Cold Is the Grave Mass Market Paperback – 2001
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Top Customer Reviews
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.
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.
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).
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.
Most recent customer reviews
This is just one of the several chapters in the life of DCI Banks and, as usual, an excellent one.Published 20 months ago by Patricia M. Dryburgh
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 morePublished on March 4 2002
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 morePublished on Feb. 6 2002 by M. A Michaud
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 morePublished on Oct. 22 2001
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 morePublished on Jan. 19 2001 by Dianne Foster
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 morePublished on Dec 10 2000 by P. Bigelow
I was on my way out to the airport when amazon.com's e-mail announcing the new release by Peter Robinson came through. Read morePublished on Oct. 24 2000
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 morePublished on Oct. 22 2000 by E. Bukowsky