Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Vengeance (Quirke #5)” as Want to Read:
Vengeance (Quirke #5)
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Vengeance (Quirke #5)

3.61  ·  Rating details ·  1,317 Ratings  ·  204 Reviews
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 pist
Hardcover, 304 pages
Published August 7th 2012 by Henry Holt and Co. (first published 2012)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Vengeance, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Vengeance

This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Add this book to your favorite list »

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
Rating details
Sort: Default
James Thane
Aug 28, 2013 rated it really liked it
This is the fifth of Benjamin Black's novels set in the Ireland of the 1950s, and featuring Quirke, a consulting pathologist who often works on homicide cases with Detective Inspector Hackett. Like the other entries in the series, it's very literary in tone and moves at a slow and steady pace. That is certainly not a criticism. Black, who is actually the Man Booker Prize winner John Banville, writes beautifully and creates characters with great depth; it's a real pleasure to simply lose yourself ...more
Sep 03, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: library-audio
This is #5 in the Quirke series by Benjamin Black aka John Banville but it can be read as a standalone.

Quirke is a pathologist in 1950s Dublin when nice middle-class women didn't work and almost everybody smoked. The book opens with a carefully staged suicide by a businessman in front of his partners son and Quirke soon starts trying to unravel the dynamics of the family and colleagues of the deceased. Alongside his professional work we have the sorry tale of his own family dynamics, which are
Sep 12, 2016 rated it really liked it
Most of this Quirke tale is a character study of the families involved in this hapless suicide case, however there are a few well placed humorous passages that are real gems.
Whilst on the way through the cemetery to attend the funeral of said supposed suicide, Inspector. Hackett lowers his voice and says to Quirke, " Grand day for a planting." Quirke does his crooked smile, and as they drift towards the gravesite, Quirke retorts with, " there's a sign somewhere in Glasnevin Cemetery " he says qu
Nancy Oakes
Jul 26, 2012 rated it it was amazing
first: I received this book as an ARC; I loved it so much I bought a regular copy. So my ARC is available and needs a good home. If you live in the US and you want it, just be the first to leave a comment saying you'd like it and I'll send it to you. The postage is on me.

My thanks to Librarything's early reviewers program and to Henry Holt for sending this copy. Book number five in Black's excellent Quirke novels, Vengeance continues the winning streak of beautiful writing and excellent charact
Mal Warwick
Nov 24, 2014 rated it really liked it
Vengeance is the fifth of the six novels featuring the Dublin pathologist Quirke (no first name) from the pen of Benjamin Black, aka Man Booker Prize-winner John Banville. Banville reportedly writes the series for money, seeing them as of a lower order than the dozens of “serious” novels and plays he has created. Clearly, the critics agree with him, having awarded Banville a mind-bogglingly long series of awards and prizes. However, this quick and dirty distinction between genre fiction and the ...more
Aug 13, 2012 rated it liked it
VENGEANCE. (2012). Benjamin Black. ***.
Benjamin Black is the alter ego of the Man Booker Prize-winning author John Banville. This is his fifth novel as Black that features the cases involving Detective Inspector Hackett and his pathologist colleague Dr. Quirke. In this one, we meet the members of both the Delahaye and Clancy families. The two senior men started a business years ago in export/import, which is now run by their sons. The heads of the two families couldn’t be any different, one is
Vivian Valvano
Aug 16, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Benjamin Black, aka John Banville, gets back to 5-stars from me in this 5th Quirke novel. He's drinking too much, and he has his familiar weaknesses with women, but he's spot-on in his powers of ratiocination. The narrative is excellent here - intriguing deaths to be investigated and an array of interesting characters. We get to know Quirke's daughter Phoebe a bit more, and I really feel for her. Period atmosphere and details are fantastic. Distinctions between Dublin and Dun Laoghaire, between ...more
Aug 06, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: irish-authors
I got a review copy of this Sunday week for half-price a day before the official publication date. I was well chuffed indeed.

