Past Reason Hated (Inspector Alan Banks Series #5)

( 7 )


It looks and sounds like a traditional Christmas scene - a log fire, brightly decorated tree, classical music on the stereo. But appearances can be deceptive. Caroline Hartley, the beautiful young woman lying on the sofa, has been brutally murdered. For Chief Inspector Alan Banks, the former Londoner who is finally beginning to feel at home in Yorkshire, the case is new but the emotions it evokes - anger, outrage, a sense of loss - are familiar. For Detective Constable Susan Gay, newly promoted to detective, her ...
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Past Reason Hated (Inspector Alan Banks Series #5)

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It looks and sounds like a traditional Christmas scene - a log fire, brightly decorated tree, classical music on the stereo. But appearances can be deceptive. Caroline Hartley, the beautiful young woman lying on the sofa, has been brutally murdered. For Chief Inspector Alan Banks, the former Londoner who is finally beginning to feel at home in Yorkshire, the case is new but the emotions it evokes - anger, outrage, a sense of loss - are familiar. For Detective Constable Susan Gay, newly promoted to detective, her first homicide will be one she'll never forget. As she probes into the life of Caroline Hartley, she also learns something about her own pride and weakness. Who was Caroline, and how did she come to be murdered on a snowy evening just three days before Christmas? Alan Banks and Susan Gay find a multitude of suspects as they begin to uncover the unusual and disturbing past of an intensely private woman for whom secrecy was a way of life. The manager of an elegant cafe, Caroline in her spare time performed with the Eastvale Amateur Dramatic Society. In her private life, she lived quietly and shared her home with her friend Veronica Shildon. Caroline had several visitors on the night she died. One of them killed her. A suspenseful and shocking tale of family secrets, hidden passions, and desperate violence, Past Reason Hated is the most powerful novel yet from an author who is justly likened by the critics to such classic mystery greats as Ruth Rendell and Reginald Hill.

The winner of the Crime Writers of Canada's Best Novel Award returns with another Inspector Banks mystery. Assisting Chief Inspector Banks in the murder investigation of an amateur actress is newly promoted Detective Constable Susan Gay. It's her first homicide case, and one she'll never forget.

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Editorial Reviews

Robinson deserves kudos.
St. Petersburg Times
Immensely satisfying.
Washington Post Book World
Fans of P.D. James and Ruth Rendell who crave more contemporary themes than either master has provided of late should look no further than Peter Robinson.
Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
The inhabitants of Robinson's Yorkshire are a far cry from James Herriot's sturdy farmers. In this literate mystery, Chief Inspector Alan Banks must deal with the vicious stabbing death of a young lesbian in a room illuminated by the light of a crackling fire and a Christmas tree, the murder by starvation of an incestuous old lecher, the slashing to ribbons of a Twelfth Night cast's costumes and the near-fatal strangulation of his newest detective constable, Susan Gay. Banks, seen last in The Hanging Valley, subjects all potential suspects--including past and present spouses and lovers, a group of amateur thespians and members of the police force--to an extended (perhaps too extended) psychological investigation. The puzzle's grip is weakened by some unconvincing red herrings and the detectives' lengthy musings; nevertheless, Robinson, a Toronto resident and winner of the Crime Writers of Canada Best Novel award, creates an appealing Yorkshire setting with evocative descriptions of the wintry town, dales and seaside. ( Aug. )
Library Journal
The Canadian author of A Dedicated Man ( LJ 7/91) continues the Inspector Alan Banks series, set in Yorkshire, England. Banks and the female first-officer-on-the-scene delve into a viciously murdered woman's past.
Emily Melton
The latest in Robinson's Chief Inspector Alan Banks series has Banks and his newest CID trainee, Detective Constable Susan Gay, investigating the murder of beautiful amateur actress Caroline Hartley. Stabbed to death just before Christmas, Hartley could have been the victim of her lesbian lover's jealous ex-husband, a spurned boyfriend, a rival actress, or even her own brother, a nasty, hate-filled punk. For Detective Gay, the case is a chance to prove her professional mettle and earn points with her new supervisor. For Banks, it's just one more confirmation of the human race's predictability. Robinson's got police procedure down pat, and he always manages to come up with an intriguing cast of characters, a skillfully crafted plot, and a climax that's as surprising as it is satisfying. The fact that the murder victim is a lesbian is no more or less important to the story than if she had been a dancer or a carpenter, and the only reason for remarking on it is that Robinson's casual, matter-of-fact approach to this often sensationalized topic is a commendable one. Recommended for the well-rounded mystery collection.
From the Publisher
"Immensely satisfying." —St. Petersburg Times
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780380733286
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 10/28/2000
  • Series: Inspector Alan Banks Series, #5
  • Format: Mass Market Paperback
  • Edition description: Reissue
  • Pages: 384
  • Sales rank: 210,129
  • Product dimensions: 4.18 (w) x 6.75 (h) x 0.96 (d)

