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A Death in Summer: A Novel Audiobook, by Benjamin Black Extended Sample Click for printable size audiobook cover
Author: Benjamin Black Narrator: John Keating Publisher: Macmillan Audio Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Series: The Quirke Series Release Date: July 2011 ISBN: 9781427212382
3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (603 ratings) (rate this audio book)
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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.

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Quotes & Awards

  • “Narrator John Keating keeps a firm hold on a variety of characters and accents – from the not-so-grieving widow's French purr to the too-involved Detective Quirke's hard-edged brogue. Supporting characters are distinctly developed, and Keating's masterful style keeps the action moving forward. AudioFile Magazine

  • [Keating's] reading of A DEATH IN SUMMER is a winner. Keating is a natural to bring Dublin based Quirke to life. Beauty by the Books
  • Keating has a gift for thinking through the monologues of some of the minor characters… Reviewing the Evidence
  • Reader Keating, a television actor (Boardwalk Empire, Nurse Jackie) and member of the theatrical Irish Rep Company, compliments the protagonist's every mood. He narrates the objectively told novel with an Emerald Isle lilt that keeps us mindful of the locale but is subtle enough that is does not interfere with the serious, sometimes somber atmosphere created by the prose. Mystery Scene
  • [Benjamin Black's] books about the dour Irish pathologist named Quirke have effortless flair, with their period-piece cinematic ambience and their sultry romance. The Black books are much more like Alan Furst's elegant, doom-infused World War II spy books than like standard crime tales. Janet Maslin, The New York Times
  • Black's drab Dublin streets are full of perplexing figures, archetypes, as if the characters were stalking through some Jungian map of the unconscious: weakened, dying fathers, good mothers, bad mothers, twins, ‘dark doubles,' ghosts surging up from the past… His narratives are loaded with poetic devices. The New Yorker
  • Black has improved with every book, and the latest, A Death in Summer, is his best yet… [Black] knows how to create a first-rate sleuth--the ungainly, middle-aged Dublin pathologist Quirke, a man who can never seem to keep his nose out of trouble. Malcolm Jones, The Daily Beast
  • The author of the Booker Prize-winning The Sea, Banville is a literary artist, whereas Black is a craftsman who churns out page-turning crime tales… Banville's latest Benjamin Black novel is another complex character study disguised as a plot-driven work of genre fiction. The Kansas City Star
  • [A Death in Summer] is an elegant novel, well-paced with dramatic twists, disturbing surprises and richly drawn characters whose actions and motives have a tangible psychological depth. Mr. Black/Banville is well in form here... It can be either plunged into without any need to reference the previous three or else taken as a welcome new installment of a sequential quartet by one of Ireland's leading contemporary novelists. New York Journal of Books

Listener Reviews

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  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Diana | 2/2/2014

    " You can't help liking Quirke and feeling very sorry for his daughter. The prose is tight, clear and full of images. It did feel hot, smelly and full of cigarette smoke. Shame his world is so full of nastiness. I like the way it is barely written about, but the nastiness is everywhere, underlying everything, whilst the meals and the cups of tea dance on the surface. It is almost not a crime novel, more a slice of life, well told and malignant. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Martha | 2/2/2014

    " Read _Christine Falls_ last summer. Think this will be the last of Quirke for me. Perhaps this isn't my genre. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Ruedi | 1/16/2014

    " Gives an excellent feel of 50ies Dublin - in its language as well as evocative description; gripping plot and engagingly human sleuths; denouement strikes close to home, i.e. burning 2011 issues in Ireland. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Kasa | 12/27/2013

    " This fourth Quirke outing by Benjamin Black is more cleanly realized than numbers 2 and 3, but not as much as number 1, Elegy for April. Set in Dublin during an unusually hot summer in the late 50's, the mystery doesn't present so much of a challenge, but the back story is compelling enough to keep a reader interested. As this is by definition an historical novel, meaning it takes place more than 50 years before its publication, there is some effort to recreate a time gone by. However, the emphasis on smoking is almost laughable. Literature of that time incorporated psople smoking, but I doubt they were lighting up on every page. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Bayneeta | 12/22/2013

