In a Dry Season Paperback – 2000
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About the Author
Peter Robinson grew up in Leeds, Yorkshire. He emigrated to Canada in 1974 and attended York University and the University of Windsor, where he was later Writer in Residence. He received the 1992 Arthur Ellis Award for Crime Fiction for Past Reason Hated, and was nominated for Dead Right. He was shortlisted for the John Creasey Award in Britain for his first Chief Inspector Banks mystery, Gallows View. Past Reason Hated also won the 1994 TORGI Talking Book of the Year Award for fiction. Wednesday's Child and In a Dry Season were nominated for Edgar Awards. Five additional Inspector Banks novels have all been published to critical acclaim. Peter Robinson is also the author of the psychological thriller, Caedmon's Song, and the LAPD police procedural No Cure For Love. He lives in Toronto. --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.
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Top Customer Reviews
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.
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.
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.
What takes this book beyond your run-of-the-mill mystery series is the fact that Banks is asked to solve a murder that took place at the end of World War II. The historical setting of rural England and London during wartime is fascinating -- London after the Blitz, wartime rationing, blackouts -- it's all described very carefully to provide a wonderful setting and atmosphere for the crime to unfold.
On top of that, Banks is a truly interesting lead character -- introspective and imperfect, I was happy to follow him through the course of the investigation, and as he tries to keep ahold of his crumbling career and his personal life. I look forward to going back to learn more about him in prior books, and then onward to his latest mystery, "Cold Is The Grave." The excerpt that appears at the end of the paperback version of "In a Dry Season" suggests that it won't disappoint!
In short, an excellent read, and a very well-written novel of characters you quickly care about. Highly recommended!
Most recent customer reviews
As "In a Dry Season" opens, a prolonged drought in Yorkshire has revealed the remains of a village that decades earlier had been flooded to make a reservoir, and in the... Read morePublished 5 months ago by Alison S. Coad
Inspector Banks series never fail to entertain and the plots are never predictable or boring.Published 6 months ago by nickie
I've read more gripping crime stories, but it's a good read when nothing else is going on. I wouldn't highly recommend it though.Published 10 months ago by Bleeper
It was a little hard to get into, but well written and I enjoyed the endingPublished 12 months ago by Patricia Coker
Loved this book! The past woven into the present seamlessly. Not too much foreshadowing, the killer was a surprise. The introduction of Annie to the cast is a welcome character. Read morePublished 19 months ago by A. Hill
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 on Jan. 15 2013 by valerie holmes
Mystery set in wartime Yorkshire. Setting and characterization very realistic. Bought it for American friend. No hesitation in recommending it. Read morePublished on May 20 2012 by smokey
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. Read morePublished on July 16 2001
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 morePublished on July 1 2001 by MrsMorland