Detective Chief Inspector Alan Banks has recently moved to the Yorkshire Dales from London to escape the stress of the metropolis. But he soon finds that life in the country is not quite as idyllic as he had imagined.
A peeping Tom is frightening the women of Eastvale. Two glue-sniffing thugs are breaking into homes. An old woman may or may not have been murdered. In addition, Banks has to deal with his attraction to a young psychologist, Jenny Fuller. As the tension mounts, both Jenny and Banks' wife are drawn deeper into events. And Banks realises that his cases are weaving closer and closer together....
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By Simon on 29-06-18
Comfortable Start to a Popular Series
Cast your mind back to 1987, if you can of course. Mobile phones were hilarious brick-like novelties with fake plastic antennas to convince people they would get better reception. Dempsey and Makepeace was a top-rated crime drama on TV. DNA had only just started to be used in criminal investigations and you could walk down the High Street without appearing on a TV screen more often than a then rather younger Ian Beale. In short, a very different world, not quite Dixon of Dock Green of course but really not so far away as it seemed at the time.
It's into all this that Peter Robinson introduced his creation, DI Banks, an experienced detective who swapped the bright lights of London for the charms of the Yorkshire Dales. Naturally he doesn't quite end up with the quiet life he was hoping for and is immediately thrust into a big caseload ranging from a possible murder to a bothersome peeping tom of all things! Having read a lot of more contemporary detective crime fiction recently it was interesting to note that Banks doesn't have a dark and sinister past. He isn't battling international criminal masterminds, twisted and evil serial killers or notorious drugs barons. Yes indeed this is a good old-fashioned detective story with good old-fashioned detective work being deployed to solve the crimes.
You might feel it's dated a bit but I would say only in the manner of an old, comfortable pair of slippers. They might not win a fashion show but when you sink tired feet into them they satisfy nonetheless. The longevity and popularity of the series suggests that it has managed to stay relevant through the intervening years too. Simon Slater does a fine job of bringing Banks and the supporting characters to life with a pleasing range of voices.
I wouldn't want to mislead and suggest this is just a fluffy piece of nostalgia though. While in this story there are relatively ordinary crimes by the standards of some modern thrillers it does contain violence and even sexual violence against women. It's no soft option in these terms though one desperate alibi given by a suspect will likely make you laugh.
In all this does have a naturally understandable feel of being a little dated and possibly in some ways unsophisticated but it's still a good story and I suspect I will be back for more before too long.
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