Inspector Banks series by Peter Robinson
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Overview: Dr. Peter Robinson (born 1950) is an English-born, Canadian-based crime writer. He is the winner of numerous awards in the United States, Britain and Canada, and in 2002 he won the CWA Dagger in the Library. Peter Robinson’s Inspector Banks novels are among the best detective fiction in the world, and their multi-layered stories continue to surprise, engross, thrill, and delight readers.
In series order:
A Peeping Tom is frightening the women of Eastvale; two glue-sniffing young thugs are breaking into homes and robbing people; an old woman may or may not have been murdered. Investigating these cases is Detective Chief Inspector Alan Banks, a perceptive, curious and compassionate policeman recently moved to the Yorkshire Dales from London to escape the stress of city life. In addition to all this, Banks has to deal with the local feminists and his attraction to a young psychologist, Jenny Fuller. As the tension mounts, both Jenny and Banks’s wife, Sandra, are drawn deeper into the events. The cases weave together as the story reaches a tense and surprising climax.
A Dedicated Man
The body of a well-liked local historian is found half-buried under a drystone wall near the village of Helmthorpe, Swainsdale. Who on earth would want to kill such a thoughtful, dedicated man? Penny Cartwright, a beautiful folk singer with a mysterious past, a shady land-developer, Harry’s editor and a local thriller writer are all suspects–and all are figures from Harry’s previous, idyllic summers in the dale. A young girl, Sally Lumb, knows more than she lets on, and her knowledge could lead to danger. Inspector Banks’s second case unearths disturbing secrets behind a bucolic facade.
A Necessary End
Violence erupts at an anti-nuclear demonstration in Eastvale, leaving one policeman stabbed to death. At first there are over a hundred suspects, but then things narrow down to the people who live on “Maggie’s Farm”, an isolated house high on the daleside: Seth Cotton, the quiet, strong owner; Mara Delacey, his girlfriend; Paul Boyd, a young drifter with a violent background; Zoe Hardacre, an astrologer; and Rick Trelawney, an artist with strong Marxist leanings. Also among the suspects is Dennis Osmond, a social worker involved with Jenny Fuller, Inspector Banks’s friend. As if this isn’t enough to cope with, Banks finds his freedom hampered by the politically-motivated appointment of an old enemy, Detective Superintendent Richard “Dirty Dick” Burgess, to head the investigation. Finally, warned off the case, the only way Banks can salvage his career is by beating Burgess to the killer. As the two head for a final confrontation, Banks pieces together the full story behind his most tragic case so far.
The Hanging Valley
A faceless, maggot-ridden corpse is discovered in a tranquil, hidden valley above the village of Swainshead. When the identity of the body is discovered, so is a possible connection with an unsolved murder in the same area five years ago. Among the annoyingly silent suspects are the Collier brothers, the wealthiest and most powerful family in Swainsdale; John Fletcher, a taciturn farmer; Sam Greenock, cocky owner of a Local guest house; and his troubled wife, Katie, who knows more than she realizes. When the Colliers use their influence to slow down the investigation, Inspector Alan Banks heads to Toronto to track down the killer. He soon finds himself in a race against time as events rush towards the shocking and haunting conclusion of his fourth case.
Past Reason Hated
The body of Caroline Hartley is found one evening before Christmas by her lover, Veronica Shildon. It is a cosy scene–log fire, sheepskin rug, Vivaldi on the stereo, Christmas lights and tree–but Caroline is naked and covered in blood. Detective Constable Susan Gay is the first detective at the scene. She has recently been promoted to C.I.D. and the case soon takes on overwhelming professional and personal importance for her. DC Gay and Chief Inspector Alan Banks soon find plenty of suspects as they begin to delve into Caroline’s past and the women’s present life: Veronica’s ex-husband, who is a well-known composer; a feminist poet; the cast and crew of a play Caroline was rehearing; and Caroline’s eccentric, reclusive brother, Gary Hartley. Inspector Banks’s fifth case is an ironic, suspenseful tale of family secrets, hidden passions and desperate violence. Winner of 1991 Arthur Ellis Award for Best Crime Novel.