And of course, it was pretty good, Banville at his Black-est. Plenty of fun with somewhat stock characters: Dublin toffs (of both RC and Prod varieties), Trinty boys (this being the '50s, of course they're boys), and the lovable, taciturn, Midlands-bred Inspector Hackett, as well as the enigmatic pathologist Quirke. Add in the now-familiar extended family of Quirke—his dau
Jun 06, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Entertaining but slight entry in the Quirke series. The writing is fluent as always from Black (or Banville, to be more accurate) and the characters are fun to witness but the mystery isn't that substantive this time around with not much in the way of surprise. More like 3.5 stars but the fine writing pushes it up a notch. If you like the series you should like this one, just not the best entry in terms of weightiness of plot. Recommended.
Lynette Barfield
Oct 14, 2012 rated it it was ok
Just couldn't seem to really get into this. Not bad, Not good. Just o. k. Probably one of those I shouldn't have finished. OH WELL. On to something else. Just downloaded Jo Nesbo's Phantom That's more like it.
Jan 05, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: gialli
3 stelle scarse e perché mi sento di manica larga...
Ho comprato questo libro perché è stato riedito in una collana di gialli proposta da un noto giornale italiano, attirata dall'ambientazione in Irlanda. E l'ambientazione è l'unica cosa positiva...
Ho trovato il libro lentissimo, soprattutto tenendo conto che si tratta di un giallo tradizionale, o così dovrebbe essere. Per 3/4 del volume in pratica non succede nulla... Vengono seguiti vari personaggi, tanto che mi riesce quasi difficile credere c
Mark Joyce
Jan 29, 2017 rated it really liked it
If you’ve made it this far into the Quirke series then you know what you’re getting and presumably like this kind of thing. The mood is as sombre as ever and the alcoholic, hirsute, emotionally constipated Quirke remains irresistible both to the opposite sex and, it is continually hinted, his wisecracking old mate Inspector Hackett. Some reviewers have described this as one of the weaker novels in the series; I felt it was one of the stronger ones, but probably for the same reasons. Vengeance ne ...more
David Carr
The quality of the writing in this work is superior to any other crime novel I have read, and its protagonist is among the most complex and opaque among a legion of inquisitors. The prose simply stopped me, requiring a rereading, and sometimes another. Here, a man enters his father's nursing home room.

"There was a bed, a chair, a bedside locker. A copper beech tree outside loomed in the high sash window, darkening the room within and giving it an underwater look. Jack's father inhabited this cis
Amy Lignor
Oct 23, 2012 rated it really liked it
“Vengeance” is the fifth book in Black’s mystery series featuring Quirke, a pathologist who supports Detective Inspector Hackett in his cases.

The plot is an interwoven, complicated story about two families headed up by business partners who are the sons of business partners. It seems as though one of the families has always been the ‘top dog,’ holding the upper hand in all the business dealings that have occurred over the years.

Victor Delahaye (the dominant partner), takes Davy Clancy (son of t
Mar 02, 2014 rated it liked it
Wealthy Dublin businessman Victor Delahaye invites Davey Clancy, the 25-year-old son of his business partner, out on his sailboat. Victor then proceeds to shoot himself in the chest. Soon afterward Delahaye's business partner Jack Clancy, who was secretly manueuvering to take over the company, is found dead in suspicious circumstances.

