I did not think the story would live up to the billing on the back page or, indeed, my own hopes once I had read the editorial on amazon. I am so pleased that it did. Robinson cooks up a feast of nostalgia, mystery and pshycology in a very unusual detective story.
Perhaps most impressive are the diary extracts that tell of life in a tiny Yorkshire village during the War. The voice of the narrator we know is the echo of a million other British voices during those days. Rationing, blackout, land armies and American servicemen all take their place in the reminiscing pages to paint a detailed picture of the life and times of the victim, Gloria.
Interspersed there is the police investigation and the trials and tribulations of Robinson's very readable hero, Banks. Difficulties with the boss, ex-wife, son and colleague are juggled admirably by the author who moulds all the rich ingredients into one fast-paced, enjoyable read. Refreshingly, he decides against falling into the ever present trap of saying too much or adding one twist too many, choosing instead to deliver a cameo of shocks in the epilogue. Just when I thought I had finished, there was another couple of pages that caused the eyebrows to raise and the grey matter to think again at what I had just read.
I would like to read more of Banks books, but I am wary that the actual subject matter in this novel will far surpass any that appears in the other ten or so volumes. One day I am sure I will have done the set, so to speak, but for now I am going to be content with having had the pleasure of reading this as a brilliant one-off.