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A Death in Summer review - Benjamin Black

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Benjamin Black | DISAPPEARING ACT Some of the magic has vanished from Black's latest effort

A Death in Summer

Current Status:
In Season
Benjamin Black
Henry Holt and Company
Mystery and Thriller

We gave it a B

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. A Death in the Summer, his latest featuring the pathologist-turned-crime solver Quirke, is somewhat less magical. The prose sparkles as always — both Black and his true identity, the more respectable John Banville, very rarely have a word out of place. But this time out, the lyrical sleight of hand can’t mask the lazily turning plot mechanics in which the murder that’s ostensibly driving the story — the suspicious shotgun suicide of a Dublin newspaper tycoon —comes off as strangely incidental. It’s still a good show, but there appears to be much more misdirection than real direction. B