Detective Inspector Hackett and his friend, pathologist Dr. Quirke, look into both cases. Plenty of persons of interest turn up: Victor's beautiful, flirtatious,
Aug 30, 2012 rated it really liked it
i think this is john banville's fifth "pulp" mystery and while it is probably the smoothest, and the least "pomoish", it seemed a bit by-the-numbers. as for example, jimmy, a recurring character who as a journalist is a legitimate finger-poker into things dead and mysteries revolving around rich people, but makes a cameo in this story that just seems pointless. that said, these benjamin black mysteries, with the redoubtable, whiskey swilling, bed jumping quirke the pathologist are still fun and ...more
Apr 24, 2012 rated it liked it
Shelves: first-reads
It was a very interesting novel. I felt like there were too many characters who were trying to play detective, so we didn't really focus on the main detective. I also haven't read the earlier books featuring this detective, so although the character's backstories were explained so I wasn't completely lost, I wish I had read the other books featuring Quirke first.
Overall it was pretty enjoyable. Not too long and drawn out. The plot is more character based than actually hunting out clues.
I receive
Garry Stevens
Dec 17, 2017 rated it did not like it
The author is acclaimed, it would seem. I have no idea why. I found this book dull, dreary, and long-winded. Almost nothing happens, and when it does happen it happens very, very slowly. It is a short work of 200 or so pages in my edition. At least 150 pages of those are somnolent and tiresome.

No doubt greater minds than mine would acclaim those pages as masterful character development. Sod that for a joke. If I never read one of this author's laborously tedious books again, it will be too soon
Stacy Bearse
Jan 23, 2014 rated it liked it
Shelves: fiction
The weakest installment of a great series, which still makes it a good book. Dynamite opening chapters. Emotional conclusion. What lies between meanders here and there. Absolutely superb writing is the saving grace. I found myself reading some sentences over-and-over just to marvel at the way Black (John Banville) strings together words and phrases.
Fredrick Danysh
When a rich man goes for a sail with his business partner's son and then commits suicide in front of the young man secerets are revealed during the investigation. A little slow at times, this police procedural is a fair read.
Dennis Osborne
Jul 26, 2017 rated it it was ok
A chore to get through
Oct 31, 2013 rated it liked it
Grand little read - not too challenging but well written as always. A bit like one of those one hour dramas on TV.
Jul 08, 2017 rated it it was ok
Oh dear, I was introduced to this series with the last book in the series and was quite excited to think I'd found a new author. Sadly, I was wrong. I battled my way through "Elegy for April," and reluctantly read this one, but knew in my heart that this would be my last.

Black, pen name for John Banbury, overwrites. Descriptions are endless; people staring out of windows, lighting cigarettes, musing about the rain, some of which is useful but in the sheer volume he produces, it's just too much.
Laurel Deloria
Nov 19, 2017 rated it really liked it
I like his style of writing. Good descriptions, interesting characters, family relationships. AmazonA 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
Marguerite Kaye
Nov 19, 2017 rated it really liked it
I love Quirke. I've noticed in other reviews that people find the books slow, but I think they are as laconic as the main character himself. They are not murder mysteries in the classical sense, maybe that's why some readers are disappointed. I've said it a few times in my various reviews, but they are character studies with a bit of mystery, and sooooo satisfying. Quirke is one of those people, the more you get to know about him the less you feel you know him - like you're watching him from a d ...more
Mar 19, 2017 rated it really liked it
Quirke lives and detects in 1950s Dublin and it's always a treat to spend time with him. He watches people with a close eye for character, despite falling for the wrong person time and again. I found this observation particularly acute:
In his work over the years he had dealt with many people in various distraught states. In some cases, it was true, the bereaved, especially sons, behaved in what might have seemed a callous or uncaring fashion in the immediate aftermath of a death, but that was t
Nov 12, 2017 rated it liked it
The noted Irish novelist John Banville writes mystery novels under the pen name Benjamin Black. I have read 4 other of these crime procedural in the order in which they were written. All the novels center around Quirke a melancholy Dublin pathologist who drinks way to much as he looks into the reasons behind the deaths of a variety of victims. The novels have recurrent characters but can be rad independently. They all are highly descriptive and portray an insular tormented Irish society in the y ...more
Cliff Townsend
Dec 29, 2017 rated it it was ok
I kind of liked it kind of didn't. Just unsure. The characters and writing was good though.
Arantxa Rufo
Apr 22, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A cada novela que pasa, el pobre Quirke es más oscuro. Si Muerte en verano me pareció triste, esta lo es mucho más. No tanto la historia en sí, que es muy interesante, con familias enfrentadas obligadas a convivir por los negocios y la hipocresía social; sino la figura del patólogo, que parece no tener ya ningún motivo para levantar la cabeza.

