Entirely by accident we found ourself at the end of the MLK (jr) holiday weekend having read two crime novels set in what became after a week there one of our favorite cities. That would be Dublin, the slightly tatty and quite small capital of the financially chagrined Irish republic. We read Stuart Neville’s Ratlines first, quite and quickly pleased to find that Neville had taken on the embarrassing issue of Nazis enjoying retirement in the Republic which like Sweden and Switzerland had been neutral in the second world war. The ratlines refer to money channels running from Ireland back to Europe where hidden Nazis still lurk. The moment in time is 1963 just before JFK’s visit to the ancestral village, making WWII less than twenty years gone and the Republic not forty years old. Good stuff up to the jumbled end.
Vengeance is the latest Quirke and Hackett Police-Pathologist Procedural from posh writer John Banville writing as Benjamin Black. We read these things for the atmosphere and the Irish mid-century cultural analysis, because the police end is invariably weak. And it’s a new level of weakness here. Still, Dublin in the fifties is a great setting. And this time there’s an interesting thread of Catholic v. Protestant. And now all the mid-century Dublin scenery is even more interesting knowing that Nazis could be lurking around any corner.
Both, of course, on the Mercantile New Fiction shelf.