Detective Chief Inspector Alan Banks left the violence of London behind for what he hoped would be the peaceful life of a country policeman. But the brutality of Steadman's murder only reinforces one ugly, indisputable truth: that evil can flourish in even the most bucolic of settings. There are dangerous secrets hidden in the history of this remote Yorkshire community that have already led to one death. And Banks will have to plumb a dark and shocking local past to find his way to a killerbefore yesterday's sins cause more blood to be shed.
"Wonderful...a superior detective...a superior writer."(Denver Post)
"Robinson's profound sense of place and reflective study of human nature give fine depth to his mystery."(The New York Times Book Review)
"A deftly constructed plot...Robinson's skill with the British police procedural has been burnished to a high gloss."(Chicago Tribune)
"Vivid...exciting...a rich cast of characters."(Houston Post)
"He is steadily heading towards the pinnacle of crime fiction."(Publishers Weekly)
About the Author
One of the world’s most popular and acclaimed writers, Peter Robinson is the bestselling, award-winning author of the Inspector Banks series; he has also written two short-story collections and three standalone novels, which combined have sold more than ten million copies around the world. Among his many honors and prizes are the Edgar Award, the CWA (UK) Dagger in the Library Award, and Sweden’s Martin Beck Award. He divides his time between Toronto and England.
Read an Excerpt
When the sun rose high enough to clear the slate roofs on the other side of the street, it crept through a chink in Sally Lumb's curtains and lit on a strand of gold-blonde hair that curled over her cheek. She was dreaming. Minotaurs, bank clerks, gazelles and trolls cavorted through the barns, maisonettes, and gothic palaces of her sleep. But, when she awoke a few hours later, all she was left with was the disturbing image of a cat picking its way along a high wall topped with broken glass. Dreams. Most of them she ignored. They had nothing to do with the other kind of dreams, the most important ones that she didn't have to fall asleep to find. In these dreams, she passed her exams and was accepted into the Marion Boyars Academy of Theater Arts. There she studied acting, modeling and cosmetic technique, for Sally was realistic enough to know that if she lacked the dramatic talent of a Kate Winslet or a Gwyneth Paltrow, she could at least belong to the fringes of the world of glamor.
When Sally finally stirred, the bar of sunlight had shifted to the floor beside her bed, striping the untidy pile of clothes she had dropped there the night before. She could hear plates and cutlery clatter in the kitchen downstairs, and the rich smell of roast beef wafted up to her room. She got up. It was good policy, she thought, to get downstairs as soon as possible and help with the vegetables before her mother's call -- "It's on the table!" -- came grating up to her. At least by showing a willingness to help, she could probably avoid too probing an investigation into her lateness lastnight.
Sally stared at herself in the full-length mirror of her old oak wardrobe. Even if there was still a little puppy fat around her hips and thighs, it would soon go away. On the whole, she decided, she had a good body. Her breasts were perfect. Most people, of course, complimented her on her long silky hair, but they hadn't seen her breasts. Kevin had. Just last night he had caressed them and told her they were perfect. Last night they had gone almost all the way, and Sally knew that the next time, soon, they would. She looked forward to it with a mixture of fear and desire that, according to what she had read in magazines, and books, would soon fuse into ecstasy in the heat of passion and longing.
Sally touched her nipple with the tip of her forefinger and felt a tingle in her loins. The nipple hardened and she moved away from the mirror to get dressed, her face burning.
Kevin was good. He knew how to excite her; ever since summer began he had played carefully with the boundaries of her desire. He had pushed them back a little further each time, and soon the whole country would be his. He was young, like Sally, but still he seemed to know instinctively how to please her, just as she imagined an experienced older man would know. She even thought she loved Kevin a bit. But if someone else came along -- somebody more mature, more wealthy, more sophisticated, someone who was at home in the exciting, fast-paced cities of the world -- well, after all, Kevin was only a farm boy at heart.
