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Editorial Reviews

Detective Chief Inspector Alan Banks is on vacation. Now in his 50s and having served as the crime-solving protagonist of 17 previous novels by Peter Robinson, Inspector Banks deserves it. His idyll is ended, however, when his on-again-off-again partner, Inspector Annie Cabbot, comes upon a body hanging from a tree. Just like that, Robinson plunges the listener into that old familiar darkness and suspense of which none other than Stephen King is a big fan.

Audie Award winner Simon Prebble brings his perfect dark British accent to this tale of multiple murder, love gone wrong, and wit. This audiobook is ideal for a long night by the fire, or, if you dare, alone by a brook in the English countryside.

Publisher's Summary

Detectives Alan Banks and Annie Cabbot return in another electrifying novel from the acclaimed award-winning author of the New York Times best seller Friend of the Devil.

When the body of a man is discovered hanging from a tree in the woods near Eastvale, all signs point toward suicide. At least that's what it initially looks like to Detective Inspector Annie Cabbot.

The man is soon identified as Mark Hardcastle, the set and costume designer for the local amateur theater company. Mark was successful and well liked in the community, but enough remains mysterious about his background that suicide isn't completely out of the question. But when Mark's older and wealthier lover is discovered bludgeoned to death in his home, Annie begins to think differently. Could it have been a crime of passion, or did overwhelming grief lead to a man taking his own life? Increasingly confounded, she calls in the vacationing Chief Inspector Alan Banks, even if it means prying him away from his new girlfriend.

Once on the investigation, Banks finds himself plunged into a case where nothing is as it seems. More and more, his own words about the victim's latest production, Othello, are coming back to haunt him, for "jealousy, betrayal, envy, ambition, greed, lust, revenge: all the colors of darkness" are quickly becoming his world as well.

©2009 Eastvale Enterprises, Inc. (P)2009 HarperCollins Publishers

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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Performance

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    45
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    7
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Story

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  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars

Good story damaged by producer

Robinson gets a bit silly here and there, but it's worth the purchase. The usual interesting story and good ensemble, though "guest" characters are a bit wobbly this go-round, and the premise occasionally made me itch.

AUDIO: The reading would have been quite adequate except for some insane -- literally insane -- music stuck in at odd moments. It was a sort of cross between country-drunk and MGM's idea of hula-hula music -- just right for Yorkshire, right? Awful! Each time the producers assaulted me with this twanging slop, it utterly shattered everything the author and narrator had built up. The worst part is ... why? Why do such an awful and destructive thing when it was so totally, completely pointless?

19 of 19 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Loved the story and narrator

This is another great Banks novel. Someone else mentioned the weird music. I agree - it's jarring and unnecessary. Doesn't belong at all. What were they thinking?

7 of 7 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Lose the Music

Don't know why the music between chapters was added. It's unnecessary and annoying. The books are much better when they're just read, not produced.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

Engaging story and chacters

Simon Prebble as reader starts the book on a plus. The characters and story were well-written. A very good mystery.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    2 out of 5 stars

When did Inspector Banks Become a Spy Series?

While it must get boring to write about the same people doing the same sorts of things, and while Peter Robinson obviously works hard to change things up without going too far afield, I think he missed the mark this time.

This book reads like a bad spy novel. Without giving too much away, Banks gets a Pay-As-You-Go phone, then calls everyone connected to him in the same old way, as if only one person's phone can ever be bugged during an investigation. The Superintendent, Queen of stating the obvious in previous novels, suddenly becomes an omnipotent genius, far above Banks or Annie's ability to understand or fathom. Banks and Annie keep pursuing a non-existent case even though they both agree no crime has been committed and they have no goals for the investigation other than finding out some information they don't know but that they have no reason to believe is of any importance beyond satisfying curiosity. At the same time, everyone is telling everyone to be careful, but Banks blunders on and then is flabbergasted to think that his actions could cause inconvenience to anyone around him even though he himself hinted at that possibility many times beforehand.

While the prose for this novel is decent enough and the characters are still mostly enjoyable, the novel overall seems extremely weak and perhaps unfinished. It also portrays the intelligence services of Britain as having no intelligence at all, so if you're the type who would get a big chuckle out of that, you might find that entertaining all by itself.

If I didn't know better, I'd say this is a novel about Banks gradually losing touch with reality and probably a good deal of his cognitive ability as well. He talks about Britain's intelligence services being all powerful and uncaring, and then is constantly amazed when they do anything even slightly above board or inconvenient to people.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Karen
  • Loomis, CA, United States
  • 11-20-10

"Just keeps getting better"

This is the second book by Peter Robinson that I've listened to. His character development is masterful, the plot completely intriguing and surprising. I found myself caring about the characters, as if I knew them personally. I could listen to Mr. Prebble's (the reader) voice for an eternity. The combination of brilliant writing and a fantastic performance by the reader produces a "not-to-be-missed" book. I just downloaded my third Robinson book. I'm hooked!

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars
  • B
  • 06-05-18

Very good, as good or even better than the last

Enjoyed all aspects, including the spies and music... Narration and performance by Simon Prebble is magnificent as usual.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

This wins my best read of 2017 award

This wins my best read of 2017 award.A fantastic read! Full of depth, full of texture.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Very Cool

Great Story. Great Narrator. Cool Guitar Riffs. None of yhat mess done on the previous in this series with the music. Robinson ought to have gotten some money back on that job. Prebble. He is the bomb in both very good novels.

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

Love Simon Prebble

Entertaining. Not my favorite but still good. I guess they figured out that music in between chapters is not particularly helpful. Simon Prebble is great as usual