Anthology of 19 short, crime fiction stories + one DCI Banks novella:
1) Summer Rain (an Inspector Banks story) – a young American man goes into the police station saying he witnessed a crime in the 1960s. He believes in reincarnation and witnessed this crime via a former life. DCI Banks, having a slow day, does some rudimentary investigation to humour the man. In so doing, he solves a cold case crime.
2) Fan Mail – a successful mystery novelist receives a letter from a fan. In the letter the sender asks for advice in how to murder his odious wife. Curious to see if he was serious, and rising to the challenge, the novelist meets with the man…
3) Innocence – a young, single man travels to another town to meet up with a friend. When the friend doesn’t show, he wanders around in the rain until the next bus leaves for home. Turns out he was in the wrong place at exactly the wrong time. (this title won the Canadian Crime Writers Award for best short story)
4) Murder in Utopia – set in the 1870s, a wealthy businessman creates a mill town that is aimed to be a Utopia. When a murder takes place he begs that the doctor of the town keep it a secret. But secrets fester…
5) Not Safe After Dark – one hot, sultry night in the city a man makes the decision to try to cool off in the local park. But everyone knows city parks are “Not Safe After Dark”. (the ending twist of this one will be appreciated by many)
6) Just My Luck – a pool supplies salesman travels from his home in Toronto to a business convention in California. One unlucky thing leads to another.
7) Anna Said – a young woman dies after a night out with her life-in boyfriend.
8) Missing in Action – a nine year old boy disappears from his London home in the early days of WWII. (this title won an Edgar Award)
9) Memory Lane – a musical band named ‘Memory Lane’ plays some ‘golden oldie’ tunes at at nursing home.
10) Carrion – Two strangers meet in a pub and strike up a conversation.
11) April in Paris – it is 1968 and a professor falls in love with a beautiful young woman named April. He returns in the present day, terminally ill, and sees a young woman who reminds him of his lost love.
12) The Good Partner – a DCI Banks short. A husband is suspected of murdering his wife when she returns home after a weekend spent at a work convention.
13) Some Land in Florida – Santa Claus meets a dire end in sunny Florida.
14) The Wrong Hands – one frosty Toronto night, a lawyer draws up a will for an elderly man who shows him a Luger gun from WWI. He entrusts the gun to the lawyer so that it will not “get into the wrong hands”. He wants the lawyer to turn it in to the police. The trouble is… the lawyer gets mugged on the way home.
15) The Two Ladies of Rose Cottage – the police visit two elderly ladies at the beginning of WWII. There have been rumours of bones dug up in their garden. An aspiring novelist makes their acquaintance.
16) Lawn Sale – a home burglary results in the theft of a war veteran’s wife’s jewelry.
17) Gone to the Dawgs – a football pool rivalry, a hit-and-run, and a man who lives with his mother.
18) In Flanders Fields – while WWII is raging, a woman is bludgeoned to death in her home in England. A Special Constable investigates the crime.
19) The Duke’s Wife – a Duke announces his intention to marry a young woman who had been destined for life in a convent.
20) Going Back – (a novella) DCI Banks takes a trip back home to celebrate his parents’ Golden Anniversary and encounters evil.
I confess I’ve long been a huge fan of this author since reading his early Inspector Banks novels many years ago.
In this volume he delves into many scenarios, all the while maintaining the skilled writing that I’ve always admired him for. His work is peppered with quotable lines such as these: “Life was a slow betrayal of the dreams of one’s youth and a gradual decline from the desires of one’s adolescence.” AND “It is still too cold outside for an old man like me, with blood as thin and as lacking in nutrients as workhouse gruel.”
The stories are mostly mysteries with a few suspense titles scattered throughout. They cover a vast array of time periods and settings and several have cunning plot twists.
These stories are quality, skillfully crafted, crime shorts that I can heartily recommend to all lovers of the genre. For those who love to read short crime fiction this is a terrific book to pick up.
I received a complimentary digital copy of this novel from William Morrow Paperbacks/Harper Collins via Edelweiss at my request, for my own reading enjoyment and the writing of this review. Publication date: Dec. 5, 2017 (obviously from my Edelweiss backlist)
ISBN: 9780062673893 – ASIN: B00333FGUA – 496 pagesPeter Robinson was born in Yorkshire, England. 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.
He is the author of the much acclaimed, prize-winning, police procedural crime series featuring DCI Banks, which has been adapted for television. In 2002, Robinson was awarded the “Dagger in the Library” by the CWA and has received numerous other literary awards over the course of his career.
Robinson now divides his time between Toronto, Canada and North Yorkshire, England.
Connect with Peter Robinson via his website.
I use Stephen Kings when telling people about Peter Robinson books . READ ONE AND TELL ME I AM WRONG
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Read all his novels, except the latest. Excellent crime writer.
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I agree Jose. I posted a tribute to him here: https://fictionophile.com/2022/10/11/r-i-p-peter-robinson-1950-2022/
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