Wednesday's Child (Inspector Alan Banks Series #6)

( 3 )


When two social workers, investigating reports of child abuse, appear at Brenda Scupham's door, her fear of authority leads her to comply meekly with their requests. Even when they say they must take her seven-year old daughter away for tests.

Brenda Scupham, an unemployed single mother, doesn't question the well-dressed couple who claim to be social workers investigating allegations of abuse. When they say they have to take her daughter away, Brenda lets them. Now,...

See more details below
Paperback (Mass Market Paperback - Reprint)
$7.99 price

Pick Up In Store

Reserve and pick up in 60 minutes at your local store

Other sellers (Paperback)
  • All (46) from $1.99   
  • New (11) from $3.96   
  • Used (35) from $1.99   
Wednesday's Child (Inspector Alan Banks Series #6)

Available on NOOK devices and apps  
  • NOOK Devices
  • Samsung Galaxy Tab 4 NOOK 7.0
  • Samsung Galaxy Tab 4 NOOK 10.1
  • NOOK HD Tablet
  • NOOK HD+ Tablet
  • NOOK eReaders
  • NOOK Color
  • NOOK Tablet
  • Tablet/Phone
  • NOOK for Windows 8 Tablet
  • NOOK for iOS
  • NOOK for Android
  • NOOK Kids for iPad
  • PC/Mac
  • NOOK for Windows 8
  • NOOK for PC
  • NOOK for Mac
  • NOOK for Web

Want a NOOK? Explore Now

NOOK Book (eBook)
$11.99 price

All Available Formats & Editions


When two social workers, investigating reports of child abuse, appear at Brenda Scupham's door, her fear of authority leads her to comply meekly with their requests. Even when they say they must take her seven-year old daughter away for tests.

Brenda Scupham, an unemployed single mother, doesn't question the well-dressed couple who claim to be social workers investigating allegations of abuse. When they say they have to take her daughter away, Brenda lets them. Now, she realizes she has made a terrible mistake. From the author of Past Reason Hated.

Read More Show Less

Editorial Reviews

San Diego Union-Tribune
“A gripping thriller.”
Toronto Globe and Mail
his best work yet ... You really won’t put this one down until the final paragraph.”
Virginian Pilot and Ledger-Star
“An exceptional novel ... Wednesday’s Child is Robinson’s best.”
Toronto Globe and Mail
his best work yet ... You really won’t put this one down until the final paragraph.”
San Diego Union-Tribune
“A gripping thriller.”
Virginian Pilot and Ledger-Star
“An exceptional novel ... WEDNESDAY’S CHILD is Robinson’s best.”
Emily Melton
Robinson may be one of the most underrated writers of British mysteries today. His hero, Detective Chief Inspector Alan Banks, is a thoughtful, intelligent, humane cop who often doubts his ability to cope successfully with the demands of career, marriage, and parenthood. Robinson's descriptions of police procedures are thorough and knowledgeable, and he paints a lively, vivid picture of rural Yorkshire. Best of all, in each successive book, Robinson shows real growth in the complexity of his characters, in his creative, thought-provoking plots, and in the philosophical battles Banks wages in dealing with crime both petty and vicious. Here Banks is investigating the kidnapping of seven-year-old Gemma Scupham, who has been taken from her neglectful mum by two people posing as social workers. It's as if the child had disappeared from the face of the earth; but despite the lack of clues and the daunting possibility that Gemma is already dead, Banks pokes and prods, questions and probes, until the pieces start to fall together and he finds himself confronting one of the most ruthless villains he has encountered in his entire career. Provocative, mesmerizing, and memorable, this chilling story is a must for mystery collections of every size.
From the Publisher
"A gripping thriller." —San Diego Union-Tribune
Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780380820498
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 4/28/2002
  • Series: Inspector Alan Banks Series, #6
  • Format: Mass Market Paperback
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 336
  • Sales rank: 265,478
  • Product dimensions: 4.18 (w) x 6.75 (h) x 0.84 (d)

Meet the Author

One of the world's most popular and acclaimed writers, Peter Robinson grew up in the United Kingdom, and now divides his time between Toronto and England. 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.

