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Cold Is the Grave (Inspector Alan Banks Series #11)

Cold Is the Grave (Inspector Alan Banks Series #11)

3.3 4
by Peter Robinson

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Detective Chief Inspector Alan Banks' life is shaken to the core when he is unexpectedly pulled into the investigation of a young girl's disappearance in this shattering suspense novel from the hand of a modern master.

“Full of twists and surprises....Robinson shows he has only begun to dig into the personality of his tenacious, thoughtful


Detective Chief Inspector Alan Banks' life is shaken to the core when he is unexpectedly pulled into the investigation of a young girl's disappearance in this shattering suspense novel from the hand of a modern master.

“Full of twists and surprises....Robinson shows he has only begun to dig into the personality of his tenacious, thoughtful inspector.”—Chicago Tribune

When the nude photo of a teenage runaway shows up on a website, the girl's father turns to Detective Chief Inspector Alan banks for help. But these aren’t unusual circumstances, for the runaway is the daughter of a man who's determined to destroy the dedicated Yorkshire policeman's career and good name. Still, it’s a case that Banks—a father himself—dares not ignore as he follows its trail into teeming London. But when a series of gruesome murders follows soon after, Banks finds himself pulled into the past and private world of his most powerful enemy, Chief Constable Jimmy Riddle.

Peter Robinson is at the height of his storytelling skills in this twisting novel of suspense that proves one can never escape their pasts—especially when there are sordid secrets waiting to be revealed.

Editorial Reviews

Our Review
Aiding the Enemy
Cold Is the Grave is the 11th entry in Peter Robinson's increasingly popular Alan Banks series and a highly satisfactory successor to last year's Edgar-nominated and Anthony Best-Novel winner, In a Dry Season. Unlike its predecessor, whose plot turned on a crime committed more than 40 years earlier, Cold Is the Grave is a sharply contemporary account of murder and its aftermath. At the same time, it features a gallery of characters whose lives have been shaped -- and sometimes warped -- by the accidents, errors, and omissions of the distant past.

The story begins when Inspector Alan Banks, a senior investigator for the Yorkshire Police Department, reluctantly agrees to come to the aid of Chief Constable Jeremiah Riddle, his superior officer and longtime personal enemy. Riddle's daughter Emily, a troubled, sexually active 16-year-old, has recently run off to London. When Riddle encounters nude photos of her on a pornographic web site, he enlists Banks's assistance in tracking his daughter down. In short order, Banks locates Emily, who has gotten involved with a slick, vicious gangster named Barry Clough. When Clough's penchant for sadistic games proves too much for Emily to take, she turns to Banks, who promptly restores her to her anxious, dysfunctional family. From this point forward, the lives of the various participants rapidly begin to unravel.

One month after returning home, Emily is murdered. Alan Banks, whose personal history is filled with the memories of people he failed to save, now adds Emily's name to that ever-growing list. The subsequent investigation leads him in a number of directions, from the clandestine society of modern pirates like Barry Clough (who has made a sizable fortune mass-producing bootlegged copies of music, software, and video games) to the twisted family history of Jeremiah Riddle, whose wife, Rosalind, has more than her share of volatile, closely guarded secrets. The result is a deeply felt, cumulatively involving novel in which a number of competing narrative threads move slowly toward a satisfying, unexpected conclusion.

Cold Is the Grave offers all the traditional pleasures of a solidly constructed mystery and an authentically detailed police procedural. It also offers something deeper and more subtle: a portrait of a family gradually destroyed by a fatal combination of rage, madness, and blind ambition. The result of all this is a thoughtful, intelligent thriller that entertains and enlightens, that explores, with equal facility, the criminal underworld of modern England and the darker realities of everyday family life.

