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The Hanging Valley [Mass Market Paperback]

Peter Robinson
2.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
List Price: CDN$ 9.99
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Book Description

Sept. 12 2002 Inspector Banks Novels (Book 4)

No one dreamed something so hideous could grow in so beautiful a place . . .

Many who visit the valley are overwhelmed by its majesty. Some wish they never had to leave. One didn't, a hiker whose decomposing corpse is discovered by an unsuspecting tourist. But this strange, incomprehensible murder is only the edge of the darkness that hovers over a small rural village and its tight-lipped residents who guard shattering secrets of sordid pasts and private shames. Detective Chief Inspector Alan Banks knows that both the grim truth and a cold-blooded killer are hiding here, far from the city, the noise, and safety. And he's determined to walk into the valley of death to expose them both.


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Product Description

From Publishers Weekly

A rotting corpse in the Yorkshire Dales brings Chief Inspector Alan Banks to the insular village of Swainshead in the latest of Robinson's ( Gallows View ) justly acclaimed series of procedurals. Aided by a receipt found in the trousers pocket of the murder victim, Banks identifies him as Bernard Allen, a local youth on a visit home from Canada. The investigation leads back five years to the unsolved murder of a PI hunting for a young girl's killer and the nearly simultaneous disappearance of a village woman. Evoking Ruth Rendell's Wexford setting and, like her, posing multiple solutions before the story's closing, Robinson lets Banks do much of his deducing with a pint glass in his hand--here inviting comparisons with Colin Dexter's Inspector Morse. Watching Banks down his beer is the pool of likeliest suspects, including two landowner brothers with sinister pasts, a pretentious B&B owner and his sexually repressed wife. Banks travels to Canada (on the trail of the missing woman) and moves through a maze of passion and possible blackmail before finding the solution in long-kept secrets. Robinson excels in the depiction of character, especially in his portrait of his pleasingly fallible copper. He is steadily ascending toward the pinnacles of crime fiction.
Copyright 1992 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

From Library Journal

Robinson renders a happy mixture of English village procedural and Canadian atmosphere. After failing to solve the murder of a wandering hiker near a Yorkshire village, Detective Chief Inspector Alan Banks flies to Toronto to question a key witness. The plot still revolves around several Yorkshire suspects, including an abusive social climber, a wealthy squire, an emotionally repressed innkeeper, and a bitter ex-husband--who all seem to have some secret in common. This solid, straightforward title is recommended for most fiction collections.
Copyright 1992 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

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Most helpful customer reviews
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
By A Customer
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Peter Robinson has turned into a first-rate mystery writer. But he certainly wasn't when he wrote this in 1989. No amount of gorgeous Yorkshire scenery can make up for an uninteresting cast of one-dimensional characters and an abrupt. out-of-left-field ending. Skip this atypical entry and read his later Inspector Banks books --they're first rate and well deserving of all the acclaim and slew of awards he's won. This isn't.
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Amazon.com: 3.9 out of 5 stars  33 reviews
15 of 16 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Robinson can do better! Feb. 9 2003
By PurpleKhads - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Mass Market Paperback
The fourth book in Robinson's Inspector Banks series finds DCI Banks investigating the discovery of a decomposing, maggot-ridden corpse near a little village in the Yorkshire countryside. A possible connection with past events comes to light - an unsolved murder and the simultaneous disappearance of a local woman 5 years ago.
On the trail of the killer, Banks finds himself frustrated by the reticence of the local villagers, and it is clear that they know much more than they are letting on. When all the evidence points towards a Canadian connection, Banks heads to Toronto, where he makes a number of startling discoveries. Banks returns to Yorkshire with the mystery mostly pieced together. Unfortunately, the novel ends rather unexpectedly and almost anti-climatically, with little sense of closure.
The novel features an unnecessarily large cast of mostly one-dimensional characters, at the expense of already established characters. We do see more of Banks' superior, Superintendent Gristhorpe, and the interaction between them is fascinating. Unfortunately, Banks' family is relegated to the background, and their rare appearances serve only as a reminder that Banks has a family, rather than showing any meaningful interaction.
What frustrated me more were the 80-odd pages that Robinson devotes to Banks' trip to Toronto. A Torontonian myself (as is Robinson), I typically enjoy books that are set in Toronto - in this case, unfortunately, it turned out to be a major turn off. Robinson goes into almost excruciating detail describing the highlights of the city - it almost seems that the only reason Banks goes to Toronto is to give Robinson a chance to wax poetical about the city!
Finally, after tolerating a slew of in-jokes and stereotypical "Canadian-isms", I was practically eyeing the book with distaste. I was greatly relieved when Banks returns to his native England ("the old country" as Robinson puts it countless times).
All in all, The Hanging Valley falls short of expectations. As part of the series, it is an interesting book to read. I'd recommend it only to those who are willing to read anything starring DCI Banks (or those who want a detailed description of Toronto!).
20 of 23 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Don't let this one lousy book put you off Robinson Oct. 19 2002
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Mass Market Paperback|Verified Purchase
Peter Robinson has turned into a first-rate mystery writer. But he certainly wasn't when he wrote this in 1989. No amount of gorgeous Yorkshire scenery can make up for an uninteresting cast of one-dimensional characters and an abrupt. out-of-left-field ending. Skip this atypical entry and read his later Inspector Banks books --they're first rate and well deserving of all the acclaim and slew of awards he's won. This isn't.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Not the Best Book in the Series Nov. 5 2012
By Asher Gabbay - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Mass Market Paperback
The fourth book in the Alan Banks series by Peter Robinson, "The Hanging Valley", was a disappointment for me. After enjoying the first three books in the series, I found this installment to be below the standards I have come to expect from Robinson.

