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18 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "What the hell was it about the music that bothered him? Why did it have to mean something?"
With this novel in the Inspector Banks series, Robinson has taken his work to the next level. His magnificent ability to use everyday situations in his plots, to provide insights regarding the motivations of his characters, and his cleverly-crafted mysteries are complemented with a deeper look at the main characters. This last element is the one that does the trick for me...
Published on 11 Oct 2007 by Sebastian Fernandez

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3.0 out of 5 stars Reasonable
I like Peter Robinson as an author - he deals with lots of different issues and includes lots of cultural cues within his work. Not one of his best to be honest in that the plot was pretty predictable in the end. There are certainly better Banks Mysteries!
Published 6 months ago by Paul Mawdesley


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18 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "What the hell was it about the music that bothered him? Why did it have to mean something?", 11 Oct 2007
By 
Sebastian Fernandez (Tampa, Florida United States) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
With this novel in the Inspector Banks series, Robinson has taken his work to the next level. His magnificent ability to use everyday situations in his plots, to provide insights regarding the motivations of his characters, and his cleverly-crafted mysteries are complemented with a deeper look at the main characters. This last element is the one that does the trick for me and lifts this effort from very good to excellent.

Inspector Banks has to find Caroline's killer, which is not an easy task, especially due to the number of people that had both opportunity and motive for committing the crime. The fact that she was living as a life-partner with another woman, who is not yet divorced, complicates matters and allows for some very interesting insights into the prejudices of some of the characters involved. When you add a piece of music playing repeatedly at the crime scene, which seems to have a clear symbolism, the elements are set for a compelling mystery.

This novel has all the characteristics that have made this author one of my favorites in the genre, but it goes even beyond that. This is the first time I see several passages with some fine humor, which works very well to provide the story with variety and to lighten the mood. Since before this work Robinson has been compared repeatedly with P. D. James, he just could not refrain himself and I almost started to laugh out loud when Banks thinks to himself: "I'm getting just like that Dalgliesh fellow..."

Robinson also makes great strides in terms of the development of the main characters, giving them even more depth. Not only we get a glimpse of some of Banks' reasons for leaving London and settling on the countryside, but there is considerably more material dealing with the personal relationship among the characters than there was in the previous novel, "The Hanging Valley". Another aspect that helps is the inclusion of a new character. Susan, a new constable that has just joined the Eastvale team, possesses a complex personality and a few prejudices that allow for some enlightening contrasts with Banks. She reminds me a little of Sergeant Barbara Havers, the beloved character in the series by Elizabeth George.

There is no question in my mind, this is the best book in the series so far and I recommend it wholeheartedly.
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35 of 38 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A proper whodunnit, 20 Jan 2004
By A Customer
The last few crime novels I've read - before this one - have been lacklustre, badly thought-out, over-commercial affairs. Things had got so bad that I was beginning to despair of the genre as a whole. So it was a real joy to find this book: well thought-out plot, well written, good dialogue, believable and interesting characterisation (well, pretty much, a little over-heated in places maybe) and an excellent sense of place and season. My only quibble was a rather melodramatic ending. This was the first time I'd read a book by Peter Robinson and I'm glad to have found him. I'll certainly try his other books. If (like me) you like Henning Mankell's and Ian Rankin's books, this is ideal Sunday afternoon reading - entertaining and intelligent.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Spine Chilling, 22 Mar 2007
By 
J. Chippindale (England) - See all my reviews
(TOP 1000 REVIEWER)   
Peter Robinson grew up in Yorkshire, and is the author of thirteen previous novels featuring Inspector Banks. He is the winner of numerous awards in the United States, Britain and Canada, and in 2002 he won the CWA Dagger in the Library. As I also come from Leeds the background to his stories is something that I have experienced first hand and because of this I have a special affection for his books. However they would be first class crime fiction wherever they were based. This particular novel is one of the author's earlier books in the series.

