Series to Savour 5 – Peter Robinson’s Inspector Banks mysteries

Peter Robinson

Back in 1988, when my children were tiny, I belonged to one of those book clubs where you bought a book every month and it was delivered in the mail.  One of my treasured deliveries was “Gallow’s View”, the very first Inspector Banks mystery by Peter Robinson. It was my favorite kind of novel, a police procedural with an entriguing protagonist, a well-rendered plot, and one of my favorite settings, the Yorkshire Dales.  As it was a splendid read, I followed this series diligently over the years and I can honestly say this is a “series to savour“.

In more recent years, my in-person book club, ‘Whodunit’, has attended two of Peter Robinson’s book signings.  He was very personable and gracious both times I had the chance to have a word with him.  A a result, I have the first twenty Banks novels in hardcover, many of them signed.

Peter Robinson with members of the Whodunit Book Club in Halifax, Nova Scotia

Peter Robinson with members of the Whodunit Book Club in Halifax, Nova Scotia

Some mystery series start strong, and then peter out…. Some start weak and slowly improve with each book. Some start strong, and get continually stronger.  Such is the case with Robinson’s DCI Banks novels.

The protagonist of these novels is Detective Inspector Alan Banks.  In the first novel in the series he has moved to the Yorkshire Dales from London to escape the stresses of the big city.  He lives with his wife, Sandra, and his two children, Brian and Tracy.  He is a compassionate and perceptive detective who is very good at what he does.  He brings to his work an exceptional understanding of the human psyche.

On the personal side, he mourns his lack of formal education and has, according to the author, a ‘working-class chip on the shoulder’.  Yes, he is not a perfect man.  He and his wife Sandra have a strained marriage over the years. Alan has been sorely tempted by other women over the course of the series.

peter-robinsons-dci-banks-novelsThe twenty-four mystery novels featuring Alan Banks are:

1. Gallows View (1987)
2. A Dedicated Man (1988)
3. A Necessary End (1989)
4. The Hanging Valley (1990)
5. Past Reason Hated (1991)
6. Wednesday’s Child (1992)
7. Dry Bones That Dream (1994)
aka Final Account
8. Innocent Graves (1996)
9. Dead Right (1997)
aka Blood at the Root
10. In a Dry Season (1999)
11. Cold Is the Grave (2000)
12. Aftermath (2001)
13. The Summer That Never Was (2003)
aka Close to Home
14. Playing with Fire (2004)
15. Strange Affair (2005)
16. Piece of My Heart (2005)
17. Friend of the Devil (2007)
18. All the Colours of Darkness (2008)
19. Bad Boy (2010)
20. Watching the Dark (2012)
21. Children of the Revolution (2013)
22. Abattoir Blues (2014)
aka In the Dark Places
23. When the Music’s Over (2016)
24. Sleeping in the Ground (coming summer of 2017)

I have not included the many novellas and short stories that also feature DCI Banks.  If you wish to learn more about ‘them’, then click on the graphic containing the series books.

I must interject here that I HATE IT when the title of a book gets changed from one country to another.  I remember after reading “Dry bones that dream” finding a ‘new’ Peter Robinson novel called “Final account”.  Once I got home I realized that they were in fact the SAME book.  Lesson learned the hard way. LOL

About DCI Banksnorth-yorkshire-police-logo

Banks, according to Robinson’s website, stands about 5-foot-8 and weighs 150 pounds. He features a scar near his right eye. “Not especially handsome in the classic sense, but attractive to women,” the website said. He dresses casually and distains neckties; if he wears one, it is loose, with the top button undone. Robinson listed Banks as a moderate socialist and liberal humanist; a strong anti-Thatcher thread, in fact, runs through Robinson’s novels. “Banks is a bit of a maverick in that he likes to get things done his own way, but he doesn’t bend the rules to [the] point of beating suspects or forging evidence against them,” Robinson wrote on his website. “He doesn’t respond well to authority unless he respects the person who has the job.” He is acutely aware of his own lack of formal education, and his hunger for knowledge and culture has led to a love of music, especially opera.

You can read another blogger’s tribute to this splendid series here.