Read More Show Less

Read an Excerpt

Chapter One

The room was a tip, the woman a slattern. On the floor, near the door to the kitchen, a child's doll with one eye missing lay naked on its back, right arm raised above its head. The carpet around it was so stained with ground-in mud and food, it was hard to tell what shade of brown it had been originally. High in one corner, by the front window, pale flowered wallpaper had peeled away from a damp patch. The windows were streaked with grime, and the flimsy orange curtains needed washing.

When Detective Chief Inspector Alan Banks perched at the edge of the scuffed olive-green armchair, he felt a spring dig into the back of his left thigh. He noticed Detective Constable Susan Gay turn up her nose as she looked at a garish oil painting of Elvis Presley above the mantelpiece. “The King” was wearing a jeweled white cape with a high collar and held a microphone in his ringed hand.

In contrast to the shabby decor, a compact music center in mint condition stood against one wall, a green-and-yellow budgie in a cage nonchalantly sharpened its bill on a cuttlefish, and an enormous matte black color television blared out from one corner. “Blockbusters” was on, and Banks heard Bob Holness ask, “What ‘B' is the name of an African country bordering on South Africa?”

“Could you turn the sound down, please, Mrs. Scupham?” Banks asked the woman.She looked at him blankly at first, as if she didn't understand his request, then she walked over and turned off the TV altogether. “You can call me Brenda,” she said when she sat down again.

Banks took a closer look ather. In her late twenties, with long dirty-blonde hair showing dark roots, she possessed a kind of blowzy sexuality that hinted at concupiscent pleasure in bed. It was evident in the languor of her movements, the way she walked as if she were in a hot and humid climate.

She was a few pounds overweight, and her pink poloneck sweater and black mini-skirt looked a size too small. Her full, pouty lips were liberally coated in scarlet lipstick, which matched her long, painted fingernails, and her vacuous, pale blue eyes, surrounded by matching eye-shadow, made Banks feel he had to repeat every question he asked.

Seeing the ashtray on the scratched coffee-table in front of him, Banks took out his cigarettes and offered the woman one. She accepted, leaning forward and holding back her hair with one hand as he lit it for her. She blew the smoke out through her nose, emulating some star she had seen in a film. He lit a cigarette himself, mostly to mask the peculiar smell, redolent of boiled cabbage and nail-polish remover, that permeated the room.

“When did you first get the feeling something was wrong?” he asked her.She paused and frowned, then answered in a low voice, husky from too many cigarettes. “Just this afternoon. I phoned them, and they said they'd never heard of Mr. Brown and Miss Peterson.”

“And you got worried?”


“Why did you wait so long before checking up?”

Brenda paused to draw on her cigarette. “I don't know,” she said. “I thought she'd be all right, you know....”

“But you could have called this morning. That's when they said they'd bring her back, isn't it?”

“Yes. I don't know. I suppose so. I just...besides, I'd got things to do.”

“Did the visitors show you any identification?”

“They had cards, like, all official.”

“What did the cards say?”

Mrs. Scupham turned her head to one side, showing only her profile. “I didn't really get a good look. It all happened so fast.”

“Did the cards have photographs on them?”

“No, I don't think so. I'm sure I would have noticed.”

“What exactly did they say to you?” Banks asked.

“They told me their names and said they was from the social, like, and then they showed their cards...”

“This was at the door, before you let them in?”

“Yes. And then they said they'd come to see me about my Gemma. Well, I had to let them in, didn't I? They were from the authorities.”

Her voice cracked a little when she mentioned her daughter's name, and she sucked her lower lip. Banks nodded. “What happened next?”

