|Novelist Peter Robinson.|
Although I had previously read with pleasure the British-born Canadian Peter Robinson’s standalone novel, Before the Poison (William Morrow & Co., 2013), I had not dipped into his DCI Alan Banks police procedural series until this summer. My first entry was All the Colours of Darkness (McClelland & Stewart, 2008), and it was a wonderful introduction, particularly for a reader whose primary interest in mysteries is not a whodunit but an exploration of character, relationships, issues or themes. That was followed by several other novels: Bad Boy (2011), Watching in the Dark, (2012), Children of the Revolution (2013), and perhaps the best of them all, the multiple award-winning In a Dry Season (1999). Also, as a highly educated writer with a PhD in twentieth-century British poets and an individual with an eclectic taste in music, his novels are laced with literary and musical associations that are frequently integrated into the narrative as motifs. For instance, the title of the last novel mentioned above derives from a line from a T.S. Eliot poem that Banks himself references. Banks who works in rural Yorkshire in the town of Eastvale may remind some readers of Inspector Reg Wexford and the cultured Commander Adam Dalgliesh. Their creators, both the late P.D. James and Ruth Rendell respectively, were inspirations to Robinson. For the purposes of this review, I will focus primarily on All the Colours of Darkness and In a Dry Season.