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VINE VOICEon 11 March 2004
"A dedicated man" is the second of the Inspector Banks novels by Peter Robinson.
The book follows the investigation into the murder of Harry Steadman, an historian, who apparently had no enemies.
I am not usually a fan of thrillers of less than 300 pages as they are often either rushed or lacking in detail. The same cannot be said for this excellent book. The pacing is perfect, and the plot twists back and forth as the investigation of the crime centres on five people who had known Harry for some time. The author skillfully leads you round the houses and from one suspect to the next until pulling the answers out at the end like a rabbit from a magician's hat.
In my opinion, what sets Peter Robinson above the bulk of thriller writers is the believability of his characters. Robinson does not populate his books with larger-than-life characters, but rather with ordinary people, with ordinary jobs and ordinary lives, who commit crimes for motives which can be understood and even empathised with. In this respect, Peter Robinson is rivaled only by Ian Rankin's Inspector Rebus series.
Another excellent aspect of Robinson's writing is his description of the area in which his books are set. He vividly conjures mental images of the Yorkshire dales which even those who haven't seen "All creatures great and small" or visited the area would be able to envisage. Once again, comparison's to Rankin's descriptions of Edinburgh and Glasgow are inevitable.
This book carries on where the excellent "Gallows view" left off, and left me itching to read the third book in the series. I am at a total loss to find any areas which could have been improved.
For fans of great detective fiction, this book and it's predecessor are a must-read.
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on 10 December 2001
This was my first exposure to the Chief Inspector Banks series. I became hooked immediately; enough so that I purchased all the books in the series and am reading through them one-by-one in chronological order.
Chief Inspector Banks ranks among the best in terms of his ability to solve a crime. Yet there is a softer side to him that has been developed fantastically. I think some review of the Banks series said that you are left wondering what the characters are up to long after you finished the book. How true! I often wonder what Banks is up to, how his family relationships are going, what Sgts. Hatchley and Gay have been doing lately, and so on.
I thoroughly praise and thank Peter Robinson for giving us Chief Inspector Banks. Though somewhat different in style, if you enjoy the Chief Inspector Morse series, you'll love the Banks series. A Dedicated Man would be an excellent introduction to a fantastic series!
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on 26 September 2003
I really enjoyed this book. It is a liitle better than his first book, Gallows End, and I would mention four aspects in support of this view:
First, I found the characters more intruiging, especially the attractive ex hippie Penny Cartright and her father. Secondly the plotting was more skillful with plenty of twists and turns which left me suspecting everyone at some point during the book. Thirdly, the Yorkshire Dales backdrop is more evocatively woven into the story and fourthly the ending is very clever and not one I had imagined.
Robinson's books are excellent and some of his more recent efforts, such as In A Dry Season and Aftermath are also worth looking out for. Only John Harvey comes close to conjouring up such an evocative and tense atmosphere. Highly Recommended.
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Harry Steadman is found dead under a partly collapsed dry stone wall. This isn't just an unfortunate accident as it first appears to be but murder as he was dead before he was partly buried by the wall. But no one has a bad word to say about him so why was he murdered and who by? DCI Alan Banks naturally starts with his nearest and dearest and his close circle of friends but nothing obvious comes to light and everyone seems to have had an alibi anyway.

Gradually as Banks and his team keep asking questions a complex web of relationships in uncovered which may have a lot more hidden tensions than it at first appears to have. What about a teenager who may know more than she thinks she does and is it wise for her to start investigating on her own?

This is a complex story with a well constructed plot and some excellent writing and likeable characters. The Yorkshire fell background is well realised too. This series is definitely growing on me. I like Banks himself as a character with his tendency to find himself attracted to female witnesses and his liking for classical music. I don't think that the series necessarily needs to be read in order of publication and this novel could definitely have been read as a standalone story.
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on 3 November 2011
I have read books from later in the `Alan Banks' series, so I already know what happens to the character in his personal life, although this does not detract in any way from my enjoyment in back-tracking a little, in this, the second book in the series.

Peter Robinson is still establishing the character and his family, fleshing them out, to give them a life of their own. They are becoming totally believable, not too exuberant or larger than life, as they strive to fit into their new home and community in the Yorkshire dales, after the hustle and bustle of life in London.