Meet the Author

Peter Robinson's award-winning Inspector Banks 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. Robinson was born and brought up in Yorkshire, and now divides his time between North America and the U.K.

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Read an Excerpt

Chapter One

Snow fell on Swainsdale for the first time that year a few days before Christmas. Out in the date, among the more remote farms and hamlets, the locals would be cursing. A heavy snowfall could mean lost sheep and blocked roads. In past years, some places had been cut off for as long as five weeks. But in Eastvale, most of those crossing the market square on the evening of December 22 felt a surge of joy as the fat flakes drifted down, glistening in the gaslight as they fell, to form a lumpy white carpet over the cobble-stones.

Detective Constable Susan Gay paused on her way back to the station from Joplin's newsagents. Outside the Norman church stood a tall Christmas tree, a gift from the Norwegian town with which Eastvale was twinned. The lights winked on and off, and its tapered branches bent under the weight of half an inch of snow. In front of the tree, a group of children in red choir-gowns stood singing "Once in Royal David's City." Their alto voices, fragile but clear, seemed especially fitting on such a beautiful winter's evening.

Susan tilted her head back and let the snowflakes melt on her eyelids. Two weeks ago she would not have allowed herself to do something so spontaneous and frivolous. But now that she was Detective Constable Gay, she could afford to relax a little. She had finished with courses and exams, at least until she tried for sergeant. Now there would be no more arguing with David Craig over who made the coffee. There would be no more walking the beat, either, and no more traffic duty on market day.

The music followed her as she headed back to the station:

And He leads His children on
To theplace where He is gone.

Directly in front of her, the new blue lamp hung like a shop-sign over the doorway of the Tudor-fronted Police station. In an attempt to change the public image of the force, tarnished by race riots, sex scandals and accusations of highlevel corruption, the government had looked to the past: more specifically, to the fifties. The lamp was straight out of "Dixon of Dock Green." Susan had never actually seen the program, but she understood the basic idea. The image of the kindly old copper on the beat had caused many a laugh around Eastvale Regional Headquarters. Would that life were as simple as that, they all said.

Her second day on the job and all was well. She pushed open the door and headed for the stairs. Upstairs! The inner sanctum of the CID. She had envied them all for so long--Gristhorpe, Banks, Richmond, even Hatchley--when she had brought coffee or messages, or stood by taking notes while they interrogated female suspects. No longer. She was one of them now, and she was about to show them that a woman could do the job every bit as well as a man, if not better.

She didn't have her own office; only Banks and Gristhorpe were allowed such luxuries. The hutch she shared with Richmond would have to do. It looked over the car-park out back, not the market square, but at least she had a desk, rickety though it was, and a filing cabinet of her own. She had inherited them from Sergeant Hatchley, now exiled to the coast, and the first thing she had had to do was rip down the nude pin-ups from the cork bulletin board above his desk. How anybody could work with those bloated mammaries hanging over them was beyond her.

