In A Dry Season by Peter Robinson
|In A Dry Season by Peter Robinson|
|Reviewer: Sue Magee|
|Summary: The tenth book in the Inspector Banks series is one of the best and highly recommended.|
|Buy? Yes||Borrow? Yes|
|Pages: 464||Date: January 2001|
The valley had been dammed back in the nineteen fifties and as it filled with water it covered the abandoned village of Hobb's End. The church, the old flax mill and the cottages, some mostly demolished, sank beneath the waters of Thornfield Reservoir. About half a century later there was a blistering summer and the level of the water dropped, revealing the outlines of the remaining buildings. A young boy was playing on the rood of one cottage when he fell through and into the mud below and his hand found the hand of a skeleton. Chief Inspector Banks was out of favour but this was the first investigation he had been assigned for some time. It wasn't going to be easy though.
The remains were those of a woman in her twenties, but she'd lived, half a century ago in a place which no longer existed – and the other people who had lived there could be anywhere, or dead. They'd certainly be elderly. Whatever happened was likely to have happened during the war, a time of shifting relationships and with servicemen from the USA on the social horizon. Banks is going to get no support from his superior – he's challenged the system once too often – and he's been 'presented' with a DS who looks like she might have her own problems with authority.
A few weeks ago I was reminiscing with an author about the village of West End in the Yorkshire Dales, which was abandoned – including the church and the flax mill – when the village was flooded to form a reservoir. I remember playing in the village as a child and Robinson brings it off the page perfectly as he does all of this part of Yorkshire. The locations might be fictional but it's not difficult to see where the roots are.
It's a good story too with more layers than an onion and characters you can really believe in. The structure of the book is somewhat unusual, but it works and for me this is one of the best of the Inspector Banks novel. Highly recommended.
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