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Published by Hodder, 13 June
2019. ISBN: 978-1-44478695-8 (PB)
This is this author’s 25th title in his
Detective Banks series and he has done as good a job as ever. Banks, recently
promoted to Detective Superintendent and twenty years after the breakup of his
marriage, is still living on his own in his moorland cottage; none of his various
subsequent relationships have worked out but he is currently resigned to his solitary
The story begins with
the discovery of a young woman’s body in a car on a remote moorland road. She
is soon identified as a young local student, Adrienne Munro, and it seems her
body has been there for several days. She is dressed as if for a party with a
strapless dress and high-heeled sandals but there is no sign of coat or
handbag. But the car was not her car; the owners had left it in a layby after
another driver had crashed into it and rendered it undriveable. Someone had subsequently
placed Adrienne’s body there – but who? And why? The post-mortem indicates an
overdose of sleeping pills, but a search of Adrienne’s college room throws up
some queries – for a student with limited resources she has a remarkable amount
of advanced electronic gadgets, a fine selection of mostly classical music and
a good assortment of fancy clothes. Where did she get the money from to pay for
all this? And why did such a beautiful young woman with good friends and a
bright future ahead of her commit suicide?
At the same time,
Banks’s colleague Annie Cabbot is investigating another mysterious death: a
middle-aged man has been found dead elsewhere in Yorkshire’s desolate
moorlands. Eventually he is identified as Lawrence Hadfield, a semi-retired
investment banker. His death appears to be accidental, the result of a fall.
There is nothing to link the two deaths except that, like Adrienne, Hadfield
had been smartly dressed, certainly not equipped for wandering about the fells
in typical winter weather. Nor are there any indications as to how he got
there: no sign of any car in which he could have driven to this remote spot. Both
he and Adrienne lived seemingly very quiet lives. Even if these deaths seem to
be either suicide or accident respectively, rather than actual murder, and even
if there seems to be no link between them, Banks is determined to unravel these
mysteries. And, after another death, this time with unmistakeable violence, he begins
to uncover a web of sexual corruption.
Peter Robinson is a
highly experienced and professional writer who has the ability to tell an intriguing
and complex story which holds the attention of the reader. In Alan Banks he has
created a likeable and thoroughly believable detective who manages to avoid the
usual clichés of morose detective protagonists with their customary alcohol,
relationship and authority problems. Banks may like the odd drink, but he does
not take it to extremes; his taste in music is eclectic (to say the least) so
that there is something there for everyone; and he gets on pretty well with his
colleagues. In an interview with the magazine Yorkshire Life the author tells us that, although his Yorkshire
locations are fictitious, they are based on real life locations. I felt that
this strongly enhances the effectiveness the author’s writing; when a character
looks at the landscape, we can clearly imagine what he or she is seeing. And
there is, at the end of this book, a promise of a continuation from
the events described in this story. Recommended.
is one of the world’s most popular and acclaimed writers. The bestselling and
award-winning author of the Inspector Banks series; he has also written two
short-story collections and several standalone novels, which combined have sold
more than ten million copies around the world. Among his many honours and
prizes are the Edgar Award, the CWA (UK) Dagger in the Library Award, and
Sweden's Martin Beck Award. He divides his time between Toronto and England.
born in the U.S. but has lived in the U.K. since she was seven apart from seven
years in The Hague. She read law at university but did not go into practice.
Instead she worked for many years for a firm of law publishers and still does occasional
work for them including taking part in a substantial revision and updating of
her late husband’s legal practitioners’ work on Criminal Evidence published
late 2015. She has also contributed short stories with a distinctly criminal
flavour to two of the Oxford Stories anthologies published by Oxpens Press – a
third story is to be published shortly in another Oxford Stories anthology –
and is now concentrating on her own writing.