10 September 2010

Review: ALL THE COLOURS OF DARKNESS, Peter Robinson

Hodder & Stoughton,2008
ISBN 978-0-340-83693-4
407 pages

A group of children playing in the woods in the Yorkshire Dales discovers a man's body hanging from a tree. Mark Hardcastle, theatre set designer, appears to have committed suicide after killing his lover Laurence Silbert.

DI Annie Cabbot's investigation is complicated by the fact that her boss DCI Alan Banks is having a weekend in London with his girlfriend, and that the Chief Constable, a friend of Silbert's, wants unsavoury details hushed up. Banks is not happy when Superintendent Gervaise insists he is called back early. However when he begins to uncover details, Gervaise is far from happy about the direction the investigation is taking.

The Chief Constable, in response to pressure from higher up, insists that the investigation be wrapped up quickly. Banks however becomes convinced that he is under observation, that there is more to know about Silbert, and, as Gervaise knows, telling him to stop just ensures he will ignore orders. She tells Banks to resume his holidays, and to leave the final details to Annie Cabbot. Which of course he can't do.

It occurred to me, as I read on, that the plot line of the high level detective coming under threat because he won't abandon an investigation is wearing a bit thin. We've seen it used in many other novels - Frost, Harry Hole, and Kurt Wallander, just to name a few that come quickly to mind. But somehow for me that doesn't really detract from the fine plotting in this novel. Banks eventually comes up with a plausible explanation for the murder/suicide after a couple of stuttering and implausible theories. Annie Cabbot, as usual, is drawn in by the charisma of her boss, and puts her career, and her life, on the line.

It always amazes me that Robinson, after all a Canadian, writes such an English novel. And what is it about Yorkshire? Robinson novels are set largely in Yorkshire and London, Reginald Hill's Dalziel & Pascoe are set in Yorkshire. And also, Wingfield's novels are set nearby in the Midlands.Yorkshire must rival Midsomer for murder capital of the world!

ALL THE COLOURS OF DARKNESS seems even more littered than usual with references to Banks' musical taste, and even with references to other writers and their novels. Here are the songs mentioned.

A very acceptable read. My rating: 4.6

Other reviews to check:
ALL THE COLOURS OF DARKNESS was longlisted for the 2010 Theakstons Old Peculier Crime Novel of the Year.
See also my review of  FRIEND OF THE DEVIL

Peter Robinson's Inspector Banks site.

7 comments:

Margot Kinberg said...

Kerrie - Thanks for this review - terrific as ever. I'm glad you liked this one. I noticed, too, about the detective-under-fire element to the plot, but that didn't bother me much, either. And I admit, I like the character of Annie Cabbot.

Jose Ignacio Escribano said...

Thnaks for your review Kerrie. I should try Peter Robinson

Dorte H said...

Actually I have thought about reading some more Peter Robinson stories because they are set in Yorkshire. But to be honest I wasn´t thrilled about the one Peter Robinson I read, and the Dalziel and Pascoe series is not really me either.

So I suppose I will just have to research Yorkshire in other ways.

Martin Edwards said...

Although he has lived a long time in Canada, Peter Robinson is, in fact, a Yorkshireman by birth. A terrific writer.

Heartbeatoz said...

I was born in Yorkshire and though you leave it, Yorkshire never leaves you.

Yorkshire has some magnificent wild scenery just right for for lurking and broody Murderer's just think of Heathcliff stalking the Moors and Dracula haunting Whitby plus the City's are a multicultural plethora just waiting to explode.

I've read some of Peter's earlier books and liked them plus I am a sucker for Dalziel & Pascoe and I've just listened to and thoroughly enjoyed the Audio version of "The Death of Dalziel" narrated by Shaun Dooley.

BooksPlease said...

I had mixed feelings about this one. I had difficulty believing the spy element, but I did enjoy Robinson's writing.

Evelyn said...

I'm kind of curious about the writing and I was intrigued by the title. Hmmm...

Good and thorough review! Thanks! :)

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