Banks is coming to like his new found peace and quiet, mentally leaving the investigation for short periods, to share his random thoughts and to wax lyrical in his very vivid and real descriptions, of his adopted Yorkshire Dales.

Much of the investigation seems to take place in or around various public houses and involves quite a large intake of both alcohol and tobacco, with much of the time in between spent driving between remote locations in the Dales, to the accompaniment of his latest interest, folk music. I found this flawed side to his character quite endearing and in keeping with the whols ethos of this intimate community, although I did have more than a passing thought that the similarity of the character with that of Colin Dexter's character of `Morse', was quite uncanny in many instances, although of course Morse had his musical tastes firmly rooted in the Classical genre.

In fact, all of the characters in the story are well developed and believable, in their individual roles, within this tightknit community. Banks is still treated as something of an outsider, with the locals reluctant to talk to, or confide in him, despite the fact that everyone knows everyone else and everyone has an opinion to share. As is so often the case in smaller communities however, they are so busy minding everyone else's business, that they have been caught unawares and are blissfully ignorant about the identity of the murderer in their midst.

The plot isn't hurried along, which is a little unfortunate for Banks, who subsequently and very emotionally for him personally, has two crimes on his hands. We now get to go beyond that bluff exterior and see the softer side to his personality, as he strives to come to terms with his own shortcomings in the investigation, in this often reflective study of human nature.

Banks is a man of great tenacity in his ability to solve a crime, despite the many false leads and intricate sub-plots, that stand in his way and following his thought processes and powers of deduction was quite interesting, changing my mind about the identity of the person he was seeking out several times and keeping me guessing right until the end.

This book was nothing less than the quality of writing and levels of suspense, that I have come to expect from Peter Robinson and personally, I would highly recommend it, if you are in the market for a great crime fiction read.
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on 11 December 2002
A Dedicated Man is the second in Peter Robinson's Inspector Banks series which are now being reissued due to his growing popularity. If you haven't tried him yet I think you'll be amazed by how much Chief Inspector Alan Banks becomes a real character in your life. The mystery here is why "A Dedicated Man" would be murdered and Robinson skillfully weaves the tale by lining up his suspects.
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on 29 March 2013
A Dedicated Man is the second Peter Robinson book to include Alan Banks his Yorkshire based detective. Banks is now fully settled in Yorkshire and in this book he is chasing the killer of a local historian who seems to have been universally popular. Banks soon realises that the answer to this murder may lie in the past and begins to dig deeper into the past of the victim and his friends.

A Dedicated Man was a good read. Robinson is a master at painting the scene in his books and this book was very much set in Yorkshire. The descriptions of the Yorkshire Dales are a real highlight and provide a wonderful backdrop for the story. Sadly I found the story itself to be a little lacking this time around. The book is set at a very slow pace and the middle section seemed to drag a bit. Banks as a character is very likable and I look forward to reading the next book to see where Robinson takes him next.

I would recommend this book to people that are a fan of the crime genre. However I personally felt it was a step back from the first book Gallows View. It was in no way a poor book but the pacing was an issue for me.
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on 12 June 2016
When you've met Alan Banks in the first book of this series you want to know more about the man.thanks to the enthralling way of using words to compose a character of this man and to give more hindsight's into his emotions you keep turning page after page..very good and enjoyable reading. Thank you Peter Robinson!!
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Peter Robinson grew up in Yorkshire, and is the author of a number of 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.

The body of a well-liked and equally well respected local historian is found partially buried under of all things a drystone wall, close to the small village of Helmthorpe, Swaindale. Why would anyone want to murder a quiet unassuming man?

Funnily enough several people seem to be in the frame for the killing. Penney Cartwright, a folk singer with a somewhat murky past, a shady land developer and Harry's own editor, plus a local thriller writer. All of these characters play some part in Harry's past life. A life full of wonderful summers in the dale.

A young girl, Sally Lumb seems to know more than she is letting on and her knowledge could put her and others in danger. Inspector Banks is certainly going to have his work cut out with this case.
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on 13 August 2016
I prefer the earlier novels in the series. Annie's arrival later on means more time spent on interpersonal relationships and less on developing the detective aspects. However they are all good and they improve again when personal relationships and Annie's career get back on track .
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