About forty minutes later, after she had poured herself a cup of coffee to keep her awake while she studied the latest regional crime reports, the phone rang. It was Sergeant Rowe calling from the front desk.

"Someone just phoned in to report a murder," he said.

Susan felt the adrenalin flow. She grasped the receiver tighter. "Where?"

"Oakwood Mews. You know, those tarted-up bijou terraces back of King Street."

I know them. Any details?"

"Not much. It was a neighbor that called. Said the woman next door went rushing into the street screaming. She took her in but couldn't get much sense out of her except that her friend had been murdered."

"Did the neighbor take a look for herself?"

"No. She said she thought she'd better call us right away."

"Can you send PC Tolliver down there?" Susan asked. "Tell him to check out the scene without touching anything. And tell him to stay by the door and not let anyone in till we get there."

"Aye," said Rowe, "but shouldn't ---"

"What's the number?"



Susan hung up. Her heart beat fast. Nothing had happened in Eastvale for months--and now, only her second day on the new job, a murder. And she was the only member of the CID on duty that evening. Calm down, she told herself, follow procedure, do it right. She reached for her coat, still damp with snow, then hurried out the back way to the car-park. Shivering, she swept the snow off the windscreen of her red Golf and drove off as fast as the bad weather allowed.

Four and twenty virgins
Came down from Inverness,
And when the ball was over
There were four and twenty less.

"I think Jim's a bit pissed," Detective Chief Inspector Alan Banks leaned over and said to his wife, Sandra.

Sandra nodded. In a comer of the Eastvale Rugby Club banquet room, by the Christmas tree, Detective Sergeant Jim Hatchley stood with a group of cronies, all as big and brawny as himself. They looked like a parody of a group of carolsingers, Banks thought, each with a foaming pint in his hand. As they sang, they swayed. The other guests stood by the bar or sat at tables chatting over the noise. Carol Hatchley--née Ellis--the sergeant's blushing bride, sat beside her mother and fumed. The couple had just changed out of their wedding clothes into less formal attire in readiness for their honeymoon, but Hatchley, true to form, had insisted on just one more pint before they left. That one had quickly turned into two, then three....

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Table of Contents

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 7 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 7 Customer Reviews
  • Posted February 22, 2010

    Peter Robinson-Realistic, Entertaining, Grabs you and pulls you in. You wnat to keep reading. One of the best characters ever.

    After reading one of Peter Robinson's books, I purchased all of his titles and started from the beginning. Wonderful character development - great settings - provides first hand knowledge of how the British Police work. Presents a realistic story line and characters that are as ordinary as your next door neighbor and as extraordinary as any I've come across. I would put Peter Robinson on the same level as Jonathan & Faye Kellerman, James Patterson, Lee Child and John Sandford. If you like any of those authors you will like Peter Robinson.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted June 6, 2009

    I Also Recommend:

    Past Reason Hated Another Winner for Peter Robinson

    As always, Peter Robinson has revealed a little more about his protagonist, Chief Inspector Alan Banks, who is a beautifully executed blend of empathy and strength. Past Reason Hated is another novel in which Banks fights to understand and come to peace with his own nature. Robinson's plots are always very satisfying and his settings are haunting, remaining in my mind for a long time after I finish one of his novels.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 7, 2014


    Walks out.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted July 20, 2014

    Exciting read !

    I have read almost all of the Inspector Harry Banks books (2 left). When I first discovered him, the first six in the series had been available only in paper back, but have now all been released in e-book format, so I have been catching up. The story of Caroline Hartley and the forbidden love affair made me check out the original release date (2000). His stories are all fast paced and exciting. I do enjoy Peter Robinson's books, and his characters.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 27, 2014

    DCI Banks - Past Reason Hated

    This was kind of creepy, and kept you wondering right up to the end! I loved it!

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 5, 2014

    Somethings like friendships are too precious to lose of petty stupidness.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 18, 2014

    No text was provided for this review.

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