The eponymous hanging valley is a beautiful place, favoured by hikers in Yorkshire. The beauty of the place is ruined when one of these hikers finds a decomposing body in the valley. Inspector Banks identifies the victim as Bernard Allen, an Englishman who moved to Canada and was in England for a home visit. To solve the crime Banks digs into the past, trying to unearth the motives that could bring about the death of a seemingly innocent man with no enemies. He feels there is a connection with an unsolved murder five years back.

Prime suspects are the Collier brothers, heirs to a local wealthy family who seem to be too chummy with a local B&B owner, Sam Greenock, a man well below their standing in society. Sam's troubled wife, Katie, is one of the main characters in the book and unwittingly throws Banks off the scent with her problems. Convinced he needs a broader perspective in order to get to the bottom of things, he convinces his boss to spend some money and send him to Canada to dig around. In Toronto he meets with Allen's ex-pat buddies and discovers the reason why Allen was killed. He rushes back to England to catch the killer.

If this is the first book you pick up in the Alan Banks series, don't let it put you off Peter Robinson. Read my other review of his books and leave "The Hanging Valley" for a rainy day.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Hated the ending April 21 2013
By Pam - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I love this series and like the author. Unfortunately, there really isn't a resolution to this episode. I thought perhaps the end of the book was missing so I found another copy. It's true, it just ends. I hoped there would be a resolution in the next in the series, but no luck. I only on number nine - Blood at the Root - so I hope Mr. Robinson will refer to what happened to the people in this edition.

Read them anyway!
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars One of the earlier Alan Banks novels...still quite worth your while April 1 2009
By Neal C. Reynolds - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Mass Market Paperback
I've read the two most recent books in this series and found this one to be the earliest that was available at my library.Although I missed the later members of the good inspector's investigative team, this is still a well told story. I especially enjoyed how the character of Katie Greenock, an unhappily married woman who was raised by a very strict and putitanly religioous grandmother is portrayed, and she does become a very important part of the puzzle with the information she's withholding. The second part of the book deals with Alan Banks' trip to Canada searching for a missing woman who also holds very important information pertaining to the recent murder being investigated and also to an earlier unsolved slaying which might be connected. Robinson keeps this trip from slowing things down by interspersing Banks' Canadian investigation with events going on in the English village.With only a small field of suspects, the revelation of the murderer isn't a great surprise. That of couse is a disappointment. Also, the ending is quite abrupt and shocking, especially if one hasn't been payng close attention to the stability or lack thereof two principle characters.Not the best that I've read but still quite worth your reading if you enjoy other books in the series.
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