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4.5 out of 5 stars
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4.5 out of 5 stars
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on 22 November 2005
I think the Banks books have now got past the stage where you can say such and such a book is "better" or not. They deserve to be taken as a whole - in my opinion, as one of the great series of all detective fiction. Banks has grown, aged and become more serious and more complicated - and so have the puzzles he is faced with. I would recommend new readers not to start with this book - if you have the time, go back to the beginning with Gallows View and proceed from there. The plotting and characterisation in these books seem to me to outrank Ian Rankin and P.D.James - often claimed as reference points - and are well in advance of any other British writer within my experience. The only similarly compelling series I can think of is being produced by Michael Connelly with the Bosch canon, also highly recommended.
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on 29 April 2005
First of all I should like to warn prospective readers of this fine book that you should read some of his earlier books first because this novel will spoil the plots...
I really like the Banks books but this is rather naughty of Mr Robinson to be so indulgent with his other books. Not all of us read these books in the order they were published.
So I warn you read these two first:
Dead Right
and
A Dedicated Man
A couple of other points... it is getting a little tiresome having detectives whose family and friends are the subject of the crime.
This book deals with some pretty horrendous subjects so it is not for the squeamish. OK Banks has had some real baddies to deal with but this one is especially nasty.
Finally, why oh why have they not made Banks novels into TV dramas?
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And a very strange affair it is too. DCI Alan Banks gets home to find a message from his brother, Roy, saying that he must speak to him on a matter of life or death. The fact that Roy has phoned is strange enough because the brothers haven't ever seen eye to eye about anything but even stranger is the fact that he sounds frightened out of his wits. As Banks is on holiday he decides to travel down to London when he can't get through to Roy on the phone and find out what's going on. Then a young woman's body is found shot dead in her car on a country road with Banks' name and address in her pocket.

What follows is a frightening and complex trail of evil which covers many of the usual crimes together with a few you might not have thought of. I found it compelling and disturbing reading with some very plausible villains who will stop at nothing to get what they want. The book also raises some interesting and thought provoking questions about family loyalty and how far you can and should extend it. It presents some difficult problems for Banks himself when he is not really in a fit state to deal with them as he is still struggling with the aftermath of losing his home and all his possessions and almost his life when his home was burned down at the end of the previous book in the series.

Well written and complex with believable and likeable characters and some interesting motivations. The books in the series can be read in any order but it is interesting to see how Banks himself develops over the course of the books.
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on 21 June 2005
I have read all Inspector Banks books and I was truly afraid Peter Robinson had lost the "touch" with his last book, "Playing With Fire", witch I consider not to be one of his best. However, with "Strange Affair" he is back again better than ever and I will rate it among his best three along with "Past Reason Hated" and "Aftermath". The story is gripping and the theme is up to date. Once started I could not put the book down and finished it the same day - A real page turner!
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VINE VOICEon 18 August 2006
I've read a number of Peter Robinson books, and enjoy them as relaxation if finding them a little bit lightweight. In Strange Affair however, a story about Inspector Banks and his family - with the plot revolving around the disappearance of his brother - leads to deeper development of his character and I found it much more satisfying as a result.

If you have read other "Banks" novels you won't be disappointed, and if this is the first you pick up and you like a good crime story you should enjoy it - although you may be slighly irritated by the references to events from earlier in the series.

All in all, I would consider this one of the best that Robinson has produced.
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on 25 November 2015
Thoroughly enjoyable, as I've found all of Peter Robinson's books. His characters and the way in which they relate with one another, and, at times, struggle with their own lives, seem a fair reflection of reality. How often is it said: "I never realised that so-and-so was having such a hard time - they always seem so in control". It makes them all the more human and life can be a very tangled business.

Really must try and start from the beginning of the Banks series, as I've read various books which all happen at different stages, and it would be good to read them in sequence, though each of them is perfectly able to be read in isolation from the others, as the author refers to past events without labouring them, so it doesn't impinge on the current story line.
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on 9 December 2014
I've recently become a great fan of detective novels, and have read whole series ( Vera, the 'Dead...' series by Peter James, and have worked my way through the Banks series to this point. Trouble with doing this is, the literary tics of the authors can start to irritate. And I'm finding it so with Robinson. We realise that he has an extensive knowledge of classical music/jazz and so don't require evidence of it quite so regularly. His political bias is only too obvious. And if I read about one more dimpled copper topped table....I've read reviews of the next one in the series, and to be honest I don't think I can stand long lists of sixties groups and music ( something complained about in several of those reviews).But the lure of curiosity about Banks' development might prove too strong.
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on 24 May 2015
I like the Banks series by Peter Robinson and this is as good light reading as any. There are two errors that annoyed me this time though . One, he talks about a trip into Buckinghamshire on the M41. This planned west London motorway was never actually built: think he means the M40. Secondly, Banks discovers his brother was an Arsenal supporter and sneeringly puts Arsenal in the same bracket as Manchester United as football clubs that succeed by spending unlimited amounts of money. Say what you like about Arsenal but one of their distinguishing achievements has been spending far less than their close opponents over many years and still getting consistently good results. He needs to look at Chelsea and Man City!
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on 19 June 2016
Saw this on television, and managed to purchase the book after a long wait. This is one of the best Banks Mysteries there is. We read about Banks's brother, his parents, and on top of that, about A London driver who is found dead in her car. I won't add any spoilers, but I don't think Banks's fans will be disappointed with Robinson's plot.
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on 1 February 2005
This installment of the series opens with Inspector banks receving a mysterious phone call from his brother in London. Fearing something dreadfully wrong the inspector leaves for London to search out his brother. At the same time DI Annie Cook investigates the murder of a young woman found dead in a car on a quite country road on the outskirts of Eastvale. in the woman's pocket is a slip of paper with inspector Banks name written on it! Much of the story is two parrelle plots, Banks in London trying to figure out what became of his brother as he also discovers surprising revelations about his brother he never understood. At the same time Annie is investigating the death of the young woman. In the end the parralle plots meet in a cleverly terrifing way! Banks fans will not be dissapointed by this novel!
I also must recomend "A Tourist in the Yucatan" interesting thriller/mystery.
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