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In A Dry Season (2000)

In A Dry Season (2000)
4.11 of 5 Votes: 4
0380794772 (ISBN13: 9780380794775)
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In A Dry Season (2000)
In A Dry Season (2000)

About book: http://talesfromfoxglovecottage.blogs..."In a Dry Season is a 1999 work by Peter Robinson and (I discovered after reading it) one of a series of novels featuring Inspector Alan Banks and set in the fictional town of Eastvale in Yorkshire.I was drawn to this book (I admit it) because I was intrigued by the photograph on the cover, of a winter tree and a church, almost fully submerged in water. Obviously a manipulated image, but intriguing nonetheless. My copy shows a 1940s bomber aircraft reflected in the flood-water, but this seems to have been removed from later editions. A quick search shows me the front covers of other editions: a painting of a submerged village in a valley, almost wholly obscured by writing (Canada); a rather dull picture of water and a ruin (also Canada); and the view down a hill of a row of old-fashioned English cottages, with a crackled effect on the paper to make it look aged (USA). None of these would have drawn me in.The text on the back of the book is short and to the point; an accurate summary of the opening of the mystery."During a blistering summer, drought has depleted the precious resources of Thornfield Reservoir, uncovering the remains of a small village called Hobb's End - hidden from view for over forty years. For a curious young boy this resurfaced hamlet has become a magical playground...until he unearths a human skeleton. Detective Chief Inspector Alan Banks, unpopular with his superiors for having challenged the system once too often, is given the impossible task of identifying the victim - a woman who lived in a place that no longer exists, whose former residents are scattered to the winds...".Also intriguing.And so I started reading.The text flits between wartime and the present day, the stories running quite quickly beside one another. I was drawn easily into the past, but felt some trepidation on meeting Inspector Banks. Experience has made me cautious. Should I just flick through and skip to the end? Or would this be worth a full reading? I decided to stick to my 50-page rule and continue on. And it didn't let me down... Read more at http://talesfromfoxglovecottage.blogs...

A reservoir in the Yorkshire Dales which was created in the 1950s by flooding a valley including a small village dries up in a long hot summer revealing the ruins of the houses and a skeleton. DCI Alan Banks, whose career is in the doldrums thanks to some unorthodox actions of his own and a chief constable who has taken a dislike to him, is tasked with investigating the case. It soon becomes clear that the skeleton couldn't have been put there any later than when the reservoir was created but some of the people involved, if it was murder, could still be alive.This is a gripping mystery which mixes narratives from the past and from the present. The reader has to work out how the narrative from the past fits with the evidence discovered in the present. Considering the past is narrated by a writer of fiction, maybe there isn't as much truth in it as the writer would like the reader to believe.Well written with believable and interesting characters, I found I had to keep reading until all had been revealed. I had worked out some of it but as ever this author continues to surprise me with ingenious solutions. I love the Yorkshire background to this series and I would recommend them to anyone who likes police procedural crime novels without too much violence.
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Robinson is always good, but this one to me wasn't as strong as others. For one he keeps flashing back to this character, supposedly hugely formative to his career decision, who we've never heard of before - Jem. Huh??? I also didn't buy into Sandra's little appearance - w/o calling, just showing up at the worst time and being a bit of a biotch. That was out of character and a bit too convenient (read: sloppy). I did enjoy progression of the back story (other than the Sandra appearance). But what dragged it down for me more than anything was that much of it was narrated by somebody else, and the narration was, I thought, simplistic, dull and by a character I didn't particularly like. He usually does better at developing things. But having said that, big WW II fans might get a kick out of it as it flashes back to the war.
This compelling mystery was rightly recommended by the English Mysteries group. I quit reading it near the beginning, partly because I didn't immediately care for either of the alternating narrators, but mostly because 2 of my least favorite crime-fiction cliches loomed: the schlumpy heavy-drinking workaholic middle-aged detective who's nevertheless a babe magnet, and the jealous vain paper-pushing boss who's out to get him. Everyone urged me to give this 10th book in the Inspector Banks series another chance, & as promised, it turned out to be fascinating. The World War II period detail alone is worth the read--reminiscent of Foyle's War in its homely comprehensiveness. And the cross-cutting between eras is deft and illuminating. Best of all, it's a gripping mystery!
David Proffitt
I have enjoyed the TV dramatization of these novels, but the character I am reading about in the books seems very different. Granted, I am not reading these books in any kind of order, so the ongoing themes and relationships are getting a little muddled, but the character on the page is much more likeable than his screen counterpart.“IN A Dry Season” sees our beleaguered Inspector at odds with the establishment and put on a case that is expected to be mundane and trivial. But where would the fun be in that? A sever drought the water levels of the Thornfield Reservoir drop, revealing what remains of the small village of Hobbs End. These events re always of interest, but when a young boy uncovers a human skeleton, things begin to change.Investigating a 40 year old murder is never easy, but when your superiors are determined to see you fail, it gets even harder. Even so, Banks and his new love interest, DC Cabbot, uncover a story of romance, intrigue and murder with more than a few red herrings and dead ends.In A Dry Season is everything I have come to expect from Peter Robinson: good plot, fast pace, believable characters and a twist in the tale to keep you guessing to the end.
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