Friend of the Devil by Peter Robinson

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Friend of the Devil by Peter Robinson

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Category: Crime
Rating: 3.5/5
Reviewer: Sue Magee
Reviewed by Sue Magee
Summary: The seventeenth book in the Inspector Banks series shows the first signs of tiredness with the reusing of two old stories. It's a good tale but coincidence is stretched a little too far and there's an obvious failure early on in the police investigation. Cautiously recommended.
Buy? Maybe Borrow? Yes
Pages: 528 Date: April 2008
Publisher: Hodder
ISBN: 978-0340836910

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The area was known as the Maze with its winding passageways and ginnels and it was in here that the victim was found. She was nineteen years old – about the same age as Banks' own daughter – and she'd been brutally raped and murdered. There was no shortage of suspects, from the crowd she went clubbing with, through the old men who had ogled her in the pub to the lecturer at the local college, but Banks was without Annie Cabbot who's on loan to Eastern Area and who has troubles of her own.

Annie is investigating the cold-blooded murder of a woman in a wheelchair. The woman was quadriplegic and couldn't move or communicate in any way. What threat was she to anyone and why did someone want so badly to see her dead? There's not so much an excess of suspects here as a complete lack of them – along with any idea of why someone had gone to so much trouble.

As with all the Inspector Banks books it's perfectly possible to read each of them as a stand-alone novel but some do contain major spoilers for earlier books in the series. That's particularly the case with Friend of the Devil which harks back to Aftermath and to a book not in the Inspector Banks series – Caedmon's Song. If you're intending to read either of these books then you'd best do it before you read Friend of the Devil or your enjoyment of the books will be seriously reduced.

It's a good story – or even two stories – but there is a slight feeling of tiredness about it with the dredging up of old stories and the sense that coincidence has been stretched just a little too far. There was also a point when I saw an obvious line of enquiry that the police should have followed, but didn't and a simple visual check which would have told them what they needed to know. We've had a very long run of spectacular Inspector Banks novels, but I fear that we might well have seen the best of them.

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

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