The worst that can possibly happen... has. A beautiful child is dead - defiled and murdered in a lonely graveyard on a fog-shrouded evening. It is the sort of horrific crime Chief Inspector Alan Banks fled the city to escape. But the slaying of a bright and lovely teenager from a wealthy, respected family is not the end of a nightmare. Lies, dark secrets, unholy accusations, and hints of sexual depravity swirl around this abomination like leaves in an autumn wind, leading to a shattering travesty of justice that will brutally divide a devastated community with suspicion and hatred. But Banks must remain vigilant in his hunt - because when the devil is left free to pursue his terrible calling, more blood will surely flow.
Investigate another case with Inspector Banks.
©2004 Peter Robinson (P)2011 Tantor
"Entertaining and sophisticated, crime writing of a high order." (The Washington Post)
We listeners all know, right from the get-go, that poor Owen Pierce has been falsely accused of murder ... but the townsfolk don't. Given their druthers, they would lynch him for the murder of beautiful young Deborah Harrison, leaving the real killer running around free. I like it when an author uses that technique: allowing the reader to know something that none of the novel's characters -- including the protagonist -- know. Then we get to watch our hero figure out the secret. 𝘞𝑒 know that Owen Pierce didn't do it, partly because of Peter Robinson's writing skill, but also thanks to James Langton's excellent acting chops. Langton possesses the rare gift of voice. I was admiring his skill throughout this audiobook, particularly because the plot presents us with so 𝘮𝑎𝑛𝑦 different suspects. A less skilled actor could have made Owen sound as guilty as all the townsfolk think that he is. Langton clearly read "Innocent Graves" all the way through before he began recording it, so that he knew which voices to give each character -- sending exactly the right subliminal clues to us listeners.
I also liked "Innocent Graves," because it includes some intriguing courtroom scenes -- the first novel in the Alan Banks series to do so. The evidence seems stacked so profoundly high against Pierce -- and his solicitor seems so disinterested -- that we see no way for him to escape false conviction. Then his brilliant barrister (the Brits make a distinction between the lawyer that takes the case and the lawyer that argues the case) saves Pierce in court by casting reasonable doubt on all the supposed "evidence." Still, the townsfolk believe that Pierce did the murder and got away with it; so that his release puts him in grave danger of vigilante violence. Inspector Alan Banks needs to work fast to find the real killer.
Some people find that Robinson's Inspector Banks novels move too slowly, with insufficient excitement. I confess to a weakness for thrillers, myself; but I make an exception for the Inspector Banks series. Robinson's beautiful writing and Langton's masterful narration trump any problem that I might have with insufficient action. So I recommend this series to any listener with the patience to appreciate these qualities ... provided that you listen to the books in chronological order, from the beginning, starting with "Gallows View." Don't try jumping into the series in the middle -- you will miss a lot and get grumpy.
I don't understand why people didn't like this book. Plot and characters were well developed. Narration was also terrific. The only down side was the rather abrupt ending. I expected a few more chapters at least!
I would have taken this book back after the 1st couple chapters if I had gotten it from the library, but since I paid for it at Audible, I felt obligated to listen to the end--the dribble just went on and on--I kept thinking it would get better but it never did--horrible ending--not only was this not a "thriller" it could actually put you to sleep. This book just has no redeming value!!
I have read a number of Insp Banks books but this one really is not one of the best. Not sure if this was an earlier one but did not have the same pace as other ones.
"Good story, poor narration"
This book, although dated, is a good story but is spoiled by the poor quality narration. The accents are barely credible and most of the characters sound as if they are verbally challenged. It is in some ways insulting to anyone leaning towards a northern accent.
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