When a well-dressed couple, claiming to be social workers, appear at Brenda Scupham’s door, saying they must take her seven-year-old daughter, Gemma, into care after allegations of abuse, Brenda is confused and intimidated enough to hand the child over. But when the couple, Mr Brown and Miss Peterson, fail to bring Gemma home, Brenda realizes she has made a terrible mistake. As the days go by, Detective Chief Inspector Banks begins to lose hope of finding Gemma alive. Then a rambler finds a body in the ruins of an old lead mine, and the two cases begin to converge in a terrifying way, leading Banks to a showdown with one of the most chillingly evil criminals he has ever come up against. Nominated for an Edgar Award by the Mystery Writers of America.
Final Account aka Dry Bones that Dream
One May evening, two masked gunmen tie up Alison Rothwell and her mother, take Keith Rothwell, a local accountant, to the garage of his isolated Yorkshire Dales farmhouse, and blow his head off with a shotgun. Why? This is the question Detective Chief Inspector Alan Banks has to ask as he sifts through Rothwell’s life. Rothwell was generally known in the area as a mild-mannered, dull sort of person, but even a cursory investigation raises more questions than answers. When Banks’s old sparring partner, DS Richard “Dirty Dick” Burgess, turns up from the Yard, the case takes yet another unexpected twist, and Banks finds himself racing against time as the killers seem to be dogging his footsteps. Only after he pits his job against his sense of justice does he discover the truth. And the truth leads him to one of the most difficult decisions of his career.
Detective Inspector Banks had seen crimes just as savage in London, but somehow the murder of a teenage girl seemed all the more shocking in the quiet Yorkshire village of Eastvale. Deborah Harrison had been found one foggy night in the churchyard behind St Mary’s, strangled with the strap of her school satchel. But Deborah was no typical sixteen-year-old. Her father was a powerful financier who ran in the highest echelons of industry, defence and classified information. And Deborah, it seemed, enjoyed keeping secrets of her own…
Dead Right aka Blood At The Root
Inspector Alan Banks’ ninth case sees him investigating the murder of a young racist. A man who, it seems, has lived by the sword and now died by the sword. But it is never that simple… A night at the opera had offered Chief Inspector Alan Banks a temporary respite from his troubles – both at work and at home. But the telephone call summoning him to Easlvale brings him back to reality with a bump. For the body of teenager Jason Fox has been found in a dirty alleyway. He has been kicked to death. At first it looks like an after-hours pub fight gone wrong – until Banks learns that Jason was a member of a white power organisation known as the Albion League. So who wanted him dead? The Pakistani youths he had insulted in the pub earlier that evening? The shady friends of his business partner Mark Wood? Or someone within the Albion League itself? Someone who resented the teenager’s growing power in a brutal and unforgiving organisation…?
In a Dry Season
During a blistering summer, drought has depleted Thornfield Reservoir, uncovering the remains of a small village called Hobb’s End, hidden from view for over 40 years. A young boy finds a human skeleton, and DCI Alan Banks sets out to uncover the murky past.
Cold Is the Grave
Detective Chief Inspector Alan Banks has reached a turning point. With his wife now living with another man in London and his career in the doldrums thanks to Chief Constable Riddle, it is time to ring the changes. Perhaps a move to the National Crime Squad? Perhaps a second chance with Sandra? But then late one night he is summoned to Riddle’s house – and his plans take a surprising new turn. For the Chief Constable’s sixteen-year-old daughter Emily has run away and for once Riddle wants Banks to use his unorthodox methods to find her without fuss.
Number 35 The Hill is an ordinary house in an ordinary street. But it is about to become infamous. When two police constables are sent to the house following a report of a domestic disturbance, they stumble upon a truly horrific scene. A scene which leaves one of them dead and the other fighting for her life and career. The identity of a serial killer, the Chameleon, has finally been revealed. But his capture is only the beginning of a shocking investigation that will test Inspector Alan Banks to the absolute limit.
