Dry Bones That Dream by Peter Robinson

I first met Chief Inspector Banks when a friend recommended I read a book by Peter Robinson. I don’t always agree with someone’s recommendation but from my first encounter with Alan Banks in Gallows View I was hooked. He is my kind of detective. Gentle (mostly), thoughtful, intelligent but with flaws. The thing about Banks is that he tries.

Although, as his old nemesis Detective Superintendent Burgess says:

“Still the bloody pinko, huh? Still the limp-wristed, knee-jerking liberal?”

A tad unfair to Banks who doesn’t approve of the bully boy tactics employed by Burgess to get what he wants from a suspect.

Dry Bones That Dream is the seventh novel in the Chief Inspector Banks series. Peter Robinson presents us with another lovely murder with a twist. And, a twist in the end which certainly took me by surprise. I didn’t see it coming, which for me, is the mark of a cracking good mystery.

Robinson’s, Inspector Banks series might be considered slightly formulaic at times but the original formula is an entertaining great read so why mess with something that works wonderfully?

He provides enough variations on the theme to keep even this hard-nosed reader guessing. Although the reader benefits from the back story of the earlier books involving Banks, and his cohorts Detective Superintendent Gristhorpe, DC Susan Gay, and Sergeant Hatchley, each book can be read and enjoyed as a stand alone.

Chief Inspector Banks is a man now on the wrong side of forty. He smokes too much, he knows, but he hasn’t yet got the motivation to give it up. Married to an increasingly independent Sandra and father of two, Banks senses his marriage is in trouble as he and Sandra lead ever increasingly separate lives. His job keeps him away from home for long hours. A career move from the dens of London to the dales of Yorkshire was meant to be for the better. Somehow, you get the feeling it just isn’t going to work out that way. And teenage children have a habit of leaving home. In doing so they leave Mum and Dad more and more isolated from each other.

Things aren’t helped when Banks experiences an attraction to another woman. When she is brutally attacked, Banks has enough guilt for the whole of Yorkshire. He wants to talk to someone but realises that talking about it to Sandra may not be the wisest thing he could do. So what is a man to do?

“It was 2.47 a.m. when Chief Inspector Alan Banks arrived at the barn and saw the body of Keith Rothwell for the first time. Only hours earlier two masked men had walked the mild-mannered accountant out of his farmhouse and clinically blasted him with a shotgun.”

The execution style murder leads Banks and his team onto many discoveries about just who and what this supposedly mild mannered accountant actually was. or, to be more precise, who was he? Husband and father certainly. A member of a dysfunctional family, certainly. An accountant with a slight preference for cooking the books and making a profit from someone else’s money, definitely. But what else was he?

Did he have a split personality? Was he a Walter Mitty type character? The details of the dodgy accountant will keep you entertained and guessing right to the end.

Dictators and money laundering often go together and in Banks’ world (and that of Peter Robinson). They go very nicely together indeed.

Title: Dry Bones That Dream

Author: Peter Robinson 1995

Publisher: Pan Books


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