From the New York Times bestselling author comes a riveting collection of short fiction, marked by the piercing psychological insight and brilliant characterization that are hallmarks of his acclaimed novels.
Ever since the publication of his first mystery featuring Detective Inspector Alan Banks, Peter Robinson has been steadily building a reputation for compulsively readable and perceptive novels that probe the dark side of human nature. Plumbing the territory that he has so successfully staked, The Price of Love and Other Stories includes two novellas and several stories featuring the Yorkshire policeman at his finest.
In the novella “Going Back,” never before published in the United States, Banks returns home for a family reunion, only to find it taking a decidedly sinister turn. In “Like a Virgin,” written especially for this volume, Banks revisits the period in his life and the terrible crime that led him to leave London for Eastvale. And in between, the disparate motives that move us to harm one another, from love and jealousy to greed and despair, are all explored with fascinating depth.
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About 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.
Read an Excerpt
An excerpt from the new novella about DCI Alan Banks, Like A Virgin, one of three stories about Banks in The Price of Love.
In the soft light of the red-shaded bulb that hung over the centre of the room, the girl’s body looked serene. She could easily have been sleeping, Banks thought, as he moved forward to get a better view of her. She lay on her back on the pink candlewick bedspread, covered from neck to toe by a white sheet, hands clasped together above the swell of her breasts in an attitude of prayer or supplication, her long dark hair spread out on the pillow. Her pale features were delicate and finely-etched, and Banks imagined she had been quite a beauty in life. He wondered what she had looked like when she smiled or frowned. Her hazel eyes were devoid of life now, her face free of makeup, and at first glance there wasn’t a mark on her. But when Banks peered closer, he could see the petechial hemorrhages, the tiny telltale dots of blood in her conjunctiva, a sign of death by asphyxia. There was no bruising on her neck, so he guessed suffocation rather than strangulation, but Dr. O’Grady, the Home Office pathologist who knelt beside her at his silent ministrations, would be able to tell him more after his in situ examination.
The room was small and stuffy, but the Persian-style carpet and striped wallpaper gave it a homely touch. It seemed well-maintained, despite its location on the fringes of Soho. No sleazy backstreet hovel for this girl. The window hadn’t been open when Banks arrived, and he knew better than to tamper with the scene in any way, so he left it closed. There wasn’t much space for furniture — a small dressing table with mirror, a washstand in the corner next to the cubicle WC, and a bedside table, on which stood a chipped enamel bowl where a facecloth floated in discoloured water. In the drawer were condoms, tissues and an assortment of sex aids. Did she live here? Banks didn’t think so. There were no clothes and no cooking facilities.
The victim could have been anywhere between fifteen and twenty-five, Banks thought, and her youth certainly added to the aura of innocence that surrounded her in death. Whether she had appeared that way in life, he didn’t know, but he doubted it.
Someone had clearly gone to great pains to make her look innocent. Her legs were stretched out straight together, and even under the sheet she was fully dressed. Her clothes — a short skirt, patent leather high heels, dark tights and a green scallop-neck top — were provocative, but not too tarty. Much more tasteful than that. So what was it all about?
Her handbag contained the usual: cigarettes, a yellow disposable lighter, keys on a fluffy rabbit’s foot ring, makeup, tampons, a cheap ballpoint pen and a purse with a few pounds and some loose change. There was no address book or diary and no credit cards or identification of any kind. The only item Banks found of any interest was a creased photograph of a proud, handsome young man in what looked like his best suit, bouncing a little girl on his knee. There was a resemblance, and Banks guessed it was the victim and her father. According to the girlfriend who had found her, Jackie Simmons, the victim’s name was Pamela Morrison.
Banks went back to stand in the doorway. He had quickly learned that the fewer people who entered a room before the SOCOs got to work, the better. He was on detachment from Soho Division to the West Central Murder Squad. Everything was squads and specialists these days, and if you didn’t find your niche somewhere pretty fast, you soon became a general dogsbody. Nobody wanted that, especially Banks. He seemed to have a knack for ferreting out murderers, and luckily for him the powers that be in the Metropolitan Police Force agreed. So here he was. His immediate boss, Detective Superintendent Bernard Hatchard, was officially in charge of the investigation, of course, but he was so burdened by paperwork and public relations duties that he rarely left the station and was more than happy to leave the legwork to his DI and his oppo DS Ozzy Albright — as long as he got regular updates so he didn’t sound like a wanker in front of the media.
