Peter Robinson’s Inspector Banks series is one I’ve followed from with great delight and this 19th novel is no exception. One year at the mystery convention Bouchercon, I saw Robinson in the crowd and thought how much he resembled my mental image of his Detective Chief Inspector.
Recovering from a lousy love affair (those readers who follow the series might have seen that one coming), DCI Banks is away on holiday when a distraught former neighbor arrives at the police station asking to see him. His partner (and early love) Annie Cabbot is covering for him. The woman has found a loaded handgun in her daughter’s room. Under current English law, this is a punishable offense of up to five years for the girl, Erin. The neighbor has left her tearful and uncommunicative daughter at home with her husband.
The situation unfortunately quickly gets out of control at the house. It is immediately complicated when it comes to light that one of Erin’s roommates is Banks’ daughter Tracy, who was last seen going to warn off the gun’s owner, Erin’s boyfriend, Jaff.
Jaff is good-looking, sexy, and involved in dubious business; he has too much money and is too smart for his own good. Banks is summoned home early from his vacation due to Tracy’s disappearace, only to find out that Jaff’s boss is his former nemesis, George Fanthorpe.
Banks must race against Fanthorpe’s formidable backing to track down Tracy before Jaff can do her permanent harm. Did I mention there’s an almost-fatal shooting of one of his team? And that his new superior is still deciding how to handle Banks?
This is a series that never disappoints, as Robinson continues to grow his main characters and let them operate within the bounds of today’s criminal reality.
One aside, that I noted with great dismay. I’ve read Robinson’s prior novels, published variously through by the years by companies such as Macmillan and Hodder & Stoughton. All have been on quality paper, with readable print in size of 6.5 X 9.5. This last book is out of William Morrow, in a 5.75 X 8.5 size. The quality of the paper was thin, with a lesser lb. weight; the print smaller and more difficult to read. But the most distressing part for me was the number of typo’s and errors that were allowed to stand, an almost disdain for this fine author’s work. On the top of page 5, there is an extra space between two lines of a sentence! This lack of care speaks volumes to me about today’s traditional publishers and the reason so many writers are turning to indie and self-publishing. If I were Peter Robinson, I would be calling my agent immediately to find me a new publisher.