Sleeping in the Ground

Written by Peter Robinson

Review written by Jennifer Palmer

Jennifer Palmer has read crime fiction since her teenage years & enjoys reviewing within the many sub-genres that now exist; as a historian who lectures on real life historical mysteries she particularly appreciates historical cime fiction.


Sleeping in the Ground
Hodder&Stoughton
RRP: £18.99
Released: July 13, 2017
Hbk

Inspector Banks has to deal with a horrifying sniper attack on a wedding in a small church in the Yorkshire Dales. Routine police work soon identifies the protagonist, but Banks is not convinced.

Pete Robinson has been writing about Banks, now Chief Superintendent, for some time - this is the 24th crime story about him and his team.  Banks is in Yorkshire with a good team of detectives working with him. They are called into action when a wedding in a small Yorkshire Dales church is targeted by a sniper who kills and injures a number of the participants leaving the church ceremony. This appalling event is described by the partner of one of Banks’s detectives who happened to be present. The investigation soon identifies the shooter, who appears to have committed suicide in consequence.

Most of the characters are well fleshed out as real people, particularly Banks himself, who is shown as a person with his own interests and with the problems of age knocking on his door. The women in the detective team are particularly strongly delineated characters. At the beginning of events Banks has just been to the funeral of his first girl-friend which is making him think nostalgically of his youth. The investigation of the man who shot at the wedding party is followed up with good police rigour which eventually produces some police doubts.

There is no need to have read the previous adventures of Banks since the writer’s skill enables the reader to appreciate these individuals as they appear in this book. I particularly liked the way Sleeping in the Ground stands on its own despite it being the 24th in the series. It takes great skill to be able to characterise the figures and settings in a book without risking boring regular readers by referring back too extensively to previous books. The backdrop of the Yorkshire Dales are vividly realised  including the description of the gilt framed pictures of ancient wool merchants with purple veined noses, whiskers and roast beef complexions staring down at whiteboards with the photos of the victims of the shooting in the Regional HQ as examples. Another example would be the lovely way that the Christmas period is described as falling “upon Eastvale like a knife-wielding mugger desperate for a fix.”

This is a well-crafted story rooted deeply into its setting, and complete with well-developed characters.

Highly recommended 



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