The scene looks like a typical Christmas in many households, a log fire, sheepskin rug, lights twinkling on the tree, the all is not as it seems. Caroline Hartley, the attractive woman lying on the couch is dead, brutally murdered. Inspector Banks is allocated the case and he soon has more suspects than he can handle. As he looks into Caroline's past he realises that secrecy was a way of life and her death is no different . . .
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic Once again from Robinson, 2 Aug 2006
By 
H. L. Nielsen "Palaceclock" (Hertfordshire) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This book really was fantastic. I could hardly bear to put it down. As with all the Inspector Banks novels, Robinson keeps you guessing right to the end, throwing in a few twists and turns along the way just for good measure. Real page turner, this is the best in the series so far. I'm working through them in order, and am enjoying every single moment of it. Banks is definitely the best detective series on the market at the moment.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars More like Morse than ever!!, 14 May 2011
By 
Jane Baker "jan-bookcase" (Somerset) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)   
Banks loves music and a drink but he's not as erudite as Morse but I couldn't help feeling throughout this book that they'd get along just fine, enjoy the same cases. This was a bit dated - 1991 - and social mores have moved on thankfully so a story based around the murder of a lesbian and some social comments around the issue didn't quite ring true. My fault - I should have read it a long time ago. It was a comforting read for the past few windy afternoons when it was a joy to see Banks go home to Sandra and all was good in their world. Where there's an AD society there will always be friction - that's what I've found anyway - then throw in abuse, a child given to adoption, a number of people of both gender attracted to Caroline Hartley and you have a good mix for murder. Most enjoyable.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great bedtime read, 27 Mar 2010
This is the first of Peter Robinson's novels that I've read although I have listened to several in audiobook format. I was engaged from the start and found the characters interesting and the plot intriguing. I did guess the plot by about page 300 but it didn't spoil the book for me because it was a good twist and one I hadn't seen coming up until then.

It wasn't an "unputdownable" novel, but I did anticipate it as bedtime reading with a high degree of relish.

The only thing I disliked about the book is Banks persistent smoking. It seems as if there is a reference to him lighting up a cigarette on most pages and it gets tiresome.

Susan Gay is a likeable character as indeed is Banks himself.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Banks goes to Europe, 15 April 2014
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This review is from: Past Reason Hated: An Inspector Banks Mystery (Kindle Edition)
The plot is complicated and needs attention. There is little of the combination of Annie and Banks but she has just returned from being injured. The story is somewhat slow but has to be followed through. It takes Banks to Estonia and the author has obviously been there so there are detailed descriptions of all sites as is usual with Robinson. for the who-dun-it fan, it is well worth reading.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Another cracker from Robinson, 23 Mar 2014
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This review is from: Past Reason Hated: An Inspector Banks Mystery (Kindle Edition)
Once again Robinson has painted so many true to life characters, this time there is definitely no shortage of suspects with strong motives. I like the new DC on the team, Susan, who, with her different ideas( I hesitate to call them prejudices ) she promises to add even more zest to future Banks stories.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant, 18 Mar 2014
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Another great book from Peter Robinson. Its gripping right from the start and doesn't fail to satisfy - highly recommend.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Christmas In Eastvale., 23 Feb 2014
By 
pphillips (Leeds England) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Past Reason Hated: An Inspector Banks Mystery (Kindle Edition)
Past Reason Hated is the fifth Peter Robinson book to feature his detective Alan Banks and is overall a satisfying read.

In this book Alan and his team are faced with the task of discovering the killer of a local woman, Caroline Hartley, who was stabbed to death in her own home on a cold Christmas night. To add to the confusion the killer also lays Caroline out in a pose as if she is sleeping and leaves a record playing in the background, Banks is convinced the record is of great importance but the rest of the team are less convinced and soon the team are running out of suspects as the killer appears to slipping through the net.

Set around Christmas Robinson paints wonderful images of a Yorkshire village covered in snow and as is normal in a Banks book the setting becomes a key part of the book as Robinson creates a picture perfect background for the action contained in the book. Robinson also rearranges his cast in this book, Susan Gay promoted into the CID team and she adds a lot to this book. Indeed Susan takes up a good deal of the narrative in this book and in my opinion that is a positive and I look forward to her growing in the upcoming books.

All in all I found this an enjoyable book. The story and plot was very well put together and despite dragging a little in the middle I would recommend this book.
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