Dressed in designer jeans and a plain white T-shirt, Sally drew back the curtains. When her eyes had adjusted to the glare, she looked out on a perfect Swainsdale morning. A few fluffy little clouds -- one like a teddy bear, another like a crab -- scudded across the piercing blue sky on a light breeze. She looked north up the broad slope of the valley side, its rich greens interrupted here and there by dark patches of heather and outcrops of limestone, to the long sheer wall of Crow Scar, and noticed something very odd. At first she couldn't make it out at all. Then she squinted, refocused and saw, spread out along the slope just above the old road, five or six blue dots that seemed to be moving in some kind of pattern. She put a finger to her lips, thought for a moment, and frowned.
Fifteen miles away in Eastvale, the dale's largest town, somebody else was anticipating a Sunday dinner of succulent roast beef and Yorkshire pudding. Detective Chief Inspector Alan Banks lay flat on his stomach in Brian's room watching an electric train whizz around bends, over bridges, through signals and under papier-mâcé mountains. Brian himself was out riding his bike in the local park, but Banks had long since given up the pretense that he only played with the trains for his son's sake and finally admitted that he found the pastime even more relaxing than a hot bath.
He heard the phone ring out in the hall, and a few seconds later his daughter, Tracy, shouted through, "It's for you, Dad!"
As Banks rushed downstairs, the aroma from the kitchen made his mouth water. He thanked Tracy and picked up the receiver. It was Sergeant Rowe, desk-officer at Eastvale Regional Headquarters.
"Sorry to bother you, sir," Rowe began, "but we've just had a call from Constable Weaver over in Helmthorpe. Seems a local farmer's found a body in one of his fields this morning."
"Go on," Banks urged, snapping into professional gear.
"Chap said he was looking for a stray sheep, sir, when he found this body buried by a wall. Weaver says he shifted one or two stones and it's a dead 'un all right. Looks like someone bashed 'is 'ead in."
Banks felt the tightening in his stomach that always accompanied news of murder. He had transferred from London a year ago, sickened by the spiraling of senseless violence there, only to...A Dedicated Man. Copyright © by Peter Robinson. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.
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What People are Saying About This
"A deftly constructed plot.... Robinson's skill with the British police procedural has been burnished to a high gloss." -Chicago Tribune
“Stunningly complex and intricately plotted....Peter Robinson fools and entertains me with every twist.”
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
This second in the Inspector Banks series does not disappoint. I enjoyed it as much as I did the first one. In this book, Banks is on the trail of a pretty cold and calculating killer who has killed a local man and buried him under rocks in the open area in the area of Yorkshire where Banks lives. Banks finds he has to start sifting through some past history in order to figure out who did the deed, and unfortuanelty he isn't quick enough to find out who it is before another murder occurs. People will go to great lengths to keep the past buried. This is a pretty good series and for anyone who likes British procedurals, it certainly fills the bill.
A much more laid back Banks appears in this installment. I wouldn't call him boring, as much as it seemed he was settling into his environ and trying to not rock the boat. But I got the feeling deep down he was wanting to to shake things up a bit and am hoping he's going to be more assertive in the next go 'round.
I'm not getting on with the early entries in this series at all. Might go back to the later ones and see if I still enjoy those.
This is the second in Robinson's long-running series featuring Yorkshire-based detective Inspector Banks, but the first that I have read. Like Robinson I am a graduate of the University of Leeds, so I was curious to read the well-respected work of an a fellow alumnus, all the more so in this case because I studied History at Leeds and this novel centres around the murder of a former Leeds history lecturer. I didn't find Banks quite as intriguing or appealing a character as some other fictional detectives, though he could well grow on me since I was certainly impressed enough to want to explore the series further.
I really enjoyed this book. I feel sure that I have read some of his books before, but I can't be sure. The plotting was excellent and I enjoyed the fact that the clues were there for the reader to solve the mystery. Very subtle clues, but they were there nonetheless. The only downside is how dated the novel is, the references to a cassette tape player really through me for a bit. :) I am definitely planning on reading more by this author.
An early Banks set back in the late 80s, when there were were few mobile phones and smoking was commonplace. A local man is killed of whom no-one appears to say a harsh word, but someone must have had a reason to kill him and Banks really struggles to get to grips with the case, until inspiration comes from an unlikely source. An excellent plot which had me guessing until the end (and page turning).