Peter Robinson is an English-born Canadian mystery writer whose work has been popular on both sides of the Atlantic. His novels featuring Yorkshire policeman Alan Banks include Gallow's View, Wednesday's Child, Blood at the Root, and, most recently, In a Dry Season. Like many of the genre's most accomplished practitioners, he is also an excellent short story writer, and, thanks to the special mission of the small Norfolk, Virginia, publishing house, Crippen & Landru, nearly all of Robinson's story output to date has been collected in this splendidly readable, highly intelligent volume of 13 tales. Not Safe After Dark contains three Inspector Banks stories that, like the longer works featuring that character, are contemporary plots with that Golden Age feel so cherished by many readers. There is also Robinson's first private-eye story, "Some Land in Florida," and his first historically set tale, "The Two Ladies of Rose Cottage" (inspired, he says, by his interest in Thomas Hardy), which was good enough to be selected for the prestigious annual volume of The Best American Mystery Stories.
One of the features that most interested me about this collection is how comfortable Robinson is in the different settings he selects. Whether it's the British Midlands or the condo coasts of Florida, Peter Robinson is such a keen observer of human nature that he keeps readers satisfied wherever he takes them. It is worth noting that in "Some Land in Florida," his private investigator, Jack Erwin, is given to sitting under the palm trees, smoking a cigar, nursing a whiskey and reading Robertson Davies! --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.
The hero of Robinson's novels (Wednesday's Child, etc.), Yorkshire Chief Inspector Alan Banks, appears in three of this collection's 13 stories, and one of the 13, "Innocence," won the Canadian Crime Writers Award for best short story. That tale displays well Robinson's gift for turning a familiar plot inside-out as strange circumstances overwhelm his characters. A man waits outside a school to meet a teacher friend, draws the suspicion of parents and finds himself charged with the murder of a schoolgirl. What happens after his trial is shocking but, in Robinson's hands, perfectly believable. There's a similar twist in the title story, wherein an out-of-town visitor ventures nervously into an urban park often described as unsafe at night. There's danger, all right, but not what the reader expects. In "Fan Mail," a mystery novelist agrees to advise a Walter Mitty-like husband on innovative ways to murder his wife; an old secret leads to a perverse result. The plots of the stories are mostly solid and the characters are always vivid. U.S. readers may particularly enjoy Robinson's take on his fellow Canadians coping with Florida and southern California.
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.