Two murders, 36 years apart, turn out to be linked in the latest Inspector Banks case from Robinson (Strange Affair, 2005, etc.).
Cutting between parallel plots is a hallmark of Robinson’s work, but this time he so fully develops two murder cases that he effectively turns out two thrillers in one. The first murder occurs during a Yorkshire rock concert in 1969: A young woman, bearing multiple stab wounds, lies dead in a sleeping bag. The second murder occurs in the present: During a blackout, someone, using a poker, bashes in the head of a freelance journalist. The writer’s papers and computer are missing, leaving Banks guessing that the writer’s information and personal details explain the motive. Further clues are scant, save for a numerical code penciled into the flyleaf of a novel and some details offered by a young girl who had had a brief affair with the writer, much to her father’s disdain. Paternal ire also colors the earlier case as Detective Inspector Stanley Chadwick scours the rock group that performed at the concert and the friends of his rebellious daughter Yvonne for a suspect. Music, sex and drugs rive parent-child relationships on all fronts, though Banks, who’s had a run of bad luck lately, gets on better with his son than Chadwick, a bitter, melancholy man, does with his daughter. Intent on finding the killer, Chadwick puts a flake who attempted to rape his daughter in jail for the murder. Chadwick’s zeal was misguided, the sharp-eyed Banks realizes, once he discovers the connection between the two cases. Now Banks must set straight what happened in the past as he continues searching for answers to what took place in the present.
What is more satisfying than one solid Robinson mystery? Two solid Robinson mysteries, expertly entwined, offering twice the usual pleasures.