Monday, January 21, 2013

Investigating the Police

Watching the Dark (An Inspector Banks novel) by Peter Robinson (William Morrow hardcover, 8 January 2013).

The first Inspector Banks novel, Gallows View, was originally released in 1987, and the timeline of the books has followed the timeline of reality. 

Alan Banks has gone from a happily married detective living in a small town with his wife and two young children to a divorced Detective Chief Inspector living alone in a cottage on the moors.

Here, Banks is called in to investigate the murder of a fellow policeman, Detective Inspector Bill Quinn.  Quinn was recuperating at St. Peter's Police Treatment Centre, which happens to be located within Banks' jurisdiction. 

Quinn was walking in grounds of the Centre in the late evening, presumably indulging in a cigarette, when he was shot with an arrow from a crossbow. 

Since Quinn was a policeman, an officer from Professional Standards, Joanna Passero, is brought in to work with Banks on the case.  As when Annie Cabbot (now a member of Banks' team) shadowed him representing Professional Standards in Aftermath, Banks is not pleased about his temporary companion.

But they soon become aware of the possibility that Quinn might have been a crooked cop.  Although his superiors seem convinced that this is true, Banks is not, and does his best to prove he's right.

Peter Robinson is a master of Story, and with Watching the Dark he has created another well-constructed, engrossing mystery tale.  Banks has grown not only older, but more introspective over the years, and the reader shares his point of view for much of the novel. 

As one who's been reading the series since the very beginning, I can't say for certain that it's easy to jump in this far into the series.  Starting with this book, however, will take away the pleasure of experiencing Alan Banks' development as a detective and a person during the span of 25 years.

FTC full disclosure:  Many thanks to the publisher for a review copy of the book.  


  1. How intriguing that he's writing the series in parallel with real time. It gives readers an interesting comparative perspective. Thanks for another informative review.

  2. I love it when characters evolve over time. They don't need to match my aging process (which sometimes seems warp-speed), but somehow I'm bothered if they stay the same age with the same perspectives over a long span of time.

    Thanks for another interesting review, Marlyn.


Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.