Gallows View by Peter Robinson

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Gallows View by Peter Robinson

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Category: Crime
Rating: 4/5
Reviewer: Sue Magee
Reviewed by Sue Magee
Summary: The first book in the Chief Inspector Banks series makes for a good read in its own right. Recommended.
Buy? Yes Borrow? Yes
Pages: 464 Date: June 2002
Publisher: Pan
ISBN: 978-0330491594

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When you get a series which has been going for some time it’s often quite illuminating to go back and have a look at the earlier books. After finishing Ian Rankin’s Rebus books I was quite disappointed when I went back to read Knots and Crosses and realised that it wasn’t really all that good. How would Inspector Banks look more than twenty years after the first novel was published?

Chief Inspector Banks left London about six months before this first story begins, hoping for a quieter life in the Yorkshire Dales. Little does he realise that a fictional detective never has a quiet life and it’s not long before he’s grappling with the problems presented by a peeping Tom and some burglaries committed by a couple of young tearaways. He’s not certain if the burglaries have escalated into murder when an old woman is found dead in her home and her home ransacked. Looking for help he turns to a young psychologist and finds himself attracted to the woman, much against his better judgement – or wishes.

It’s a good story which put me in mind of the early Wexford novels by Ruth Rendell. There’s no artifice and no clever tricks – it’s simply a good story, well-told in language that people enjoy reading. There are plenty of twists in the story and I certainly didn’t expect the one at the end. There are signs that the craftsmanship will get better as time goes on, but there’s no feeling of having read a first attempt at the genre.

Banks is believable and refreshingly lacking in many of the characteristics common to other fictional detectives. He’s not a womaniser. He doesn’t have problems with authority. He enjoys a drink but isn’t a drunk. In short – he’s human and all the better for that. The book was first published in 1987 and I did wonder if it would seem dated but it didn’t. Mobile phones are unknown, of course and there’s so much smoking that you’ll wonder if you need a chest x-ray after reading the book but apart from those points it felt surprisingly fresh and was a good read.

For moe Yorkshire-based crime we can recommend the work of Stuart Pawson and Robert Barnard.

Peter Robinson's Chief Inspector Alan Banks Novels in Chronological Order

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Buy Gallows View by Peter Robinson at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Gallows View by Peter Robinson at


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