--Bill Sheehan

Toby Bromberg
As tragic and complex as a Shakes-pearean drama, Cold is The Grave is a brilliant tour-de-force. Robinson begins by telling a straightforward mystery that slowly evolves into a compelling work examining human emotions, ideals, and beliefs.
Romantic Times
Chicago Tribune
Full of twists and surprises....Robinson shows he has only begun to dig into the personality of his tenacious, thoughtful inspector.
Boston Globe
I thought In A Dry Season was his best until I finished COLD IS THE GRAVE. Each of his books takes me deeper into Banks's world.
Houston Chronicle
A winner....returning to the world of Banks is, as always, a pleasure..
San Antonio Express-News
With the fading of P.D. James and Ruth Rendell, British crime fiction needs a new leader. Peter Robinson may be the next top gun.
St. Louis Post-Dispatch
Superbly crafted.
Times Record News
...a page turner. Expect to stay up late. It's very hard to put down.
Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
This 11th book about Yorkshire police officer Alan Banks is disappointing after 1999's Edgar-nominee, In a Dry Season, but contains enough elements of the familiar formula to satisfy dedicated fans. DCI Banks, his romance with police colleague Annie Cabbot having cooled off, is seriously thinking of asking his wife, Sandra, to end their separation and give the marriage another try. He's also applied to the National Crime Squad to escape his loathsome boss, Chief Constable Riddle. But just as Banks is packing for a weekend train jaunt to Paris, the wretched Riddle calls to ask a favor. Riddle's nine-year-old son, snooping around on the Internet, has come upon a naked picture of his 16-year-old sister, Emily, who ran away from home and disappeared into the London drugs and smut cesspool. Despite their mutual hatred, Banks--realizing what it took for Riddle to ask for his help in finding the girl--just can't refuse. This part of the story works well; Robinson makes no attempt to soften the nastiness of the stupid, resentful and politically ambitious Riddle or the apparent coldness of Riddle's wife. But things begin to get more complicated--and less believable--when the powerful London criminal with whom Emily has been living appears to be implicated in murder and business fraud in Yorkshire. Too many plot coincidences and clich s (a man is described as being "bald as a coot" twice) finally work against Robinson's greatest strength: his ability to keep Banks an interesting, realistic and changing human being. Agent, Dominick Abel. 6-city author tour. (Oct.) Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.|
Library Journal
Fans of British police procedurals who have not yet discovered Robinson are in for a treat. His Inspector Banks series combine intricate, intriguing plots with complex characters and bleakly beautiful Yorkshire settings. In this follow-up to the Edgar-nominated In a Dry Season, detective chief inspector Alan Banks has been asked by his boss and nemesis, chief constable Jimmy Riddle, to find his runaway 16-year-old daughter, Emily, after discovering nude photos of her on a porn web site. At the same time, Banks is struggling to decide whether to reconcile with his estranged wife, Sandra, or to reignite his relationship with Annie Cabot, his partner on a previous case. While it is a bit hard to believe that a police chief with all the resources available to him would wait six months to look for his missing daughter (Robinson's explanation that the politically ambitious Riddle is afraid of the public scandal doesn't quite ring true), once Banks begins his search into London's seamy underbelly, all doubts are suspended, and the reader is hooked. A great read for those dark and stormy nights. [Previewed in Prepub Alert, LJ 6/15/00.]--Wilda Williams, "Library Journal" Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
Fresh from his plunge into the murky waters of history (In a Dry Season, 1999), Robinson proves that presentday England can be equally enigmatic and equally disturbing. The case begins with that staple of mystery fiction, the missing daughter; the twist this time is that Emily Riddle, whose nude photo has just appeared on the Internet, is the daughter of Chief Inspector Alan Banks's mortal enemy, North Yorkshire Chief Constable Jeremiah Riddle. It isn't long before Banks finds the runaway teenager keeping company with the dangerously unsuitable London impresario Barry Clough, and finds her, after some initial resistance, surprisingly ready to return home with him. But the sequel—which begins with the murder of a petty crook–turned–night watchman the very night one of the businesses whose premises he's supposed to be minding packs up and vanishes more smartly than Emily Riddle ever managed—soon entangles the whole Riddle family in sordid revelations. And the news close to home is nearly as bad. Banks, struggling to keep the faith with both the girl he brought home and the superior he continues to detest, finds himself locked into a lie that sets him against Sgt. Annie Cabot—his assistant on the case and exlover—each wasting valuable energy nurturing suspicions of the other when they should both be digging still deeper in the Riddles' bottomless closet.

