The Hanging Valley by Peter Robinson

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The Hanging Valley by Peter Robinson

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Category: Crime
Rating: 4/5
Reviewer: Sue Magee
Reviewed by Sue Magee
Summary: The fourth book in the Inspector Banks series moves from North Yorkshire to Toronto and back. The series is still fresh and each novel can be read as a standalone although there is some small benefit to reading them chronologically. Recommended
Buy? Yes Borrow? Yes
Pages: 464 Date: November 2002
Publisher: Pan
ISBN: 978-0330491648

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A faceless corpse was found in a tranquil valley in Swainsdale. It was a hanging valley – one which emerges in the side of a larger valley – and not easy to get to. When Chief Inspector Banks arrives in the village of Swainshead he finds that people are reluctant to talk about what might have happened. It's more than just the dislike of talking to the police and rather that people seem to have a rough idea of what's been happening and don't want to become involved. Even stranger is the fact that there was a murder in the village some five years previously and when Banks discovers the identity of the most recent body it's difficult to assume that there isn't some connection between the two deaths.

There's a hierarchy in the village and the Colliers – two brothers – are at the head of it, with people lower down doing their best to curry favour. Even Sam Greenock, who runs the guest house with his wife and who moved to the village from Leeds can be seen running across to the Collier house when there's an piece of information to share. It's a closed community but the solution to the mystery is going to mean that Alan Banks has to travel to Toronto to find out what he needs to know.

This is the fourth book in the Inspector Banks series and there's a real feeling that it's getting into its stride. Banks comes off the page fully fleshed and we're getting to know the team. It does help to read the books in chronological order, but only so that a few phrases will make more sense. There are no obvious plot spoilers and they all read well as standalone books.

There's a real feeling for place in the books too. The actual locations might be fictional, but if you know this part of Yorkshire you'll feel that you could walk alongside Banks. Toronto was a bonus – but that's where Robinson now lives and the city provided a wonderful contrast to rural Yorkshire.

I love a book when you're reaching for the next in the series as soon as you finish it. Take a few on holiday with you or indulge yourself over the winter. If you enjoy police procedurals you'll not regret it.

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

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Buy The Hanging Valley by Peter Robinson at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy The Hanging Valley by Peter Robinson at

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


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