British Mystery Men 2: Peter Robinson

Peter Robinson lives in Toronto but grew up in Yorkshire and that’s where his detective fiction is (mostly) set. He has sent his Yorkshire police detective (Alan Banks) to Toronto and he’s written non-Banks books set other places. I’ve only re-read one of Robinson’s books — the first one I read that got me hooked on the Banks series, In A Dry Season. Not too surprisingly, given my reflections recently, this one has historical bits in it and the historical bit is set during WW2. Possibly I should note here that my ADad was in the RCAF and stationed in Yorkshire during WW2, so I may have been influenced by my upbringing to pay particular attention to this book. I also think the book is very good and very interesting.

As you might guess by the fact that there are historical bits in the book, In A Dry Season deals with a cold case. A mystery is uncovered in a dry summer when a reservoir dries up revealing the town that was intentionally flooded when the river was dammed. DCI Banks is put on the case along with DS Annie Cabbot. A very good story with lots of twists and turns as well as memorable characters emerges. I think this is Robinson at the top of his game, though I haven’t read his latest yet. I might change my mind. Maybe.

Robinson has written 19 Alan Banks books and I think I’ve read almost all of them. I haven’t read the most recent, and possibly not one or two of the earliest, but certainly all the rest. The political games of workplaces, the psychological intricacies of motive, the things that are incidentally uncovered in a murder investigation are all a part of Robinson’s books, and all very well done. For all you music lovers out there, Banks has a continually changing and situationally appropriate play list on his iPod (more recently) or on his car/home stereo system. Jump into the series anywhere and check it out.

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