Shortlisted for the Booker Prize, The Book of Evidence by John Banville is a gripping portrait of a cold, deceptive killer; an unreliable narrator with a dark story to tell.
Freddie Montgomery has committed two crimes. He stole a small Dutch master from a wealthy family friend, and he murdered a chambermaid who caught him in the act.
He has little to say about the dead girl. He killed her, he says, because he was physically capable of doing so. It made perfect sense to smash her head in with a hammer. What he cannot understand, and would desperately like to know, is why he was so moved by an unattributed portrait of a middle-aged woman that he felt compelled to steal it . . .
John Banville was born in Wexford, Ireland, in 1945. His first book, Long Lankin, was published in 1970. His other highly acclaimed books include Nightspawn, Birchwood, Doctor Copernicus (which won the James Tait Black Memorial Prize in 1976), Kepler (which was awarded the Guardian Fiction Prize in 1981), The Newton Letter, Mefisto, Ghosts, Athena, The Untouchable, Eclipse, Shroud and the Man Booker Prize-winning The Sea. He has received a literary award from the Lannan Foundation. He lives in Dublin.