“When I let them in, they said they'd had reports of Gemma being...well, being abused...”

“Did they say where they'd heard this?”

She shook her head.

“Didn't you ask them?”

“I didn't think to. They seemed so...I mean, he was wearing a nice suit and his hair was all short and neatly brushed down, and she was dressed proper smart, too. They just seemed so sure of themselves. I didn't think to ask anything.”

“Was there any truth in what they said?”

Mrs. Scupham flushed. “Of course not. I love my Gemma. I wouldn't harm her.”

“Go on,” Banks said. “What did they say next?”

“That's about it really. They said they had to take her in, just overnight, for some tests and examinations, and if everything was all right they'd bring her back this morning, just like I told you on the phone. When they didn't come, I got so worried...I...How could anyone do something like that, steal someone else's child?”

Banks could see the tears forming in her eyes. He knew there was nothing he could say to console her. In fact, the best thing he could do was keep quiet about how bloody stupid she'd been, and not ask her if she hadn't heard about the cases, just a few years ago, when bogus social workers had visited homes all around England with stories just like the one they'd given her...

Wednesday's Child. Copyright © by Peter Robinson. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.
Read More Show Less

Table of Contents

Read More Show Less

Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 3 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star


4 Star


3 Star


2 Star


1 Star


Your Rating:

Your Name: Create a Pen Name or

Barnes & Review Rules

Our reader reviews allow you to share your comments on titles you liked, or didn't, with others. By submitting an online review, you are representing to Barnes & that all information contained in your review is original and accurate in all respects, and that the submission of such content by you and the posting of such content by Barnes & does not and will not violate the rights of any third party. Please follow the rules below to help ensure that your review can be posted.

Reviews by Our Customers Under the Age of 13

We highly value and respect everyone's opinion concerning the titles we offer. However, we cannot allow persons under the age of 13 to have accounts at or to post customer reviews. Please see our Terms of Use for more details.

What to exclude from your review:

Please do not write about reviews, commentary, or information posted on the product page. If you see any errors in the information on the product page, please send us an email.

Reviews should not contain any of the following:

  • - HTML tags, profanity, obscenities, vulgarities, or comments that defame anyone
  • - Time-sensitive information such as tour dates, signings, lectures, etc.
  • - Single-word reviews. Other people will read your review to discover why you liked or didn't like the title. Be descriptive.
  • - Comments focusing on the author or that may ruin the ending for others
  • - Phone numbers, addresses, URLs
  • - Pricing and availability information or alternative ordering information
  • - Advertisements or commercial solicitation


  • - By submitting a review, you grant to Barnes & and its sublicensees the royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable right and license to use the review in accordance with the Barnes & Terms of Use.
  • - Barnes & reserves the right not to post any review -- particularly those that do not follow the terms and conditions of these Rules. Barnes & also reserves the right to remove any review at any time without notice.
  • - See Terms of Use for other conditions and disclaimers.
Search for Products You'd Like to Recommend

Recommend other products that relate to your review. Just search for them below and share!

Create a Pen Name

Your Pen Name is your unique identity on It will appear on the reviews you write and other website activities. Your Pen Name cannot be edited, changed or deleted once submitted.

Your Pen Name can be any combination of alphanumeric characters (plus - and _), and must be at least two characters long.

Continue Anonymously
Sort by: Showing all of 3 Customer Reviews
  • Posted September 8, 2014

    From the Inspector Alan Banks series.

    The story of a seven year old little girl, Gemma Scupham, who was let go by her mother, with two strangers who claimed they were social workers. It's a sad story, where you can't help but dislike Brenda. Another well done book.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted June 27, 2014

    DCI Banks - Wednesday's Child

    This was another nail biter; loved the characters!

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 8, 2014

    No text was provided for this review.

Sort by: Showing all of 3 Customer Reviews

If you find inappropriate content, please report it to Barnes & Noble
Why is this product inappropriate?
Comments (optional)