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In a Dry Season [Mass Market Paperback]

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

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Adam Kelly loved to play in the derelict houses, loved the musty smell of the old rooms, the way they creaked and groaned as he moved around inside them, the way the sunlight shone through the laths, casting striped shadows on the walls. Read the first page
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Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
4.6 out of 5 stars
Most helpful customer reviews
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant! March 24 2001
Format:Mass Market Paperback
In a Dry Season by Peter Robinson Viking 1999
I have been a fan of Peter Robinson and his protagonist Alan Banks from the beginning and this book is one of the best I have read so far. When a dry season empties a reservoir and exposes the remains of a 50 year-old village, a young boy discovers a skeleton, an apparent a murder victim from the wartime. Banks and local detective Sargent, Annie Cabbot, begin to untangle the relationships of old and in a beautiful recreation of that time of blackout lights and Glenn Miller in the diary of a contemporary of the murder victim, the secret lives and lusts of the old village and its inhabitants. The two stories, the diary and the present investigation, flow contiguously and powerfully, drawing the reader along at a furious pace. The clues a subtle and the ending somewhat of a surprise.
Bank's marriage has fallen apart and as he struggles with the changes in his life and those of his children, Robinson presents a very credible sub plot. The falling into bed with Annie and the resulting shift in their perceptions of each other is brilliantly written and quite believable. The last book I read nearly this good was also by Peter Robinson. Highly recommended to all mystery fans.
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5.0 out of 5 stars An Excellent Mystery March 10 2002
Format:Mass Market Paperback
A village that has been flooded to create a reservoir is uncovered during a particularly dry summer. While exploring, a boy discovers a human skeleton that, in all likelihood had been put there over 50 years ago. Was the person murdered or was it an accident? Will it be possible to solve such an old case?
The man chosen for the job is DI Alan Banks. He's been out of favour with his superiors, prompting his selection for what sees to be a hopeless, dead-end job. But, through determination, perseverance and help from local sergeant, Annie Cabbot, he makes slow progress.
Peter Robinson alternates between the present and the past in an effective narration of the story. By doing this, we are treated to both the lead up and the aftermath of a time surround by turmoil. As Inspector Banks uncovers clues and chases up leads, we are taken back to when it all took place and get to witness every detail first hand. It really is a technique that works extraordinarily well.
As far as police procedurals go, this ranks very highly with pieces of the puzzle revealing a more and more tragic story, leading right up to the consequences played out in the climactic present-day scenes. This is definitely a book to put on your must-read list, particularly if you are a fan of well-constructed mysteries.
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4.0 out of 5 stars I am really surprised and impressed by this novel July 16 2001
Format:Mass Market Paperback
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.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Could easily have been a 5!!!! June 19 2001
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Having just read (and thoroughly enjoyed) "Wednesday's Child", I moved on to this book with keen anticipation. Overall, I was most impressed. The story is really an interesting combination of events during the second world war and its aftermath with the present day. It worked extremely well, as the author has the almost unique skill of being able to write in two completely different styles within the same storyline. The first is the everyday police procedural style; the second is the more "prosy" style of a middle aged woman looking retrospectively at events of more than 20 years ago. It works.
My only disappointment was the fact that, like others who have reviewed the book, I guessed very early on "who had done it". The enjoyment for me, therefore, was not in the denouement itself, but rather than in the construction of a very complex storyline built upon the foundations of a known character, Alan Banks.
I would recommend this book most strongly to people who enjoy Ruth Rendell and P D James. Any suggestion that Elizabeth George is in the same league as either of these two authors or Peter Robinson is a complete mystery to me as I found "In Puruit of the Proper Sinner" wooden with extremely convoluted dialogue. But then again, that is only my opinion.
I am just grateful that I have many Peter Robinson novels still to read as they will give me many happy hours in the days ahead.
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Most recent customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Didn't want it to end!
I loved this book and even took to reading it during the adverts on tv. It was quite sad when I got to the end but there are plenty more.
Published 20 months ago by valerie holmes
5.0 out of 5 stars Peter Robinson at his best
Mystery set in wartime Yorkshire. Setting and characterization very realistic. Bought it for American friend. No hesitation in recommending it. Read more
Published on May 20 2012 by smokey
3.0 out of 5 stars Less is More
I enjoyed the first half of this book and thought that perhaps it was in a different category from the others in the series, as the reviews suggested. Read more
Published on July 1 2001 by MrsMorland
3.0 out of 5 stars Add some water please
The descripton on the back of this book led me to believe that it was going to be a very exciting and captavating book. Read more
Published on April 1 2001 by M. VanKempen
5.0 out of 5 stars As usual, the British write an excellent mystery!
This book had been recommended to me, and this was the first time that I had read anything by this particular author. Read more
Published on March 18 2001 by K. L Sadler
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent story.
Excellent story. Interesting characters. I really enjoyed this book.
Published on Jan. 2 2001
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent novel as well as a mystery
This book was terrific. I never read an Inspector Banks book before this, and I was concerned about picking up a series in the middle without any knowledge of the cast of regulars. Read more
Published on Jan. 1 2001 by Model Citizen
4.0 out of 5 stars Evocative WW II Puzzler
This is my first Inspector Banks novel, and I liked it very much. Banks' live is rather a mess as he tries to work through the end of a long marriage, father and son disagreements... Read more
Published on Oct. 2 2000 by Ms. Nancy F. Jones
5.0 out of 5 stars Robinson just gets better...
I've enjoyed reading the entire Banks series and, for sheer storytelling, this is his best. Robinson does not write nail-biting mysteries. Read more
Published on Sept. 29 2000 by Kathy Cole
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