independence, go freely about their business in and around the great house. Soon suspicions about the guests’ true identities percolate, a dangerous boredom sets in for the princesses, and, within and without Clonmillis acreage, passions as well as stakes rise.
Benjamin Black, who has good information that the princesses were indeed in Ireland for a time during the Blitz, draws readers into a novel as fascinating as the nascent career of Miss Nashe, as tender as the homesickness of the sisters, as intriguing as Irish-English relations during WWII, and as suspenseful and ultimately action-packed as war itself.
Raymond Chandler's incomparable private eye is back, pulled by a seductive young heiress into the most difficult and dangerous case of his career
"It was one of those summer Tuesday afternoons when you begin to wonder if the earth has stopped revolving. The telephone on my desk had the look of something that knows it's being watched. Traffic trickled by in the street below, and there were a few pedestrians, too, men in hats going nowhere."
So begins The Black-Eyed Blonde, a new novel featuring Philip Marlowe—yes, that Philip Marlowe. Channeling Raymond Chandler, Benjamin Black has brought Marlowe back to life for a new adventure on the mean streets of Bay City, California. It is the early 1950s, Marlowe is as restless and lonely as ever, and business is a little slow. Then a new client is shown in: young, beautiful, and expensively dressed, she wants Marlowe to find her former lover, a man named Nico Peterson. Marlowe sets off on his search, but almost immediately discovers that Peterson's disappearance is merely the first in a series of bewildering events. Soon he is tangling with one of Bay City's richest families and developing a singular appreciation for how far they will go to protect their fortune.
Only Benjamin Black, a modern master of the genre, could write a new Philip Marlowe detective novel that has all the panache and charm of the originals while delivering a story that is as sharp and fresh as today's best crime fiction.
Bestselling author Benjamin Black turns his eye to sixteenth century Prague and a story of murder, magic and the dark art of wielding extraordinary power
Christian Stern, an ambitious young scholar and alchemist, arrives in Prague in the bitter winter of 1599, intent on making his fortune at the court of the Holy Roman Emperor, the eccentric Rudolf II. The night of his arrival, drunk and lost, Christian stumbles upon the body of a young woman in Golden Lane, an alley hard by Rudolf’s great castle. Dressed in a velvet gown, wearing a large gold medallion around her neck, the woman is clearly well-born—or was, for her throat has been slashed.
A lesser man would smell danger, but Christian is determined to follow his fortunes wherever they may lead. He quickly finds himself entangled in the machinations of several ruthless courtiers, and before long he comes to the attention of the Emperor himself. Rudolf, deciding that Christian is that rare thing—a person he can trust—sets him the task of solving the mystery of the woman’s murder. But Christian soon realizes that he has blundered into the midst of a power struggle that threatens to subvert the throne itself. And as he gets ever nearer to the truth of what happened that night in Golden Lane, he finally sees that his own life is in grave danger.
From the spectacularly inventive Benjamin Black, Wolf on a String is a historical crime novel that delivers both a mesmerizing portrait of a lost world and a riveting tale of intrigue and suspense.
A new thriller from the Booker Prize–winning and Edgar-nominated author of Christine Falls and The Silver Swan
John Glass's life in New York should be plenty comfortable. He's given up his career as a journalist to write an authorized biography of his father-in-law, communications magnate and former CIA agent Big Bill Mulholland. He works in a big office in Mulholland Tower, rent-free, and goes home (most nights) to his wealthy and well-preserved wife, Wild Bill's daughter. He misses his old life sometimes, but all in all things have turned out well.
But when his shifty young researcher--a man he calls "The Lemur"--turns up some unflattering information about the family, Glass's whole easy existence is threatened. Then the young man is murdered, and it's up to Glass to find out what The Lemur knew, and who killed him, before any secrets come out--and before any other bodies appear.Shifting from 1950s Dublin to contemporary New York, the masterful crime writer Benjamin Black returns in this standalone thriller--a story of family secrets so deep, and so dangerous, that anyone might kill to keep them hidden.
El maestro irlandés, ganador del Premio Príncipe de Asturias, vuelve a sorprender con una magistral entrega de Quirke.
«Una historia obsesiva y oscura en el mejor estilo del irlandés. [...] John Banville suele hablar de lo feliz que está cuando se pone en la piel de Black para contar sus historias policiales. Ya estoy esperando a que se libere de nuevo y nos traiga la novena entrega.»
Juan Carlos Galindo, El País
«Black es un maestro de la novela negra de altura, del noir literario en la tradición de Simenon y Chandler.»
«Tal vez fuese mejor dejar a los muertos en paz, incluso si no estaban muertos.»
Arrastrado por su vitalista esposa Evelyn a unas vacaciones en San Sebastián, el patólogo Quirke pronto deja de echar de menos el lúgubre y sombrío Dublín para empezar a disfrutar de los paseos, el buen clima, el mar y el txakoli. Sin embargo, toda esta calma y hedonismo se ven perturbados cuando un accidente algo ridículo lo lleva a un hospital de la ciudad. En él se cruza con una irlandesa que le resulta extrañamente familiar, hasta que finalmente cree reconocer en ella a una infortunada joven, amiga de su hija Phoebe. Si la memoria, o el abuso del alcohol, no le juegan una mala pasada, se trataría de April Latimer, presuntamente asesinada —aunque su cadáver jamás fue hallado— por su perturbado hermano en el transcurso de una sórdida investigación en la que el propio Quirke se vio implicado años atrás. Convencido de que no ha visto a un fantasma, insiste a Phoebe para que visite el País Vasco para salir de dudas. Lo que Quirke ignora es que la acompañará el inspector Strafford, por quien siente una aguda antipatía, y que, además, un asesino a sueldo muy peculiar emprenderá idéntico trayecto.
La crítica ha dicho...
«Black quizá se supere a sí mismo en crueldad en esta novela extraordinaria. [...] Cada página es un dechado de maestría, que lo minucioso de la narración y el cuidado por los detalles en ningún momento merman o frenan el interés del lector; por el contrario, lo acrecientan. [...] Una gran lectura, una rara obra maestra.»
José Luis G. Goméz, La Opinión de Málaga
«Aquí sucede mucho más que en cualquier típico thriller [porque] lo que propone Quirke es la resolución del pequeño misterio de alguna muerte para dejar sin resolver (porque resulta imposible) el gran misterio de toda vida. [...] Quien se siente a leer Quirke en San Sebastián es más probable que no se levante hasta terminar y, entonces sí, de pie, aplaudirla deseando ya su encore. Quirke -como la España que visita- es diferente.»
Rodrigo Fresán, ABCultural
«John Banville es un escritor enorme y hay mucho de Banville en Black [...].