Product Details

HarperCollins Publishers
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Inspector Alan Banks Series , #11
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Read an Excerpt

Chapter 1

"Mummy! Mummy! Come here."

Rosalind carried on stuffing the wild mushroom, olive oil, garlic and parsley mixture between the skin and the flesh of the chicken, the way she had learned in her recent course on the art of French cuisine. "Mummy can't come right now," she shouted back. "She's busy."

"But, Mummy! You've got to come. It's our lass."

Where on earth did he learn such common language? Rosalind wondered. Every term they forked out a fortune in fees to send him to the best school Yorkshire had to offer, and still he ended up sounding like some vulgar tyke. Perhaps if they lived down south again, the situation would improve. "Benjamin," she called back. "I told you. Mummy's busy. Daddy has an important dinner tonight and Mummy has to prepare."

Rosalind didn't mind cooking — in fact, she had taken several courses and quite enjoyed them — but just for a moment, as she spoke, she wished she had been able to say that "cook" was preparing the meal and that she was busy deciding what to wear. But they had no cook, only a cleaning lady who came in once a week. It wasn't that they couldn't afford it, but simply that her husband drew the line at such extravagance. Honestly, Rosalind sometimes thought, anyone would imagine he was a born Yorkshireman himself instead of just living here.

"But it is her!" Benjamin persisted. "It's our lass. She's got no clothes on."

Rosalind frowned and put aside her knife. What on earth could he be talking about? Benjamin was only eight, and she knew from experience that he had a very active imagination. She even worried that it might hold him back in life.Overimaginative types, she had found, tend toward idleness and daydreaming; they don't get on with more profitable activities.

"Mummy, hurry up!"

Rosalind felt just the slightest tingle of apprehension, as if something were about to change forever in her universe. Shaking off the feeling, she wiped her hands of the oily stuffing, took a quick sip of gin and tonic, then walked toward the study, where Benjamin had been playing on the computer. As she did so, she heard the front door open and her husband call out that he was home. Early. She frowned. Was he checking up on her?

Ignoring him for the moment, she went to see what on earth Benjamin was talking about.

"Look," the boy said as she walked into the room. "It is our lass." He pointed at the computer screen.

"Don't talk like that," Rosalind said. "I've told you before. It's common."

Then she looked.

At first, she was simply shocked to see the screen filled with the image of a naked woman. How had Benjamin stumbled onto such a site? He wasn't even old enough to understand what he had found.

Then, as she leaned over his shoulder and peered more closely at the screen, she gasped. He was right. She was looking at a picture of her daughter, Emily, naked as the day she was born, but with considerably more curves, a tattoo and a wispy patch of blond pubic hair between her legs. That it was her Emily, there was no mistake; the teardrop-shaped birthmark on the inside of her left thigh proved it.

Rosalind ran her hand through her hair. What was this all about? What was happening? She glanced briefly at the URL on top of the screen. She had a photographic memory, so she knew she wouldn't forget it.

"See," said Benjamin. "It is our lass, isn't it. What's she doing without any clothes on, Mummy?"

Then Rosalind panicked. My God, he mustn't see this. Emily's father. He mustn't be allowed to see it. It would destroy him. Quickly, she reached toward the mouse, but before her fingers could click on it, a deep voice behind her told her it was too late.

"What on earth's going on?" he asked mildly, putting a fatherly hand on his son's shoulder.

Then, after the briefest of silences, Rosalind heard the sharp intake of breath and knew that he had the answer.

His hand tightened and Benjamin flinched. "Daddy, you're hurting me."

But Chief Constable Jeremiah Riddle was oblivious to his son's pain. "My God!" he gasped, pointing at the screen. "Is that who I think it is?"

