All the Colors of Darkness (Inspector Alan Banks Series #18)

All the Colors of Darkness (Inspector Alan Banks Series #18)

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by Peter Robinson, Simon Prebble
     
 

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Detectives Alan Banks and Annie Cabbot return in another electrifying novel from the acclaimed award-winning author of the New York Times bestseller Friend of the Devil

When the body of a man is discovered hanging from a tree in the woods near Eastvale, all signs point toward suicide. At least that's what it initially looks like to

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Overview

Detectives Alan Banks and Annie Cabbot return in another electrifying novel from the acclaimed award-winning author of the New York Times bestseller Friend of the Devil

When the body of a man is discovered hanging from a tree in the woods near Eastvale, all signs point toward suicide. At least that's what it initially looks like to Detective Inspector Annie Cabbot.

The man is soon identified as Mark Hardcastle, the set and costume designer for the local amateur theater company. Mark was successful and well liked in the community, but enough remains mysterious about his background that suicide isn't completely out of the question. But when Mark's older and wealthier lover is discovered bludgeoned to death in his home, Annie begins to think differently. Could it have been a crime of passion, or did overwhelming grief lead to a man taking his own life? Increasingly confounded, she calls in the vacationing Chief Inspector Alan Banks—even if it means prying him away from his new girlfriend.

Once on the investigation, Banks finds himself plunged into a case where nothing is as it seems. More and more his own words about the victim's latest production, Othello, are coming back to haunt him, for "jealousy, betrayal, envy, ambition, greed, lust, revenge—all the colors of darkness" are quickly becoming his world as well.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly

As much spy thriller as crime story, bestseller Robinson's solid 18th DCI Alan Banks novel (after Friend of the Devil) finds the Yorkshire copper trying to unravel a murder-suicide with potential ties to national security. While Banks is on holiday, Det. Insp. Annie Cabbot is called to the woods outside Eastvale, where a hanged man-soon identified as Mark Hardcastle, the local theater's set designer-is discovered in a tree. What looks like a simple suicide takes an unexpected turn when the badly beaten body of Hardcastle's boyfriend, Laurence Silber, is found in Silber's posh home. Banks, who returns to assist in the investigation, uncovers Silber's past life as a spy in MI6, which makes Banks doubt the prevailing theory that Hardcastle murdered Silber and then hanged himself. Robinson deftly integrates the requisite espionage elements with his regular cast. The unexpected cliffhanger will assure readers that this chapter in Banks's life is far from over. 11-city author tour. (Feb.)

Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Library Journal

When Mark Hardcastle and Laurence Silbert are found dead, it looks like a case of murder-suicide. DI Annie Cabbot dutifully conducts a thorough investigation anyway, but she finds plenty of reason to suspect that the crime may not be what it appears. Inspector Alan Banks is called in to lead the case, and the mystery deepens when he uncovers Silbert's past involvement with MI6 (the British Secret Intelligence Service). The two detectives find themselves in a world of deceptions and cover-ups, where the people they encounter aren't who they seem to be. Even the most loyal fans of the series (this is the 18th Inspector Banks novel) will wonder if Banks has finally gotten in over his head. Best-selling author Robinson (Friend of the Devil) branches out into new territory in what may be his best novel yet. Highly recommended. [See Prepub Mystery, LJ10/1/08.]
—Linda Oliver

