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4.7 out of 5 stars183
4.7 out of 5 stars
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I had never heard of Peter Robinson until I saw the spec on Amazon. I believe without a shadow of a doubt that Mr Robinson is very understated and sadly unknown author. He is a literary genius in my books (Excuse the pun!) In A Dry Season is a fantastic tale of morals, sisterly love and devotion set throughout world war two. When I found out the book was in the shadow of the war, I thought I would easily become bored and disinterested. However, the similies, description and the intensity of feeling are as real as if you were actually there. The storline is involved and thoroughly believeale. A heartfelt and honest book which I could not put down. Peter Robinson should be very proud of himself and YOU SHOULD DEFINITELY BUY IT!!!
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on 31 January 2001
Robinson is a "new" author to me and I thoroughly enjoyed this murder mystery which reminded me of Barbara Vine/Ruth Rendell in its fidelity to character. Generally Robinson avoids plot contrivances. If I have a complaint it is with some of the single dimensional characters and although I like the two main protagonists Banks and Cabbot, and realise that they are destined to be attracted to each other (as the formula demands), it does happen a bit hastily. That said there are other interesting romantic tensions which keep the reader guessing almost as much as the murder enquiry which deals with a skeleton dating from 1944 whose identity they have to discover. The solution unfolds steadily from two angles (the present investigation and an old diary by one of the suspects) without any real shocks and, while there is a bit of a twist at the end, there is a predictable but satisfying denouement. The period detail is great, the procedural bits are convincing enough and there is some good dialogue. Enjoyable possibly because it is quite unmelodramatic and unlike the staple American stuff. If you like this I can recommend Barbara Vine's "Asta'a Book" or "River of Darkness" by Rennie Airth.
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on 28 August 2008
This was on someone's list with other books I've enjoyed and the initial interest for me was that it was about a flooded village as I knew of the Lady Bower Reservoir near Sheffield which is similar.

Within 3 pages I was engrossed. The dual timeline is nicely done as you get to know the characters more and the war aspect was interesting. It's nicely written and I've since bought more of his books. However, I have to agree with other reviewers that although the story was interesting, the references to the cd collection were tedious and I began to skip over them after the first few.

I also thought the ending was a bit strange and felt as if the writer must have had a few more pages to fill but maybe that's just me... Nonetheless, an enjoyable read.
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on 13 January 2002
Re : IN A DRY SEASON by Peter Robinson...
'In a dry season' is probably the most involving novel I have read since 'Black Dog' by Stephen Booth. The characterisation totally enchanting and the plot just sucks you in, but at all times there is this subtle menace, just shimmering on the surface, like the petroleum rainbow on a greasy puddle.
This is my first Inspector Alan Banks novel, and will not be my last, as I have just picked up 'COLD IS THE GRAVE' and then I must read 'AFTERMATH', so please forgive me if some of the back-story on Banks is somewhat fuzzy. Alan Banks is a wonderful character, middle aged angst and cynicism, and just enough lack of respect for authority that makes a great series character. Separated, starting a new life with a real tosspot of a boss ACC Jimmy Riddle, Alan Banks is given a blind-alley of a case, the investigation of a skeleton found in a drained reservoir. The skeleton dates from WW2, and an involving case (partially told in first person by one of the protagonists).
From here the story is woven like a fabric carpet, between Banks's life and the investigation vis-a-vis the story of the Skeleton from the past.
Wonderful, Wonderful and totally bewitching, with an ending that just zaps you totally. I read this book slowly firstly as I was/am still suffering from this head-cold, but also to savour Robinson's mastery of the English language. I had figured all the possible endings, and was not surprised at the close, but more amazed at how he pulled it off so deftly.
The real mystery is how I had not discovered Inspector Banks before !
Well done Mr Robinson...
I can not recommend this book highly enough, world-class and extremely moving with something to say about the human condition and relationships.
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on 23 January 2007
Having read 7 or 8 of Robinson's Inspector banks series, all are well-written and have kept me gripped with interesting plots and finely delineated characters, both men and women. This one excels in the interweaving of past and present, both thoroughly convincing, and lingers afterwards with much food for thought.
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on 30 March 2010
The inspector banks novels are getting better . The prinicpal character gains more depth . New supporting characters are introduced. His marital situation deteriorates but does not get in theway of the plot. I loved the story the only reason this does not get five stars i guessed the killer. I hope this does not happen again. Looking forward to the next one
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VINE VOICEon 8 August 2009
I had not heard of Peter Robinson or his Inspector Banks before I was introduced to him by someone in a bookshop. So this was my opening to what I hope will be a very rich seam of books and a new relationship with author and inspector. I was barely able to put this down. From the start I was rapt. There is so much in this book to admire - meaty characters, the grimness of war, family secrets and a touch of love. Banks is reluctantly separated from Sandra,having problems with his son, meets Annie, re-meets Jenny from the past and at the same time has an old murder on his hands and a battle of wills with his senior, the unloveable Riddles. I don't know the area of which Robinson writes but no matter. He brings it alive and takes the reader with him. There are many very descriptive scenes of the countryside and long moments of reflection from Banks. Enthralling. The story through the eyes of Vivien Emsley is sharp, focussed, very different and original. I aready have the next Banks mystery to read.
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on 23 June 2008
This is my first Robinson mystery, and I really enjoyed it. Being an American, I was interested in all the details about the Dales and WWII in Britain. The mystery part of the story really held my interest, but Det. Banks's problems with his wife and son and his CD collection did not. But it is easy enough to skip over those parts. I'd certainly read another of his mysteries.
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on 28 September 2004
Having read quite a few of the D I Banks-books, I still think this is the best. Banks has to solve a murder that took place more than forty years ago, with all it's complications and difficulties.
I was truly intrigued by the book, far more than just a crime novel, it's also a brilliant contemporary document on wartime life in Britain.
The outlay of the book is a masterpiece, mixing Banks's life and the ongoing investigation with the narrative of a person, long unknown to the reader. The story she tells is one of growing up, brought up a shy, almost asexual person, she slowly awakens to adulthood under the influence of the beautiful, secretive young woman who suddenly just appears in the village and soon becomes the object of so much desire and hatred, the person around which the lives of her new family and their friends seem to revolve.
The end of the story is long left to the reader's own thoughts and suspicions and although I wasn't too surprised by the solution, it was a plausible and brilliantly mastered plot.
The somewhat action-based ending was unnecessary, but didn't spoil the book from being one of the best, if not "The Best" crime story I have ever read.
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on 27 March 1999
He already thought that he had sunk to the bottom after his marriage ended and he was relegated to desk duty due to one insubordination too many. So when his superior assigns him to investigate human remains found in the remote Thornfield Reservoir, Detective Chief Inspector Alan Banks jumps on the case.
Even before he travels to the reservoir, Alan knows that the extra dry season led to the bones being discovered as the water no longer covered them. The forensic crowd determine that the victim is Gloria Shackleton, a Land Girl who worked in the village of Hobb's End during World War II. Just after the war, a reservoir was built on the site of the village. Though someone murdered Gloria five decades ago, Alan investigates the crime as if it happened yesterday.
IN A DRY SEASON, the tenth Inspector Banks police procedural, may be the best tale in the highly regarded series. The story line is filled with details from the past and the present that cleverly intertwine into a wonderful investigation. Alan's marital and job problems provide much insight into his character. The support cast, especially the deceased's sister-in-law, augments the plot with much depth from two eras. There may be a drought in Yorkshire, but there is no literary one as long as Peter Robinson continues to provide readers with novels that the audience can bank on as being superb.

Harriet Klausner
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