En fin, nada que no esperemos de estas novelas oscuras, frías y negras como el Dublín en el que se desarrollan, como la Guinness que llena sus vasos.
Sep 27, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Now I want to read the first four in this series! Brings back a lot of memories of the time I spent in Dublin working with Telecom Éirann (now Eirecom).
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
topics  posts  views  last activity   
Has anyone seen the British TV series of these books? 2 5 Jan 08, 2015 04:15PM  
  • Borderlands (Inspector Devlin, #1)
  • Athena (The Freddie Montgomery Trilogy, #3)
  • Something For The Weekend
  • Decked with Folly (Pennyfoot Hotel #17)
  • No Known Grave (Detective Inspector Tom Tyler, #3)
  • Cop To Corpse (Peter Diamond, #12)
  • Stolen Souls (Jack Lennon Investigations #3)
  • I Hear the Sirens in the Street (Detective Sean Duffy #2)
  • Laidlaw (Jack Laidlaw, #1)
Pen name for John Banville

Banville was born in Wexford, Ireland. His father worked in a garage and died when Banville was in his early thirties; his mother was a housewife. He is the youngest of three siblings; his older brother Vincent is also a novelist and has written under the name Vincent Lawrence as well as his own. His sister Vonnie Banville-Evans has written both a children's novel and a r
More about Benjamin Black

Other books in the series

Quirke (7 books)
  • Christine Falls (Quirke #1)
  • The Silver Swan (Quirke #2)
  • Elegy for April (Quirke #3)
  • A Death in Summer (Quirke #4)
  • Holy Orders (Quirke #6)
  • Even the Dead (Quirke #7)