Detective Chief Inspector Alan Banks paused over his holdall, wondering whether he should take the leather jacket or the Windcheater. There wasn't room for both. He wasn't sure how cold it would be. Probably no different from Yorkshire, he guessed. At most, perhaps a couple of degrees warmer. Still, you never could tell with November. In the end, he decided he could take both. He folded the Windcheater and put it on top of the shirts he had already packed, then he pressed down hard on the contents before dragging the reluctant zip shut. It seemed a lot for just one weekend away from home, but it all fitted into one not-too-heavy bag. He would wear his leather jacket on the journey.

All he had to do now was choose a book and a few tapes. He probably wouldn't need them, but he didn't like to travel anywhere without something to read and something to listen to in case of delays or emergencies.

It was a lesson he had learned the hard way, having once spent four hours in the casualty department of a large London hospital on a Saturday night waiting to have six stitches sewn beside his right eye. All that time, he had held the gauze pad to stanch the bleeding and watched the endless supply of drug overdoses, attempted suicides, heart-attack victims and road accidents going in before him. That their wounds were far more serious and merited more urgent treatment than his minor cut, Banks never had a moment's doubt, but he wished to hell there had been something to read in the dingy waiting area other than a copy of the previous day's Daily Mirror. The person who had read it before him had even filled in the crossword. In ink.

Meet 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.

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Cold Is the Grave (Inspector Alan Banks Series #11) 3.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 4 reviews.
harstan More than 1 year ago
Chief Constable Jimmy Riddle 'asks' a member of his staff, Yorkshire Detective Chief Inspector Alan Banks, to discreetly do him a favor. Alan would relish telling his detestable boss to shove it because Jimmy has all but destroyed his career. However, discretion being more important than a trip to Paris and the fact that Jimmy has just about groveled, Alan finally agrees to help.

Jimmy's preadolescent son has found a nude picture of his teenage older sister Emily, a runaway, on the net. Jimmy wants Alan to insure his daughter is safe and to ask if she would like to come home. Alan, accompanied by his former lover Sergeant Annie Cabot, quickly finds Emily amidst two of London's strong pillars: the drug and porno scenes. Alan succeeds in escorting the sixteen-year-old back to the nest, but a murder soon finds the DCI investigating a case tied back to Chief Constable Riddle and his now united family.

COLD IN THE GRAVE is an entertaining Alan Banks police procedural that die-hard fans of English investigative novels will enjoy. Banks retains that freshness that marks him as one of the best police charcaters of the last few years. However, the story line, though well written and exciting, depends too heavily on incidents that forces the reader to accept leaps of faith. Having Annie work with Alan may seem contrived yet their professional relationship adds sexual tension and causes intriguing stumbles to the investigation. Although not quite as good as the previous tale (IN A DRY SEASON), Peter Robinson's latest story can be banked on for providing a novel that series readers will still enjoy.

Harriet Klausner

Anonymous More than 1 year ago
It's as though the author is padding to increase the page count. Who cares what music every character listens to, much less what opinion the protagonist has about the selections? It's apparently mandatory to establish the character of the protagonist by informing the reader which Scotch the hero drinks, in this case, innumerable times. The author has failed to establish a vivid hero; he simply hopes we will infer personality. Actually, he prefers not to let the reader discover the hero's character and personality but, instead, tells us outright the hero's psychology. He doesn't stop with the hero, but extends this technique to the inevitable love-interest sidekick. Again, the author tells us her point of view instead of drawing her character through words and deeds. Telling us she liked completing a certain task as much as she did a visit to her gynecologist simply reinforced the two-dimensional portrait. And...spoiler alert...his description of her memories of being raped are not only hackneyed, but not needed to advance the plot. As much as I wanted to find out who did it, I put the book down after reading only half because I could not bear to spend any more time on this by-the-numbers book. In spite of an intriguing plot this book, like the others in this series, is a big yawn.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago