A Death in Summer by Benjamin Black

No critic rating

Waiting for minimum critic reviews

See 15 Critic Reviews



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.


About Benjamin Black

See more books from this Author
Benjamin Black is the pen name of the novelist John Banville. As Black, he is the author of the bestselling and critically acclaimed Quirke novels, including Christine Falls, The Silver Swan, and Elegy for April, and his standalone novel, The Lemur. Christine Falls was nominated for both the Edgar Award and Macavity Award for Best Novel. Writing as John Banville, his novel The Sea is the winner of the 2005 Man Booker Prize. Black was born in Wexford, Ireland, and lives in Dublin.
Published July 5, 2011 by Henry Holt and Co.. 320 pages
Genres: History, Mystery, Thriller & Suspense, Literature & Fiction, Crime. Fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for A Death in Summer

Kirkus Reviews

See more reviews from this publication

So you know if Françoise d’Aubigny, the widow of the murder victim, the widely despised Richard Jewell, hides anything about his murder, it’s certain Quirk (in his fourth case) will spot it.

| Read Full Review of A Death in Summer

The Guardian

See more reviews from this publication

Following a lead to the south of France during the fourth of his investigations to be committed to print, Dublin pathologist Dr Quirke notes that "the Customs Officials and the passport police scowled and elaborately shrugged, as they were supposed to".

Jul 07 2011 | Read Full Review of A Death in Summer

Publishers Weekly

See more reviews from this publication

Black's flat fourth crime novel set in 1950s Ireland (after Elegy for April) takes Dublin pathologist Quirke to Brook-lands, the country estate of newspaper baron Richard "Diamond Dick" Jewell, whose nearly headless body is found one summer afternoon in his office above the stables.

May 23 2011 | Read Full Review of A Death in Summer

The Washington Times

See more reviews from this publication

Characteristically, Mr. Black softens his description of the setting of the bloody death with an evocative rural passage in which he notes, “It added to the shock of the event that it had taken place on a drowsy Sunday afternoon in summer while the beeches along the drive sweltered in the sun and...

Sep 09 2011 | Read Full Review of A Death in Summer

Book Reporter

"Black throws around red herrings, leads readers down back alleys and to beautiful, lush estates, but at times readers know more about what is going on than either Quirke or Hackett."

Aug 12 2011 | Read Full Review of A Death in Summer

New York Journal of Books

See more reviews from this publication

“This is an elegant novel, well-paced with dramatic twists, disturbing surprises and richly drawn characters whose actions and motives have a tangible psychological depth.”Richard “Diamond Dick” Jewell is found in his country home with his head blown off and a shotgun in his hands, but Dublin pat...

Jul 05 2011 | Read Full Review of A Death in Summer

Entertainment Weekly

Black's previous novel, Elegy for April, was an impressive disappearing act of a mystery, akin to pulling a rabbit out of a hat and then revealing that there actually was no hat after all.

Jul 13 2011 | Read Full Review of A Death in Summer

Los Angeles Times

See more reviews from this publication

Known for his layered, intelligent writing, the Man Booker Prize-winning author sets aside literary ambitions and dons a black fedora when he becomes Benjamin Black, detective novelist.

Jul 09 2011 | Read Full Review of A Death in Summer

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Penguins shower their loyal fans with high praise, steep discounts for home opener Pittsburgh's frigid temps are nothing compared to 1977 Point Park now giving Pittsburgh Playhouse relocation star billing 50 years later, women still are paid l...

Sep 04 2011 | Read Full Review of A Death in Summer

Review (Barnes & Noble)

There is more sunshine here than in Quirke's previous outings—Dublin bakes in summer heat—but the mood is familiarly somber and it darkens further when Quirke discovers that Jewell was a generous patron of the Catholic orphanage in which he, Quirke, spent part of his childhood.

Jul 27 2011 | Read Full Review of A Death in Summer

Historical Novel Society

This latest offering in the Quirke series opens with the shotgun killing of newspaper proprietor Richard Jewell, aka Diamond Dick.

| Read Full Review of A Death in Summer


The first three Black novels about Dublin pathologist Garret Quirke are enveloped by various shades of grey, but Death in Summer, the fourth, swaps dingy pubs and oppressive nighttime fog for “tawny” afternoons and summer “going blithely about its blue-and-gold business.” In interviews, Banville...

Sep 08 2011 | Read Full Review of A Death in Summer


Small wonder then that the endowment of a pulmonary clinic in the hospital where Quirke heads the pathology department is one of the late Jewell's philanthropic gestures.

May 28 2011 | Read Full Review of A Death in Summer

MostlyFiction Book Reviews

Jewell’s cool, elegant French wife, Francoise d’Aubigny, a woman Quirke met once before at a social event, was off riding one of her horses when the murder took place, and Jewell’s half-sister, Dannie is disinterestedly lounging on the sofa drinking gin and tonic when the police arrive:.

Aug 25 2011 | Read Full Review of A Death in Summer

Chamber Four

Benjamin Black mysteries follow, primarily, a pathologist named Dr. Quirke, who solves crimes in 1950s Dublin with the help of an assistant named Sinclair and a police inspector named Hackett.

Aug 17 2011 | Read Full Review of A Death in Summer

Reader Rating for A Death in Summer

An aggregated and normalized score based on 124 user ratings from iDreamBooks & iTunes

Rate this book!

Add Review