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Cold Is the Grave [Mass Market Paperback]

Peter Robinson
3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (17 customer reviews)

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Page Turner Dec 30 2003
Cold is the Grave
Peter Robinson
2000 Viking 454 pages ISBN 0-670-83901-3
A teenager from the Yorkshire Dales runs away to London and falls into bad company - not much new in that. But when Peter Robinson uses it as an introduction to one of his chilling mysteries you have a plot has surprising but logical twists and turns and the tale becomes more intriguing by the page.
The writer manages to create strong, realistic characters that stay in your mind long after you've finished the book. When you pick up another book in the series you meet them again like old friends. The characters carry the plot, complex as it is, and all the sub-plots as the reader is shown the truth behind the veneer of the successful Chief Constable and his lovely family.
This was a book I hated to put down. It is well-paced and carefully structured and both male and female characters are so true that you'd swear you met them just last week. It's rare that a male writer can make female characters seem true to life, especially in their internal monologues (and vice versa - female writers often don't present the male interior monologue well) but this writer is spot on.
This book is a real treat from an accomplished mystery writer. Long may the series last.
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2.0 out of 5 stars That reminds of Milton's quote about.... March 6 2002
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Can't help thinking that this Peter Robinson book is a hangover from the gentility mysteries written by Agatha Christie and Dorothy L. Sayers. It's full of references to class discrimination: the petty crooks are working class and stupid; the smart crooks are working class and vicious; the upper class are tremendous people, instilled with the wonderful values that only a privileged upbringing can provide. The dialogue between all characters, law abiding and criminal, is mostly polite and deferential to the point of twee, and Inspector Banks floats around in a surreal world of his own, continually congratulating himself on the success of his unorthodox detecting techniques. Perhaps an alternative title to the Banks series could be: It Shoudn't Happen to a Copper.
By comparison, Ian Rankin, James Lee Burke and Michael Connelly have created characters with lives and conversations that resonate with gritty reality. Rebus, Robicheaux and Bosch are on a journey through life; Banks is commuting.
And Robinson has the most irritating habit of parading his learning out of context. Inspector Banks is often reminded of what Milton said or Proust thought - sure, give me a break!
In one chapter, Inspector Banks is having a beer while he talks to a London copper about a villain he wants to obtain more information on. During the conversation, Banks modestly makes a mental note that the other copper is a racist, alcoholic while he, Banks, is still a compassionate, caring human being, branded a 'pinko' by his drinking colleague because of his socialist sensibilities. At that point I put the book down and picked up the latest Ian Rankin.
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3.0 out of 5 stars One for a rainy day Oct. 1 2001
By A Customer
Format:Mass Market Paperback
This promised to be an interesting book - undisciplined detective with the usual relationship problems and an intriguing problem to solve. Once inside the pages the deaths start, arrive frequently, and eventually the detective manages to tie enough seemingly unrelated fact together to solve the puzzle. In other words, this was very much a book that followed a predictable formula.
Alan Banks is an interesting character but he wasn't as undisciplined and unorthodox as promised. Anne Cabot was a little stale and other than playing a part in Bank's character development, wasn't at all central to the story. Emily Riddle provided a much-needed spark to this cast of really rather wooden players but her appearance was all too brief to instill any real life to this book.
Sure, the descriptions were good, but too often the passages were overly long and the interview sequences read like a long-winded court report. There was maybe a hundred pages could have been trimmed from this novel and it could be a faster, sharper, story.
Having dealt with all the negatives, it's only fair to look at the positives. The plot was well conceived and deployed. The dialogue was good. Banks' character did provoke sympathy at times without ever catching the spark of brilliance promised.
Cold Is The Grave is worth reading, but it is not among the best of the year. Colin Dexter invented Morse and all other detectives from England must now be measured against him. Morse could eat Banks for breakfast (and have solved this mystery 100 pages earlier).
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4.0 out of 5 stars Another "stunner" April 5 2001
Cold is the Grave by Peter Robinson William Morrow 2000
Peter Robinson is one of my favorite mystery authors and this his latest book did not disappoint me. This book again finds Inspector Banks under the thumb of his boss Chief Constable "Jimmy" Riddle and a bit confused when Jimmy asks Banks to do him a favor and find his 16 year-old daughter Emily, who has run away to London. Banks finds her living with a very unsavory criminal, Barry Clough, and on drugs. Banks persuades her to return home but a short time later she is found murdered with strychnine laced cocain and the suspects include her former lover, Barry.
Banks sorts through all the suspects and clues and develops a likely theory but then uncovers some darkness in the Riddle family that throws new light on the problem. The surprise ending doesn't leave you gasping but has a neat twist.
Detective Annie Cabot has been assigned to work with Banks and the tension between them because of their failed affair creates problems that they finally work out. This is aided and abetted by Banks former wife who wants a divorce so she can marry her live-in lover.
This is not quite up to "In a Dry Season", the last Robinson book, but a very acceptable mystery and one I would recommend to all mystery fans.
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Most recent customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Thumbs up.
This is just one of the several chapters in the life of DCI Banks and, as usual, an excellent one.
Published 4 months ago by Patricia M. Dryburgh
3.0 out of 5 stars Barley Entertaining
If you want to be entertained but not into deep thought then Cold is the Grave suits your purposes. It is not challenging by any stretch but it keeps the interest enough to... Read more
Published on March 4 2002
5.0 out of 5 stars A well-written British police mystery
This book is one of a series whose central character is Alan Banks, a British police detective. In this case, the complexities Robinson introduces into his mysteries generally work... Read more
Published on Feb. 6 2002 by M. A Michaud
3.0 out of 5 stars Long
This book was just to long to support the shallow ending. The characters were well thought out and in sync. but I began to lose interest after awhile. Read more
Published on Oct. 22 2001 by "shamus13"
3.0 out of 5 stars Interesting but overly long...
I enjoyed Peter Robinson's IN A DRY SEASON so much I did something I seldom do with mysteries, I kept the book and did not pass it on to the local library. Read more
Published on Jan. 19 2001 by Dianne Foster
5.0 out of 5 stars Robinson Has Another Winner!
In this eleventh outing for Inspector Banks, he is asked by his Chief Constable and nemesis to go to London to find the Chief Constable's daughter who ran away from home several... Read more
Published on Dec 10 2000 by P. Bigelow
4.0 out of 5 stars It gets better with each book
I was on my way out to the airport when's e-mail announcing the new release by Peter Robinson came through. Read more
Published on Oct. 24 2000
3.0 out of 5 stars I love Banks, but this mystery is less than enthralling.
Any new book featuring one of my favorite detectives, Alan Banks, is always welcome. In "Cold is the Grave," Peter Robinson continues the saga of the brilliant but... Read more
Published on Oct. 22 2000 by E. Bukowsky
3.0 out of 5 stars Good writing can't overcome worn plot and wordy angst
After his taut, atmospheric "In a Dry Season" (nominated for Edgar and Anthony awards), Peter Robinson's latest Inspector Banks novel drags, padded with Banks' personal... Read more
Published on Oct. 22 2000 by Lynn Harnett
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