    " Quirke, a pathologist in 1950s Dublin, is back drinking and smoking and making dubious decisions about sexual partners. Lots of people with lots of psychological baggage. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Mary | 12/18/2013

    " This is the first book I have read by Benjamin Black. I was disappointed. I did not care about any of the characters and the writing sparse, the plot and ending predictable. Ultimately very unsatisfying. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Joan | 12/14/2013

    " Quirke really grows on you, as do the supporting characters in this series. Black/Banville draws the reader into 1950's Dublin and keeps you there with ease. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Frank | 12/11/2013

    " Listened to part of it on my mp3. Quirke was irritating, narration slow and distracting. Lucky it was downloaded from library so I didn't feel bad deleting. Author is well reviewed by the Times (Stasio) but by me. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Mark | 12/11/2013

    " Below par for him.Gratuitous anti-semitism-why is it necessary to stipulate that some characters were Jewish when religion played no role? "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Cathy | 12/4/2013

    " I like reading Benjamin Black. His characters are interesting and he doesn't rely on graphic details for the story. I also read Christina Falls and enjoyed it . "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 John | 9/17/2013

    " My lowest rating of Benjamin Black- a skilled observer of life in Ireland. Trying to think if I liked anyone- Quirk's daughter Phoebe, but she was a bit of a bumbler. Missing a hook to keep the pages turning. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Siobhan | 2/19/2013

    " John Banville's moody, 1950s Dublin thrillers (written under the pen name Benjamin Black) are pure pleasure. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Hanley5545 | 2/16/2013

    " Most recent of the Quirke series and probably the best..."noire" at its mid-1950 best....echos of WWII French resistance desperation combined with the impoverished legacy of abuse cum "depraved Irish clergied Catholicism...."....well told and suitably murky in each and all the denouements "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Rosalie | 2/8/2013

    " Black may convert me to mysteries as a genre! "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Jody | 7/5/2012

    " Loved the narrator but the story, not so much. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Jari | 5/29/2012

    " Irish studies - but I have read better detective stories, I have to admit. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Judith | 11/20/2011

    " John Banville is the greatest writer. These mysteries of his are as beautifully written as his other fiction. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Jane | 11/17/2011

    " Another good read from Banville as Black. Not up to the mark as Christine Falls but well worth reading. Main issue for me was that I could not picture the two principle characteristics in a relationship of any kind except professional "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Shelley | 11/10/2011

    " Very disappointed. This is the only mystery I've read by Black. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Robert | 10/19/2011

    " Another dark mystery with Quirke stumbling through one door after another until he ends up at the bottom of another dark well. I didn't find the language as vivid or compelling as in Christine Falls, but it's still damn good. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Nishant | 5/19/2011

    " Since this is John Banville, they're well-written, but they seem flat to me... almost as if they're what Banville scribbles when he's not in the mood for some serious writing. Still, some of the characters are memorable, even if he leaves most of them rather undeveloped... "

About the Author

Timothy Dalton is perhaps best known for his critically-acclaimed incarnation of James Bond in The Living Daylights and License to Kill. A classically trained Shakespearean actor, he has appeared in films including The Tourist and in television miniseries including Scarlett (in which he played Rhett Butler), Emily Brontë’s Wuthering Heights, Charlotte Brontë’s Jane Eyre, and in countless Shakespearean films and plays. He is also the voice of Mr. Pricklepants, a character in the animated film Toy Story 3. He is a longtime reader of thrillers written by Booker Prize winner John Banville, writing as Benjamin Black, including Christine Falls, which garnered an AudioFile Earphones Award. AudioFile magazine described Timothy’s reading of The Silver Swan, also written by Benjamin Black and published by Macmillan Audio, as “so good it will make listeners giddy with delight…As the heavy-drinking Irish pathologist Quirke, Dalton offers a pitch-perfect Irish brogue. It’s all thrilling, honest, and raw.”

About the Narrator

John Keating is an actor, voice talent, and AudioFile Earphones Award–winning narrator. His numerous acting credits include Roundabout Theatre’s production of Juno and the Paycock and La Mama ETC’s production of Cat and the Moon, as well as various parts with the Irish Repertory Theater and the Irish Arts Center. He can also be seen in the HBO miniseries John Adams, starring Paul Giamatti and Laura Linney.