An eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth? That had to be it. Vengeance. But who was the avenger, and what was the cause? – from Vengeance, page 171 –
Victor Delahaye is a successful Irish businessman, married to a woman half his age, and apparently living the perfect life. So it is inexplicable when he takes his boat out for a sail with his business partner’s 25 year old son aboard, and then kills himself with a single shot to the chest. When another person close to Delahaye also dies – again on the water – it seems more than just a coincidence. Detective Inspector Hackett asks his pathologist friend, Quirke, to help him on the case and the two begin to uncover the dark and lurid secrets of the Delahaye family. Mona Delahaye is young and beautiful, but she has a cold and calculating edge to her. Victor’s twin sons, James and Jonas, are spoiled and wealthy…could they also be murderous? Jack Clancy, Victor’s business partner, is a womanizer who has aspirations to rise higher in the world of business.
The convoluted and complex relationships between all these characters is what fuels this fifth installation in the Quirke mystery series written by John Banfield (writing under the pseudonym Benjamin Black). Other familiar characters make an appearance in the book, including Quirke’s daughter Pheobe and her friend Jimmy. But it is Quirke with his weakness for alcohol and damaged psyche who takes center stage.
Banfield/Black focuses on the suspense in Vengeance, leading the reader down a twisty path to solve the mystery. There is little to add to Quirke’s already well-developed character that readers have come to love and hate in previous books in the series. He is still tortured, unhappy, and yearning for a better relationship with his daughter. I have one more book to read in the series (the newly released Holy Orders) and I am hoping that Quirke can grow a little in this next book. But, from a mystery-thriller aspect, Vengeance works just fine.
I recommend reading the series in order as Banfield/Black assumes some previous knowledge about the characters in book five. Readers who enjoy literary fiction as well as mysteries, will find much to enjoy in Vengeance.
Read my reviews of the previous books in the Quirke series: