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Cold Is the Grave: An Inspector Banks Novel | [Peter Robinson]

Cold Is the Grave: An Inspector Banks Novel

The Inspector Banks novel In a Dry Season was a New York Times Notable Book of the Year and won an Anthony Award. Cold Is the Grave won the Crime Writers of Canada Arthur Ellis Award. It takes the aging, solitary inspector from his cozy Yorkshire cottage into the dark underworld of London. The assignment is a favor asked by Banks' boss and greatest enemy: Chief Constable Riddle.
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Publisher's Summary

The Inspector Banks novel In a Dry Season was a New York Times Notable Book of the Year and won an Anthony Award. Cold Is the Grave won the Crime Writers of Canada Arthur Ellis Award. It takes the aging, solitary inspector from his cozy Yorkshire cottage into the dark underworld of London. The assignment is a favor asked by Banks' boss and greatest enemy: Chief Constable Riddle.

Banks is to locate Emily, Riddle's teenaged daughter, who has run away to London. When he finds her, Banks forges an odd friendship with the wild rebellious girl. He is horrified, then, when she dies from strychnine-laced cocaine a few weeks later. As the troubled Inspector tries to find the killer in London's trendy club scene, he is nagged by a persistent suspicion that both Riddle and his wife may be withholding crucial information.

Cold Is the Grave paints a disturbing picture of people ensnared by webs of alienation, manipulation, and hidden agendas. Narrator Ron Keith perfectly captures the darkness of this world as well as Banks' yearning for meaning and connection.

©2000 Peter Robinson; (P)2002 Recorded Books, LLC

What the Critics Say

"[A] canny exploration of contemporary evil....A cunningly constructed plot, enhanced by Robinson's engaging descriptions and insights." (Booklist)
"Sharply nuanced pain, hard-won wisdom, and moral complexity everywhere...Mystery-mongering at once as sensitive and grandly scaled as P.D. James'." (Kirkus Reviews)
"Superbly crafted." (St. Louis Post-Dispatch)
"Full of twists and surprises....Robinson shows he has only begun to dig into the personality of his tenacious, thoughtful inspector." (Chicago Tribune)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.0 (115 )
5 star
 (33)
4 star
 (51)
3 star
 (25)
2 star
 (5)
1 star
 (1)
Overall
4.2 (40 )
5 star
 (14)
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3 star
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2 star
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1 star
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Story
3.8 (40 )
5 star
 (14)
4 star
 (13)
3 star
 (7)
2 star
 (1)
1 star
 (5)
Performance
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  •  
    Colleen Charlottesville, VA, USA 10-10-04
    Colleen Charlottesville, VA, USA 10-10-04
    HELPFUL VOTES
    36
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    11
    6
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    "Very Solid"

    As a big fan of P.D. James, I was quite pleased to discover Peter Robinson. I have listened to two other Peter Robinson books besides Cold is the Grave and found them all quite satisfying and enjoyable. Robinson is all about character development, each one is really fleshed out psychologically and then he tells you what each character is thinking, feeling, wearing, listening to, eating and so on at any given moment. Obviously this kind of detail can drive some people crazy, especially if a lot of action is what they are looking for, but I really like that kind of detail, and Robinson does do it well. The narrator may take a little getting used to, he tends to sort of "chortle out" his female voices sometimes, but really he is quite good. Cold Is the Grave was a good story and Robinson leaves you wondering who did it till the last, but that is not even why I like his books. It's more the journey there rather than the destination that makes it a good listen.

    9 of 9 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Kathleen Banff, AB, Canada 04-04-08
    Kathleen Banff, AB, Canada 04-04-08 Member Since 2007
    HELPFUL VOTES
    20
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    "Another Good British Cop Story"

    I am an Ian Rankin fan and one day, when I couldn't find an Ian Rankin book that I hadn't already read, another customer in the bookstore told me to read Peter Robinson. I would like to thank that woman because she turned me on to another well-written, unconventional British cop series.

    "Cold Is The Grave" is a story that kept me involved with not only an interesting plot but interesting characters, as well. The characters are very real. Alan Banks, a small town English policeman, doesn't solve the mystery because he is smarter than everyone else. He does it by hard work and an understanding of how people think. The story has Banks solving a problem for one of his commanders who doesn't normally like Banks' methods but realizes, that in difficult circumstances, Banks is the best man for the job.

    Banks comes to some conclusions about his own life when he sees it in contrast to that of his superior officer. He is fallible but very human and, therefore, very likeable.

    Although Robinson is a Canadian writer, he captured the essence of life in both a small English town and London very well.

    This was a good book to listen to and I wanted more when it was finished.

    5 of 5 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Martin Treglown Dallas, Oregon United States 11-07-04
    Martin Treglown Dallas, Oregon United States 11-07-04
    HELPFUL VOTES
    2
    ratings
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    11
    2
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    FOLLOWING
    0
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    "REFRESHING CHANGE"

    THIS IS A GOOD TALE,ALTHOUGH SLOW TO GRAB YOUR INTREST, ONCE ATTAINED YOUR ARE HOOKED ALL THE WAY TO THE LAST WORD

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Kelley Wilmington, NC, United States 10-07-04
    Kelley Wilmington, NC, United States 10-07-04 Member Since 2002
    HELPFUL VOTES
    52
    ratings
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    34
    7
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    4
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    Overall
    "Overbearing Narration, Weak Characterization"

    I had to force myself to finish this one. Of the 50 or so books I've listened to, most have been 4-5 on the scale. This one has been a chore. The dialogue, characterization and story were not compelling enough to overcome the narrator's annnoying delivery. Besides the thick British accent, which I found distracting, his inflection and tone made him sound way too old for the characters, including Banks. A book with more cleverly constructed dialogue and more interesting characters might have been able to withstand the negitive effects of the delivery.

