PETER ROBINSON – The Hanging Valley. Alan Banks #4. Charles Scribner’s Sons, US, hardcover, 1992. Berkley, US, paperback, 1994. First published in Canada by Viking, hardcover, 1989.

   Robinson’s Yorkshire detective, Chief Inspector Alan Banks, has gotten some pretty good ink from the critics. As a confirmed village mystery lover, I’d place him somewhere in the mid-ranks. Here, a faceless, maggot-ridden corpse is discovered in a tranquil valley. Links are suspected with the disappearance five years earlier of a private detective, still unsolved. The villagers aren’t talking. Eventually, the case takes Banks to Canada in search of the truth.

   I find Banks to be a moderately realistic, moderately engaging character, and Robinson’s writing to be quite good. There’s a very good story of an abused wife mixed in with the mystery, and the characterizations are well done. The ending is distinctly offbeat and unexpected. No raves, but a good solid read if you like village mysteries.

— Reprinted from Fireman, Fireman, Save My Books #5, January 1993.

Bibliographic Note:   Including Sleeping in the Ground, scheduled for publication in 2017, there are (or will be) 24 books in Peter Robinson’s Inspector Banks series.