A DEDICATED MAN by Peter Robinson

First of all I would like to apologise for my absence of late. Life sometimes gets in the way of things, and my time for reading has been somewhat limited. That and I had great difficulty getting into the John Grisham novel I’d picked for this flash back month. Disappointing, but hopefully I can gain some momentum with it soon. Moving along to the good stuff…

A Dedicated Man by Peter Robinson is the second in the Inspector Banks series, and was written in 1988. This time the Chief Inspector is called out to Helmthorpe in Swainsdale to investigate the murder of a local historian, Harry Steadman. Steadman was hit in the back of the head with a blunt weapon and dumped by a stone wall. Nice right? He was “a dedicated man”; very involved with his work and in a happy relationship with his wife, Emma. He has a strong working relationship with his assistant and editor Michael Ramsden, has a fan and good friend in Penny Cartwright, and often drinks with a local entrepreneur and author at a pub called the Bridge. And, as in all good mysteries, everyone is a suspect. Robinson’s gift is to drop numerous red herrings and make everyone look guilty, or at least appear to have reasonable motive.

So Banks begins to investigate the life of Harry Steadman. But digging through the past can upset people, and the further Banks gets, the more obvious it becomes that the past is more dark and complicated than he could ever have imagined. The situation is made all the more complicated when a local teenager becomes involved and tries to take the case into her own hands. Sally Lumb, albeit bright and inquisitive, is young and naive, is privy to some fairly pertinent information regarding the case. Her poor decision making, however, lands her in trouble. Banks must then try to solve Sally’s mystery without alerting too many people to the fact that the killer may be ready to strike again.

I love Peter Robinson’s books. I know that’s a big statement considering I’ve only read two, but his writing style and his emphasis on old fashioned detective work makes his books easy and enjoyable to read. They are quickly devoured, but delivered at such a thrilling pace that picking the killer is damn near impossible. Writing a good crime novel means giving away a little, but not too much information, to keep the reader guessing and to make the whole experience exciting. If you like good crime novels, I urge you to read Peter Robinson.

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