Mystery & Thrillers Deals

  • The Last Passenger
    $3.99 $0.99
  • The Thief
    $9.99 $2.99
  • From the Cradle
    $5.99 $1.99
  • Intrusion
    $3.99 $1.99
  • Obsidian Curse (A Stacy Justice Mystery #5)
    $5.99 $1.99
  • Two to Die For (Lucy Kincaid, #12.5; Max Revere, #3.5)
    $4.99 $1.99
  • To the Grave (Jefferson Tayte Genealogical Mystery Book #2)
    $4.49 $1.99
  • If Tomorrow Comes
    $12.74 $1.99
  • Bloodstone (A Stacy Justice Mystery, #2)
    $5.99 $1.99
  • The Clockwork Scarab (Stoker & Holmes, #1)
    $7.99 $0.99
  • Into the Darkest Corner
    $7.74 $1.99
  • Dragon's Triangle (The Shipwreck Adventures #2)
    $5.49 $1.99
  • The End of Temperance Dare
    $3.99 $1.99
  • Skewed
    $3.99 $1.99
  • Unintended Consequences (Innocent Prisoners Project #1)
    $5.99 $1.99
  • Steeplejack (Steeplejack #1)
    $8.51 $2.99
  • Girl Number One
    $3.99 $1.99
  • No Time To Blink
    $3.99 $1.99
  • What You Wish For
    $4.99 $1.99
  • The Detachment (John Rain, #7)
    $7.99 $1.99
  • Don't Get Caught
    $9.99 $2.99
  • Disappearance at Devil's Rock
    $9.74 $1.99
  • The Boy Who Stole from the Dead (Nadia Tesla, #2)
    $4.99 $0.99
  • Kindred (Jefferson Tayte Genealogical Mystery, #5)
    $5.99 $1.99
  • Local Girl Missing
    $9.99 $1.99
  • Finding Jake
    $9.49 $1.99
  • Violent Crimes (Amanda Jaffe, #5)
    $6.99 $1.99
  • The Temporary Agent (The Agent #1)
    $4.99 $1.99
  • Punishment (Detective Barnes, #1)
    $4.99 $1.99
  • Terminal Rage
    $9.99 $3.99
  • A Lonely Resurrection (John Rain #2)
    $7.99 $1.99
  • The Killer Ascendant (John Rain #6)
    $7.99 $1.99
  • A Deadly Game: The Untold Story of the Scott Peterson Investigation
    $14.99 $1.99
  • Sunday Silence (Frieda Klein, #7)
    $10.99 $1.99
  • The Last Queen of England (Jefferson Tayte Genealogical Mystery Book #3)
    $5.99 $1.99
  • Graveyard of Memories (John Rain, #8)
    $7.99 $1.99
  • Emerald Isle (A Stacy Justice Mystery #4)
    $5.99 $1.99
  • Before You Leap
    $4.99 $1.99
  • First Strike (Dewey Andreas, #6)
    $9.99 $2.99
  • The Hangman (The Forgotten Files #3)
    $4.99 $1.99
  • An Invisible Client
    $5.49 $1.99
  • The Eight
    $9.99 $1.99
  • The Best of Robert E. Howard: Crimson Shadows (Volume 1)
    $13.99 $2.99
  • Sin and Swoon (Blood and Bone, #2)
    $3.99 $0.99
  • The Devil in Silver
    $11.99 $1.99
  • The Shark (Forgotten Files, #1)
    $4.99 $1.99
  • Stay Dead (Elise Sandburg #2)
    $5.99 $1.99
  • The Company of Demons
    $7.99 $0.99
  • The Fifth Letter
    $9.99 $1.99
  • Sacred and Profane (Peter Decker/Rina Lazarus, #2)
    $6.99 $1.99
  • The Altar Girl (Nadia Tesla #0.5)
    $3.99 $0.99
  • Darkness
    $6.99 $1.99
  • Redemption Games (John Rain #4)
    $7.99 $1.99
  • Tips for Living
    $4.99 $1.99
  • The Boy from Reactor 4 (Nadia Tesla, #1)
    $3.99 $0.99
  • Carthage
    $8.49 $2.99
  • The Lost Empress (Genealogical Crime Mystery, #4)
    $5.99 $1.99
  • Hounded (An Andy Carpenter Novel)
    $9.99 $2.99
  • Girls on Fire
    $8.99 $1.99
  • The Back Road
    $5.99 $1.99
  • The Other Widow
    $9.24 $1.99
  • Suckers (Jack Daniels and Associates)
    $3.99 $0.99
  • No Time for Goodbye
    $7.99 $1.99
  • Edinburgh Twilight (Ian Hamilton Mysteries #1)
    $3.99 $1.99
  • Extremis (John Rain, #5)
    $7.99 $1.99
  • Blood and Bone (Blood and Bone, #1)
    $3.99 $0.99
  • Chopping Spree (A Goldy Bear Culinary Mystery, #11)
    $7.99 $1.99
  • Not by Sight (Ozark Mountain Trilogy #1)
    $14.99 $1.99
  • Winner Take All (John Rain #3)
    $7.99 $1.99
  • Twist of Faith
    $4.99 $1.99
  • The Most Dangerous Animal of All
    $8.24 $1.99
  • The Night Villa
    $13.99 $1.99
  • A Clean Kill in Tokyo (John Rain #1)
    $7.99 $1.99
  • Circle of Bones (The Shipwreck Adventures, #1)
    $6.49 $1.99
  • The Murder of Mary Russell (Mary Russell and Sherlock Holmes, #14)
    $11.99 $1.99
“All the same, she wondered if they did know what she thought and felt, if they knew without knowing, in that way the Irish were so adept at doing.” 3 likes
More quotes…