South Florida Sun Sentinel
“Smoothly blends aspects of the spy thriller into what seems to be a murder-suicide....Robinson doesn’t miss a beat....All the Colors of Darkness is another example of Robinson’s seamless, insightful storytelling.”
Mystery Scene
“Robinson pulls the reader in from the first page of this tightly plotted story and the vividly drawn characters only enhance the pleasures of this fine novel. All the Colors of Darkness is the 18th mystery in the multiple-award-winning Alan Banks series—and it’s one of the best.”
Miami Herald
“Smart, absorbing detective series....[Robinson’s] latest novel about Yorkshire detectives Alan Banks and Annie Cabbot is every bit as captivating as its predecessors....You’ll be eagerly awaiting their next adventure.”
Cleveland Plain Dealer
“A well-written, thought-provoking continuation of our relationship with characters who inhabit the same world of darkness, accident, and concern that we all do.”
Booklist
“Robinson shows a deft hand at using forensic science, conflict between characters, and recurring series themes. Another winner from one of Britain’s established A-listers.”
The Strand
“Robinson’s deft handling of psychological anguish makes this exploration of ‘jealousy, betrayal, envy, ambition, greed, lust, revenge—all the colors of darkness’ an outstanding addition to this distinguished series.”
Suspense Magazine
“An intricate thriller.”
Cleveland Plain Dealer on All the Colors of Darkness
“A well-written, thought-provoking continuation of our relationship with characters who inhabit the same world of darkness, accident, and concern that we all do.”
South Florida Sun Sentinel on All the Colors of Darkness
“Smoothly blends aspects of the spy thriller into what seems to be a murder-suicide....Robinson doesn’t miss a beat....All the Colors of Darkness is another example of Robinson’s seamless, insightful storytelling.”
Booklist on All the Colors of Darkness
“Robinson shows a deft hand at using forensic science, conflict between characters, and recurring series themes. Another winner from one of Britain’s established A-listers.”
Miami Herald on All the Colors of Darkness
“Smart, absorbing detective series....[Robinson’s] latest novel about Yorkshire detectives Alan Banks and Annie Cabbot is every bit as captivating as its predecessors....You’ll be eagerly awaiting their next adventure.”
Mystery Scene on All the Colors of Darkness
“Robinson pulls the reader in from the first page of this tightly plotted story and the vividly drawn characters only enhance the pleasures of this fine novel. All the Colors of Darkness is the 18th mystery in the multiple-award-winning Alan Banks series—and it’s one of the best.”
The Strand on All the Colors of Darkness
“Robinson’s deft handling of psychological anguish makes this exploration of ‘jealousy, betrayal, envy, ambition, greed, lust, revenge—all the colors of darkness’ an outstanding addition to this distinguished series.”
Suspense Magazine on All the Colors of Darkness
“An intricate thriller.”

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781436174824
Publisher:
Recorded Books, LLC
Publication date:
03/23/2009
Series:
Inspector Alan Banks Series, #18

Read an Excerpt


All the Colors of Darkness



By Peter Robinson
William Morrow
Copyright © 2009

Peter Robinson
All right reserved.



ISBN: 978-0-06-136293-4



Chapter One Detective inspector Annie Cabbot thought it was a great shame that she had to spend one of the most beautiful days of the year so far at a crime scene, especially a hanging. She hated hangings. And on a Friday afternoon, too.

Annie had been dispatched, along with Detective Sergeant Winsome Jackman, to Hindswell Woods, just south of Eastvale Castle, where some schoolboys spending the last day of their half-term holiday splashing in the river Swain had phoned to say they thought they had seen a body.

The river ran swift, broad and shallow here, the color of freshly pumped beer, frothing around the mossy stones. Along the riverside footpath, the trees were mostly ash, alder and wych elm, their leaves a pale, almost translucent green, trembling in the faint breeze. The scent of wild garlic filled the air, clusters of midges hovered over the water, and on the other side the meadows were full of buttercups, pignut and cranesbill. Tewits twittered and flitted back and forth, nervous about -people encroaching on their ground nests. A few fluffy clouds drifted across the sky.

Four schoolboys, all aged about ten or eleven, sat hunched on the boulders by the water, draped in towels or damp T-shirts, strips of pale skin, white as tripe, exposed here and there, all the spirit crushed out of their joyous play. They'd told the police that one of them had chased another off the path into the woods above the river, and they had stumbled upon a body hanging from one of the few oaks that still grew there. They had mobiles, so one of them dialed 999 and they waited by the riverside. When the police patrol officers and the ambulance crew arrived and took a look at the body, they agreed there was nothing they could do, so they stayed well back and radioed for the heavy brigade. Now it was Annie's job to assess the situation and decide on what action should be taken.

