On the outs with their superiors, Detective Inspector Banks and Detective Sergeant Annie Cabbot are lumbered with a case that is supposed to frustrate and annoy them--and find the challenge fascinating. When a reservoir dries out, a flooded village emerges and a boy finds a skeleton buried in an outhouse--by solid police work, and the use of experts, Banks and Cabbot find out who she was and when she died, and then have to find out why. The reader knows more than they do of course--elderly crime writer Vivien has written her own account of what happened during World War Two when she was an intense unhappy teenager, and this is presented in alternate chapters--but there are surprises still in store... An intense sense of period and a celebration of the virtues of solid investigation, this admirable combination of the police procedural and the psychological period thriller was nominated for the Edgar, the US crime writers' best of the year award. Peter Robinson's acute portrayal of his flawed, humane detectives and the charismatic doomed victim the truth of whose death they are trying to uncover has a desperate sadness which comes together in a climax of unexpected power. --Roz Kaveney
--This text refers to the
From Publishers Weekly
Anyone who loves a good mystery should curl up gratefully with a cuppa to enjoy this rich 10th installment of the acclaimed British police procedural series. Detective Chief Inspector Alan Banks, on the skids since the breakup with wife Sandra, languishes in "career Siberia" until old nemesis Chief Constable Riddle sends him to remotest Yorkshire on a "dirty, pointless, dead-end case." It seems a local kid has discovered a skeleton in dried-up Thornfield Reservoir, constructed on the site of the deserted bucolic village of Hobb's End. Banks taps into his familiar network of colleagues to identify the skeleton as that of Gloria Shackleton, a gorgeous, provocative "land girl" who worked on a Hobb's End farm while her husband was off fighting the Japanese decades ago. Apparently, Gloria had been stabbed to death. As Banks and Detective Sergeant Annie Cabbot struggle to re-create the 50-year-old crime scene, wartime Yorkshire, with all its deprivations and depravities, springs to life. (Banks revives, too, showing renewed interest in his job, and in women.) Robinson brilliantly interweaves the story of Banks's investigation with an ambiguous manuscript by detective novelist "Vivian Elmsley," a 70-ish woman once Gloria's sister-in-law. Is the manuscript a memoir of events leading to Gloria's vicious murder, or "all just a story"? Either way, every detail rings true. Once again, Robinson's work stands out for its psychological and moral complexity, its startling evocation of pastoral England and its gritty, compassionate portrayal of modern sleuthing. Agent, Dominick Abel. Author tour.
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc.
--This text refers to the