The Summer That Never Was aka Close to Home
A skeleton has been unearthed. Soon the body is identified, and the horrific discovery hits the headlines… Fourteen-year-old Graham Marshall went missing during his paper round in 1965. The police found no trace of him. His disappearance left his family shattered, and his best friend, Alan Banks, full of guilt… That friend has now become Chief Inspector Alan Banks, and he is determined to bring justice for Graham. But he soon realises that in this case, the boundary between victim and perpetrator, between law-guardian and law-breaker, is becoming more and more blurred…
Playing with Fire
‘All Banks knew, as he forced himself to be detached and concentrate on the job at hand, was that a fire scene was unique and presented a number of problems he simply didn’t encounter at other crime scenes. Not only was fire itself incredibly destructive, but the act of putting out a fire is destructive, too.’ In the early hours of the morning, a man reports a fire on two old canal boats. One of the firefighters notices the use of accelerant at the scene and calls the police, but by the time Inspector Banks arrives, the fire brigade have put out the flames and only the smouldering wreckage remains. A body has been found on each barge, and all the evidence points towards a deliberate arson attack. One of the victims is Tina, a young girl with a drug addiction and a terrible past who had been living with her boyfriend Mark. The other is Tom, an artist who had been living alone. Now, with little evidence to go on and a number of possible suspects, including Tina’s boyfriend, the local ‘lock-keeper’ who reported the fire, and Tina’s own father, Banks must begin to delve into the lives of the victims, and to discover who could have wanted them out of the way forever…
When he receives a mysterious and disturbing telephone call from his brother Roy, Banks heads off to London to search him out. Meanwhile, DI Annie Cabbot is called to a murder scene on a quiet stretch of road just outside Eastvale. A young woman has been found dead in her car . . . With Banks’s name and address written on a slip of paper in the back pocket of her jeans. While Banks stays in his brother’s luxurious, empty house, digging into his life and uncovering more and more surprises about the brother he didn’t really know and didn’t particularly like, Annie tracks down the female victim’s friends and colleagues. It seems that both trails are leading towards horrific conclusions and when the cases look likely to intersect, the consequences for Banks and Annie become terrifying . . .
Piece of My Heart
As volunteers clean up after a huge outdoor rock concert in Yorkshire in 1969, they discover the body of a young woman wrapped in a sleeping bag. She has been brutally murdered. The detective assigned to the case, Stanley Chadwick, is a hard-headed, strait-laced veteran of the Second World War. He could not have less in common with – or less regard for – young, disrespectful, long-haired hippies, smoking marijuana and listening to the pulsing sounds of rock and roll. But he has a murder to solve, and it looks as if the victim was somehow associated with the up-and-coming psychedelic pastoral band the Mad Hatters. In the present, Inspector Alan Banks is investigating the murder of a freelance music journalist, who was working on a feature about the Mad Hatters for "MOJO" magazine. This is not the first time that the Mad Hatters, now aging rock superstars, have been brushed by tragedy. Banks finds he has to delve into the past to find out exactly what hornets’ nest the journalist inadvertently stirred up.
Friend of the Devil
On a cliff edge overlooking the North Sea, a quadriplegic woman in a wheelchair stares unseeingly at the waves. She had been murdered. And, miles away, in a storeroom in the Maze, a medieval warren of yards and alleys at the heart of Eastvale, Yorkshire, a young woman lies sprawled on a heap of leather scraps. She too has been murdered. Their bodies are discovered at about the same time that DI Annie Cabbot, on secondment to the Eastern Area force, wakes with a severe hangover in the bed of a young man she barely recognizes. From these three strands, Peter Robinson weaves his latest complex and compelling story.
While DCI Alan Banks tries to figure out how anyone was able to murder Hayley Daniels, when the closed-circuit cameras trained on the entrances to the Maze show that no one preceded or followed her into its shadows, Cabbot learns two things that make her blood run cold: the real intentions of her one-night stand and the true identity of the quadriplegic woman. A ghost from the past is back to haunt both her and Banks.
All the Colours of Darkness
A beautiful June day in the Yorkshire Dales, and a group of children are spending the last of their half-term freedom swimming in the river near Hipswell Woods. But the idyll is shattered by their discovery of a man’s body, hanging from a tree. DI Annie Cabott soon discovers he is Mark Hardcastle, the well-liked and successful set designer for the Eastvale Theatre’s current production of Othello. Everything points to suicide, and Annie is mystified. Why would such a man want to take his own life? Then Annie’s investigation leads to another shattering discovery, and DCI Alan Banks is called back from the idyllic weekend he had planned with his new girlfriend. Banks soon finds himself plunged into a shadow-world where nothing is what it seems, where secrets and deceit are the norm, and where murder is seen as the solution to a problem. The deeper he digs the more he discovers that the monster he has awakened will extend its deadly reach to his friends and family. Nobody is safe!
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