Annie left Winsome to take statements from the kids and followed the patrol officer up the slope into the woods. Through the trees to her left, she could see the ruins of Eastvale Castle high on its hill. Before long, just over the rise, she caught a glimpse of a figure hanging from a length of yellow clothesline on a low bough ahead of her, its feet about eighteen inches off the ground. It made a striking contrast to the light green of the woods because it-Annie couldn't tell yet whether the shape was a man or a woman-was dressed in an orange shirt and black trousers.

The tree was an old oak with a gnarled, thick trunk and knotty branches, and it stood alone in a small copse. Annie had noticed it before on her walks through the woods, where there were so few oaks that it stood out. She had even made a sketch or two of the scene but had never translated them into a fully fledged painting.

The uniformed officers had taped off the area around the tree, into which entry would be severely restricted. "You checked for any signs of life, I assume?" Annie asked the young constable making his way through the undergrowth beside her.

"The paramedic did, ma'am," he answered. "As best he could without disturbing the scene." He paused. "But you don't have to get that close to see that he's dead."

A man, then. Annie ducked under the police tape and inched forward. Twigs snapped under her feet and last autumn's leaves crackled. She didn't want to get so close that she might destroy or contaminate any important trace evidence, but she needed a clearer idea of what she was dealing with. As she stopped about ten feet away, she could hear a golden plover whistling somewhere nearby. Farther up, toward the moorland, a curlew piped its mournful call. Closer by, Annie was aware of the officer panting behind her after their trot up the hill, and of the lightest of breezes soughing through leaves too fresh and moist to rustle.

Then there was the absolute stillness of the body.

Annie could see for herself that he was a man now. His head was closely shaved, and what hair remained had been dyed blond. He wasn't twisting at the end of the rope, they way corpses do in movies, but hanging heavy and silent as a rock from the taut yellow clothesline, which had almost buried itself in the livid skin of his neck, now an inch or two longer than it had originally been. His lips and ears were tinged blue with cyanosis. Burst capillaries dotted his bulging eyes, making them appear red from where Annie was standing. She guessed his age at somewhere between forty and forty-five, but it was only a rough estimate. His fingernails were bitten or cut short, and she saw the cyanosis there, too. He also seemed to have a lot of blood on him for a hanging victim.

Most hangings were suicides, Annie knew, not murders, for the obvious reason that it was very difficult to hang a man while he was still alive and kicking. Unless it was the work of a lynch-mob, of course, or he had been drugged first.

If it was a suicide, why had the victim chosen this particular place to end his life? Annie wondered. This tree? Did it have strong personal associations for him, or had it simply been convenient? Had he ever realized that children might find him, and what effect seeing his body might have on them? Probably not, she guessed. When you're that close to ending it all, you don't think much about others. Suicide is the ultimate act of selfishness.

Annie knew she needed the Scenes-of-Crime Officers here as soon as possible. It was a suspicious death, and she would be far better off pulling out all the stops than jumping to the conclusion that nothing much need be done. She took out her mobile and rang Stefan Nowak, the crime scene manager, who told her to wait and said he'd organize his team. Next, she left a message for Detective Superintendent Catherine Gervaise, who was in a meeting at County HQ in Northallerton. It was too early to determine the level of investigation yet, but the super needed to know what was happening.

(Continues...)




Excerpted from All the Colors of Darkness by Peter Robinson Copyright © 2009 by Peter Robinson . Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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Meet the Author

Peter Robinson's award-winning novels have been named a Best-Book-of-the-Year by Publishers Weekly, a Notable Book by the New York Times, and a Page-Turner-of-the-Week by People magazine. Robinson was born and raised in Yorkshire, but has lived in North America for nearly twenty-five years. He now divides his time between North America and the U.K.

Peter Robinson's award-winning novels have been named a Best-Book-of-the-Year by Publishers Weekly, a Notable Book by the New York Times, and a Page-Turner-of-the-Week by People magazine. Robinson was born and raised in Yorkshire, but has lived in North America for nearly twenty-five years. He now divides his time between North America and the U.K.

Peter Robinson's award-winning novels have been named a Best-Book-of-the-Year by Publishers Weekly, a Notable Book by the New York Times, and a Page-Turner-of-the-Week by People magazine. Robinson was born and raised in Yorkshire, but has lived in North America for nearly twenty-five years. He now divides his time between North America and the U.K.

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