The quiet town of Eastvale in Yorkshire is rocked by an anti-nuclear demonstration that turns violent. A police constable named Edwin Gill is stabbed to death during the demonstration and Inspector Alan Banks is on the case. Unfortunately, his superior is not the supportive and sensible Superintendent Gristhorpe but "Dirty Dick" Burgess, a sadistic, chauvanistic, hard-drinking CID Superintendent who has a hatred for "commies" and hippie-types. Burgess roars into town and immediately starts threatening the locals, using his bullying style of interrogation to get results.
With Sandra and the kids out of town for a few weeks, Banks has plenty of time to follow a few leads of his own. Most of his suspicions are centered around a commune known as "Maggie's Farm," where some sixties-type people live together. One of the residents, Paul Boyd, is a particularly suspicious character, since he has a lengthy police record. Banks wants to find out if Officer Gill was murdered deliberately or if his killing was merely a random act of violence.
"A Necessary End" is not notable for being a scintillating mystery. The resolution of the story is a bit anti-climactic. What Robinson does well is develop character. From the brutal Dick Burgess to the gentle and loving Mara (who lives in the commune), each character comes alive as a result of Robinson's vivid descriptive writing and realistic dialogue. I recommend "A Necessary End". It is a well-paced novel that is also filled with colorful and authentic Yorkshire atmosphere.