    7 of 9 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Robin DOWNERS GROVE, IL, United States 11-13-11
    Robin DOWNERS GROVE, IL, United States 11-13-11 Member Since 2007
    HELPFUL VOTES
    1
    ratings
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    20
    1
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    "Narrator mars a great mystery"

    I've thoroughly enjoyed 7 of Robinson's previous Inspector Banks mysteries, all narrated by James Langton. I felt like I knew Alan Banks and his family & associates, and I liked them. Mr Keith's narration, however, ruins all this familiarity. Where Langton's Banks was intelligent, sensitive, and sexy, Mr. Keith's interpretation makes Banks sound like an unappealingly obtuse geezer. I'll be switching to print immediately.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Greg minnetonka, MN, United States 05-12-09
    Greg minnetonka, MN, United States 05-12-09 Member Since 2006
    HELPFUL VOTES
    191
    ratings
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    1851
    81
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    FOLLOWING
    9
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    Overall
    "Again, Book 4; Reader 0"

    The Banks series is good. This reader nearly ruins it. This is not Ron's genre.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Kindle Customer United States 07-01-14
    Kindle Customer United States 07-01-14 Member Since 2012
    HELPFUL VOTES
    11
    ratings
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    246
    25
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    0
    4
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "WTF...new narrator"
    What could have made this a 4 or 5-star listening experience for you?

    If you had kept James Langston. I hated this narrator, he forgot to add the regional accent and he sounded awful. He did not even sound british...WTF.


    What other book might you compare Cold Is the Grave to and why?

    It is as good as previous books by the same author, just hated the narrator.


    Who would you have cast as narrator instead of Ron Keith?

    Duh..James Langston, the previous narrator, anyone with a better reading voice.


    What reaction did this book spark in you? Anger, sadness, disappointment?

    Anger...I cannot understand why anyone thought the book needed a new narrator...I am so mad right now. I am going to have to read the rest of the series.


    Any additional comments?

    I wish audible would try to stick to consistent narrators for series, it really helps to have continuity In the voices of the characters.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Madwoman99 Wonder Lake, IL United States 02-25-13
    Madwoman99 Wonder Lake, IL United States 02-25-13 Member Since 2011

    Bluejay

    ratings
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    75
    3
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Disappointed"
    What did you like best about Cold Is the Grave? What did you like least?

    I like the characters. The story seemed a bit implausible to me, but i did listen to the whole thing. The reading by Ron Keith was unfortunate.


    What did you like best about this story?

    I like Inspector Banks, and the other main characters. The story was a bit implausible and disappointing after having read his prior book, The Dry Season, which i thought was very good. I am not sure, however, how much of the difference was because I read the first book, while Ron Keith read this one to me. Banks is supposed to be a good looking man in his forties, but Keith made him sound like a rather clownish 50 something. I liked Banks a lot in the first book, but really did not like him so much in this book, in large part because he sounded very much like John Cleese in Fawlty Towers, rather than the very good detective that the author had intended him to be. I liked my Banks much better.


    What aspect of Ron Keith’s performance would you have changed?

    I have not heard Keith read anything before, so he might have been a much better reader of another book, but he really made Banks sound clownish and much older than he was supposed to be.


    Do you think Cold Is the Grave needs a follow-up book? Why or why not?

    No, it was a standalone story.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Carole Yonkers, New York, United States 11-26-11
    Carole Yonkers, New York, United States 11-26-11 Member Since 2010
    HELPFUL VOTES
    4
    ratings
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    8
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    0
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    "reasonable book, appalling narrator"

    As a Brit, the accents, which slide all over the place, drive me crazy: a scottsman sounds welsh, (think southerners with brooklyn accents...) a Londoner sounds northern, northerners sound prissy and, as another listener noted, the narrator's voice is much too old for the main character. This narrator should find another job. The book itself is fine as background to doing menial tasks: the narrator makes it grate

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    mspoet La Honda, CA, United States 05-31-09
    mspoet La Honda, CA, United States 05-31-09 Member Since 2007
    HELPFUL VOTES
    25
    ratings
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    47
    10
    FOLLOWERS
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    1
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    Overall
    "Beautifully Written"

    Aside from the intriguing storylines of the Inspector Banks series, there are two things about Robinson's writing that make me want to come back for more. He is one of the best authors that I've read in his ability to get the reader inside the head of a character. It's amazing to me how a male author can so succinctly describe the complexities of the conscious and subconscious of a character like Annie (Banks' co-worker and sometimes love interest). By the time you get done with the books, you really know who these characters are. Robinson also just writes really really well. His descriptions of the locale in which his stories take place make you feel like you are right there. For instance, when he is at home in his cottage, you are right there with him, listening to his classical or jazz music, having a smoke on the balcony or a sip of fine whiskey, and listening to the rush of the falls outside the cottage. The kind of detail that's required to get the reader so close to the characters and immersed in the story takes time, and some readers may enjoy a faster pace. As for me, I'm ready for another.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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