Stephen Tompkinson as DCI Alan Banks

Stephen Tompkinson as DCI Alan Banks (click on the photo to read an interview with Stephen Tompkinson)

The Inspector Banks novels have been adapted for television, and Stephen Tompkinson stars in the role of Alan Banks.  Personally, I enjoyed the televised adaptations, but, as is often the case, I MUCH preferred the books to the TV series.


If you like to read British police procedurals,  then I highly recommend the DCI Banks novels.  What a lot of lovely reads are ahead of you!

Peter Robinson has also written some excellent stand-alone novels.  My favorite of these is “Caedmon’s Song“.  I have a signed, hardcover copy of this one too.   Highly recommended!

Peter Robinson was born in Yorkshire. After getting his BA Honours Degree in English Literature at the University of Leeds, he came to Canada and took his MA in English and Creative Writing at the University of Windsor, with Joyce Carol Oates as his tutor, then a PhD in English at York University. He has taught at a number of Toronto community colleges and universities and served as Writer-in-Residence at the University of Windsor, 1992-93.  His novels have been translated into nineteen languages and have won just about every prestigious award including The Arthur Ellis Award, The Macavity Award, The CWA (UK) Dagger in the Library Award,  The Edgar Award, The Anthony Award, The Barry Award, The Martin Beck Award and the Le Grand Prix de Littérature Policière. The author lives in Toronto with his wife, attorney Sheila Halladay. He belongs to the International Association of Crime Writers, Crime Writers of Canada, Crime Writers’ Association, and Mystery Writers of America. He returns to North Yorkshire, where his family still lives, about three times per year.

Read more:

About Fictionophile

Fiction reviewer ; Goodreads librarian. Retired library cataloger - more time to read! Loves books, gardening, and red wine. I have been a reviewer member of NetGalley since October 2013. I review titles offered by Edelweiss, and participate in blog tours with TLC Book Tours.
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14 Responses to Series to Savour 5 – Peter Robinson’s Inspector Banks mysteries

  1. Christine says:

    Fantastic post Lynne! This year I am asking for very few ARCs so that I can explore my own shelves. I have been reading a lot of first of series (mostly older ones), looking for new faves. I have been curious about Peter Robinson for a long time so picked up a copy of Gallows View from my library. I was impressed enough to want to continue on. Alas, my library doesn’t have a lot of his books so I’ll be buying them. Anyway, so happy to see his books featured (and so favorably) in your series on series!


  2. Pingback: My personal canon (the books that shaped my life) | Fictionophile

  3. Hfineisen says:

    I have a mad crush on Inspector Banks! Both on the page and on the screen. Great post!


  4. Christine says:

    I really enjoy these blogs devoted to series, Lynne. This particular series is high on my list to begin in 2017. Sounds like I am in for a treat, especially since British police procedurals are my fave!


  5. skyecaitlin says:

    Lynne, what a lovely tribute to Peter Robinson’s Alan Banks’ series, and isn’t it remarkable how we treasure certain things to mark ‘when our children were little?” My children were born in that decade and each book I read, all the movies I rented for the VCR and all the music I embraced are ear marked around my children’s formative years: The Thorn Birds, Miami Vice tv series ( YES), Brideshead Revisted on PBS, Sydney Sheldon novels, etc. This series sounds as if it’s right up my alley for so many reasons: a police procedural, the setting, and, gasp, the main character all sound remarkable. Thank you so much for sharing this.


  6. I love this series, as I’m a Yorkshire girl myself. If you look at your map, I was born in Hull. While currently exiled, we’re trying to move to North Yorkshire. I’ve never been able to watch the TV series as Stephen Tompkinson isn’t Banks for me and I don’t want him in my head when I’m reading the books.


    • Fictionophile says:

      Yes, I agree. I had Banks ‘in my head’ for years BEFORE seeing Tomkinson’s portrayal of him. Just not the same. I’ve watched the shows but viewed them as being completely separate as that was the only way I could handle it.
      On a personal note, my Mum (a war bride) was born in Boston and grew up in Lincolnshire. I have lots of family in the area, with a few cousins in the Wakefield area of Yorkshire. Many more first cousins can be found in Scunthorpe (South Humberside) and Lincoln.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. carhicks says:

    This is a series that I have always intended to get to, you make it much more appealing to move this up on my TBR. Thanks.


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