It is almost twelve months ago, following the below-par A Death in Summer, that I wondered aloud on these pages whether Benjamin Black (aka Booker-winner, John Banville) had what it took to write a crime series. A resounding yes comes in the form of the fifth instalment — sixth novel overall, after the 2008 stand-alone The Lemur — of the Quirke series, Vengeance. Black has finally rediscovered the formula that made his debut, Christine Falls, so memorable. To be sure, crime fiction purists will still bemoan the absence of standard clue-laying. The novel begins with the suicide of businessman Victor Delahaye, witnessed by his business partner’s son, Davy Clancy, and proceeds to slalom in and out of these two rival families, channelling the story through various characters — Victor’s second wife, Mona; his sister, Maggie; Clancy’s mother, Sylvia — as well as the usual duo of Quirke and Inspector Hackett.