Gallows View, the first Inspector Banks novel, provides a great introduction to Robinson's now well-established series. Having already read some of the later books, it is easy to see how Robinson painstakingly lays the groundwork for the subsequent novels. The characters are well thought out, given distinct and memorable personalities, and relationships are carefully established.
DCI Alan Banks, a recent transfer to the Eastvale CID, finds himself embroiled in a series of mysteries for his first major case. A number of Peeping Tom incidents leaves the women of Eastvale rather vary. To make matters worse, two teenagers appear to be carrying out a series of break-ins and vandalisms. The situation turns nasty when an elderly woman is found dead in her vandalized home.
The affable Banks finds himself personally enmeshed in the situation when the investigation hits a little too close to home. The tension grows when Banks tries to remain faithful to this wife, amid the growing attraction he feels towards another woman...
The novel has a perfect (if not slightly contrived) ending - all the different threads are neatly tied together, and the intricate details carefully explained. The readers are even left feeling somewhat sympathetic towards the criminals in this novel.
Furthermore, unlike some of the other police procedurals I've read, there appears to be far less internal tension and strife within the Eastvale CID - the police officers tend to work as a team and get along fairly well. I found this a welcome change from some of the other series where the main character appears to be constantly rubbing shoulders with his superior or junior officers.
All said, Gallows View is an excellent beginning to this superb long-lasting series, and well worth the read.