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Innocent Graves [Mass Market Paperback]

Peter Robinson
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
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Book Description

March 11 2004 Inspector Banks Novels (Book 8)

The worst that can possibly happen . . . has.

A beautiful child is dead—defiled and murdered in a lonely graveyard on a fog-shrouded evening. It is the sort of horrific crime Chief Inspector Alan Banks fled the city to escape. But the slaying of a bright and lovely teenager from a wealthy, respected family is not the end of a nightmare. Lies, dark secrets, unholy accusations, and hints of sexual depravity swirl around this abomination like leaves in an autumn wind, leading to a shattering travesty of justice that will brutally divide a devastated community with suspicion and hatred. But Banks must remain vigilant in his hunt—because when the devil is left free to pursue his terrible calling, more blood will surely flow.

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From Amazon

The more Chief Inspector Alan Banks investigates the murder of a schoolgirl in a church graveyard the less he likes the whole sordid affair. The vicar at St. Mary's has been allegedly seeking sex from his sexton; the vicar's wife has been seeking solace in a bottle and the arms of a schoolteacher; and those in and around the church aren't keen on anybody who doesn't view matters as they do. And there happens to be a few suspects who meet that description. Banks investigates a murder and finds religious and societal affairs stickier than those in the normal mystery. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Publishers Weekly

Moving his ever dependable Yorkshire-based copper, Alan Banks (Final Account, 1995, etc.), to the periphery of this work, the equally dependable Robinson focuses instead on the tragic plight of a possibly innocent man charged with murder. In the process, Robinson adds another level of nuance to his already fully dimensioned fiction and takes a quantum leap as a writer. A schoolgirl is murdered on church ground. Her school bag is left open, and her clothes are disturbed. The local vicar is already embroiled in a sex scandal, and his adulterous wife is wandering drunkenly through the grounds when the body is found. Without a decent motive, but with a plethora of damning evidence, Banks is led to one Owen Pierce, a moody young schoolteacher. Pierce is revealed as a man with enough minor aberrations in his life to fashion a believable criminal. His smutty tastes in literature, photography and teenage women invite easy condemnation, and he is further burdened with a past lover who nurses a deep grievance against him. If Banks has occasionally appeared a shade too decent and placid in past works, this eighth appearance finds him with a new, sharper edge. Banks is still a kindly enough soul, but he knowingly occupies a world that has suddenly become more richly treacherous.
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

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Most helpful customer reviews
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Inspector Banks is a combination of routine boring police work and minor details to horrors that we do not want to think about.
As usual Peter Robinson keeps us glued to the book, oblivious to our surroundings.
Jack in Toronto, and no relation, or maybe I am.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 4.1 out of 5 stars  51 reviews
13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Banks Number Eight: Excellent March 23 2005
By snalen - Published on
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Well, here's the 8th Banks novel in which a teenage pupil at the posh local private girls' school is found strangled in a graveyard. Suspicion alights on a Croatian refugee, Ive Jelacic; but while Banks is busy investigating that and other leads, his colleagues DI Barry Stott and DS Jim Hatchley get on the scent of a suspicious stranger spotted in a nearby pub and a nearby restaurant around the time of the crime. They are soon led to Owen Pierce, a local college lecturer, and very soon Pierce finds himself arrested and charged with murder.

This books stands out among the Banks novels so far in the prominence it allows to a secondary character. So much so that Pierce, the character in question, isn't really secondary at all but becomes very much the centre of the book to at lest as great a degree as does Banks. And it's s much a courtroom drama as a detective story, a long and very effective section of the narrative being taken up with Pierce's trial, a section during which Banks himself fades into the background. Compared to its predecessors in the Banks series I thought it about the best so far and a significant raising of his game on the part of Robinson: dark and clever and very gripping.
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Inspector Banks is an apathetic cipher., but story is great May 13 2003
By "inthefoam2" - Published on
This novel takes life seriously and asks the reader to examine some of his beliefs and assumptions about the world and existence. Unlike almost every crime novel (Thomas Cook and M. Connelly excluded)I read, this story has depth and "meat on its bones." For example we see how the police and the justice system can drive an innocent party to commit a heinous crime, which was only committed because the police were so eager to bring someone, anyone to trial. Also, we meet several very real lpeople, struggling to make it in life. Robinson pulls no punches in his gritty (often ugly) depiction of police officers and the squalid atmosphere of a police station for someone accused of a crime. Robinson pulls few punches in this story. Two problems, one major: 1)Minor: The parents of the murdered girl simply disappear from the novel--they needed a fuller role as the novel progressed; 2)Major problem: Main character, Banks, is flat and boring. His responses to what is going on around him almost make me think that he is clinically depressed, but Robinson doesn't give the reader any help in understanding the "major" character in the novel. Also, I assume the author wants us to think that Banks is an intelligent detective, but his willingness to acquiesce in the quick arrest of a suspect based on rather flimsy evidence and the zealousness of a clearly neurotic (obsessive) officer under his command makes this reader think that Banks is both apathetic (doesn't care who is arrested)and a poor detective.
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Refreshing change from the everyday mystery! Nov. 4 2002
By HM - Published on
Format:Mass Market Paperback
This is the first book I have read from Robinson, and the only thing I regret is not finding this book sooner! This is an awesome novel by the extremely talented and humble Robinson. I must say, I truly enjoyed it for all it is worth. It is so deep, interesting, intelligant and inquesitive murder mystery. Never have I read a book that was so formally thought out. When you think you know who the killer is, there is always a twist and find myself questioning just how Peter Robinson will get himself put out of this theory, it alsmost seems impossible, but he always does. What guy. Pick up his books and read it people, honestly.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars "Are you saying you still don't think he did it, sir?" Jan. 18 2008
By Sebastian Fernandez - Published on
Format:Mass Market Paperback
If you are familiar with the Inspector Banks novels, get ready for a noticeable change in the usual flow of the story. There are several things that are different in "Innocent Graves", but the first one that comes to mind is that Inspector Banks has a less prominent role in the story. Or maybe I should refer to is as less "screen time". This happens because there is a significant portion of the story that covers the trial of the accused in the murder of a sixteen-year-old girl. Here Robinson shows once again that he is willing to take risks, and even though he did not write a legal thriller per se, he did take a step in that direction, with a result that was more than adequate.

There are a couple of new characters in Bank's team, and since one of them presents a striking contrast with the boisterous Hatchley, I liked the result of this experiment. Also, the usual elements that make Robinson's writing special are present, especially the conversation fragments that give us great insight into the minds of the characters. I felt that he was successful with the construction of the mystery too, even though he could have crafted the ending a little better, instead of just letting it resolve by itself and fall on the lap of the police.

My main gripe with this installment has to do with the little development we see in the sub-plot having to do with Banks and his family. In previous novels we witnessed how the inspector and his wife started having issues after their kids left the nest, and it would have been interesting to find out how this progressed. After all, one of the main reasons why I read series is because I like the character development from book to book and the elements outside the main plot. I hope that in the next novel Robinson rectifies this and delivers another outstanding work!
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Trusting evidence, not intuition, is tragic for Banks. Aug. 20 1996
By A Customer - Published on
Trusting the evidence and not his own instinct has tragic repercussions in the latest Inspector Banks mystery from Peter Robinson. When a schoolgirl, the daughter of a well-connected, recently titled gentleman, is killed, the evidence points to a loner with no apparent alibi. Though he questions the findings intuitively, Banks does not go with his gut. The repercussions of this decision are felt as far away as London. Robinson insight on the media feeding frenzy surrounding crimes such as this are right on target. His view of the police, while sympathetic, is often acerbic as well. Another wonderful read
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