Banks liked the way things were, but lately he had started to feel the pressure. It wasn’t that there were more murders to deal with, simply that each one seemed to get to him more and take more out of him. But there was no going back. That way lay a desk piled with papers or, worse, traffic duty. He would just have to push on through whatever it was that was dragging him down, keeping him awake at night, making him neglect his family, drink and smoke too much . . . the litany went on.
Harry Beckett, the police photographer was next to arrive, and he went about his business with the usual professional detachment, as if he were photographing a wedding. Dr. O’Grady, who had been called from a formal dinner at the Soho Club, not far away, finally finished his examination, stood up and gave a weary sigh. His knees cracked as he moved.
“I’m getting too old for this, Banks,” he said. And he was looking old, Banks thought. Neat but thinning grey hair, the veins around his nose red and purple, perhaps due to his known fondness for fine claret.
“Any idea when she might have been killed?” Banks asked.
“Somehow, I knew you’d ask me that first,” the doctor said. “None of this is written in stone, mind you, especially given the temperature in the room, but judging by the rigor I’d say she’s been dead since last night, say between ten and one in the morning.”
Table of Contents
Introduction Cornelius Jubb The Magic of Your Touch The Eastvale Ladies’ Poker Circle The Ferryman’s Beautiful Daughter Walking the Dog Blue Christmas Shadows on the Water The Cherub Affair The Price of Love Birthday Dance Like a Virgin Notes
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Peter Robinson has become one of my very favorite writers and his books have a prominent spot on my library shelf. This book of short stories has given me much pleasure. As always, Mr. Robinson creates marvelous characters, unusual twists and the I couldn't put the book down until I had read every story!
This twelve story collection proves Peter Robinson has a wider range than just the Banks police procedural novels though the great Detective Inspector stars in some of the entries. Banks stars in two bookend novellas, "Going Back" which affirms you can go home even when it turns nasty and "Like a Virgin" in which he left London for Eastvale following a horrific crime he investigated. Both are terrific as are banks' short entries. However what make the anthology even more engaging is the other stories that run the gamut of time and place. During WWII in Yorkshire, Black American GI "Cornelius Jubb" is accused of rape more so because of the color of his skin; also in WW II, but on the continent a soldier relates his fears as "Shadows on the Water" has him wondering whether he has the red badge of courage. In "The Cherub Affair" a Noir downtrodden tough guy private eye hooks up with a femme fatale in need. With a suspense that crosses into horror and two more Banks shorts, THE PRICE OF LOVE AND OTHER STORIES is a winner especially for fans of the Yorkshire DCI as "Like a Virgin" is new and "Going Back" never published in America. Harriet Klausner
Peter Robinson is one of my favourite mystery authors. His Inspector Banks series now numbers 19! The Price of Love is a collection of short stories released by McClelland and Stewart. When I started to read, I planned to read one or two, put the book down and come back to it -that's the beauty of a short story collection. Unfortunately, this book was like a bag of chips for me - I couldn't read just one or two, but had to finish it off . And it was done too quickly and I wanted more!There are two Banks stories and a novella included. One is a great Christmas tale originally published in a small run of 350 as a gift to a publisher's friends. The novella fills in the Bank's jump from London to Eastvale. As always, the crimes are interesting and well plotted. But it is the character development that makes this series such an addicting read. Banks is human, fallible and it has been fascinating over the years to watch his life unfold.It was intriguing to read stories told in a different voice than Banks. Many were originally published in anthologies Robinson has participated in . There are afternotes at the end explaining the origins of each tale. They range from a WWII soldier falsely accused of murder and the investigator powerless to stop the wheels of justice. Shadows on the Water has a WWII soldiers telling childhood stories while hiding in their trenches. The ending caught me completely unawares. Robinson always includes many references to music in his writing. (Check out the playlists he has compiled for the Banks books) The Magic of Your Touch is a chilling little tale dealing with the songwriting process. One of my favourites was Walking the Dog - a wronged spouse and the revenge they take. All in all, there wasn't one I didn't enjoy!Robinson currently lives in Toronto, Canada and it's always a thrill to read of locales you've visited yourself. College Ave, Danforth and The Beaches provide some of the settings for stories.Robinson is a consummate storyteller. Fans new and old will want to add this one to their collection
pretty good stories. early inspector banks drank way too much, cheated on wifey and seems really unhappy.
These are some of the best short stories I have come across. Extremely well written.
Great short stories and I loved revisiting Banks.