"They were linked in his mind in some odd way. Not technically, of
course, but two very different boys from very different times had
ended up dead before their time, and both had died violently. Banks
wanted to know why, what it was about these two children that had
attracted such cruel fate." So thinks Detective Alan Banks as he
seeks answers to the mysteries currently on his plate.
CLOSE TO HOME by Peter Robinson is the latest in the Alan Banks
mystery series and the Yorkshire Detective Chief Inspector
demonstrates why the mystery genre continues to draw new fans. The
discovery of the bones of Graham Marshall, a boyhood "mate" of the
inspector, leads him back to his hometown in hopes of helping to
resolve the case. Solving a 30 year-old murder would be difficult
enough, but when the threads begin to unravel cover-ups and well
kept secrets, the task becomes almost impossible.
Meanwhile, in his own bailiwick, another youngster has disappeared.
This time it is fifteen year-old Luke Armitage who may have been
kidnapped and then murdered. The pieces of evidence surrounding the
case just don't fit and, once again, determination and dedication
finally help uncover the key elements.
The two investigations are conducted simultaneously and Robinson
moves the action effortlessly between Yorkshire and Peterborough.
With his co-worker and former lover, Detective Inspector Anne
Cabbot, following leads in the current case, Banks can spend time
with DI Michelle Hart working on the Graham case. The women and the
characters in each location are well defined so you never find
yourself wondering which case is being discussed.
CLOSE TO HOME offers plenty of crisp dialogue, seasoned with enough
English flavoring to make it interesting. On this side of the ocean
we smile as we get an inside look at pubs named The Pig and Whistle
and The Woolpack. And did you know that in England a police lineup
is called an identity parade? A book of mug shots is a villains'
album? And to waste time is to piss about? I haven't quite figured
out all the ramifications of "sod" and maybe I shouldn't even
Peter Robinson also has a knack for including trivia and triggers
nostalgic feelings when he flashes back to the 60's. The pace of
the story was a little slow at times but never enough to distract
from the unfolding stories. Avid mystery fans will be delighted
with the opportunity of solving these two cases along with the
police. For a leisurely read, CLOSE TO HOME will not let you
Reviewed by Maggie Harding on January 21, 2011