All this week there have been a series of blog posts discussing the work of Peter Robinson and today I am delighted to feature him on my blog answering a couple of questions about his latest novel in the Inspector Banks series followed by my own review.
A Modern World
The events in When The Music’s Over reflect recent celebrity scandals, I am sure most readers will be aware of Operation Yewtree. Is researching and writing about topics which may make readers uncomfortable an unwelcome challenge?
It’s not unwelcome, but it is a challenge, and it can be uncomfortable. Both subjects in the book, grooming and historic abuse, are so complex and controversial that it can be very difficult to stay on track and remain honest. That to me is the main thing, to illuminate honestly many of the complexities and ambiguities as possible, while being careful not to be exploitative towards the victims.
How do you decide which dastardly deeds will feature in the next novel? Is there a pressure to make the crimes more grand/lavish/despicable with each new book?
No, I don’t feel any pressure to make the crimes more dastardly. If they are, it may be reflection of the fact that the world is becoming more dastardly, but I don’t think so. It’s not so much the sordid or gruesome aspects crime itself that grabs my attention as the psychology of the characters and their relationships. Sometimes the crimes are shocking in their details, and I do believe it’s important not to fudge that aspect. But there can be a thin line between realism and gratuitousness in crime fiction.
About the book
While DI Annie Cabbot investigates the circumstances in which a 14-year-old could possibly fall victim to such a crime, newly promoted Detective Superintendent Alan Banks is faced with a similar task – but the case Banks must investigate is as cold as they come.
Fifty years ago Linda Palmer was attacked by celebrity entertainer Danny Caxton, yet no investigation ever took place. Now Caxton stands accused at the centre of a historical abuse investigation and it’s Banks’s first task as superintendent to find out the truth.
While Annie struggles with a controversial case threatening to cause uproar in the local community, Banks must piece together decades-old evidence, and as each steps closer to uncovering the truth, they’ll unearth secrets much darker than they ever could have guessed…
I have enjoyed reading and watching on TV the Inspector Banks series for a few years now so jumped at the chance to read an advance copy of the latest book. I have missed a few of them but it hasn’t really mattered, even though the character’s personal lives are ongoing the book could easily be read as a stand alone novel.
There are two cases that Banks is involved in. Both are investigations that appear far too often in our news. One is a cold case, a celebrity accused of rape and the other is child sex grooming. Neither were easy to read but both were very well written and made very compelling reading. Banks was mainly involved with the investigation into the celebrity who was one of the most convincingly obnoxious characters that I have come across. I can only admire an author who can create such a despicable character. The other is being handled by Annie Cabbot, and a new DC Gerry. Banks has to get involved to smooth over ruffled feathers. The police in the area concerned don’t appreciate having two women from another force on their patch.
It’s very modern, the first crime novel I have read that features a historical sex case alongside modern day sex abuse and murder. Some may not appreciate its storyline, I don’t think it will be for everybody but I really liked it. Its gritty, topical, and thought provoking. There were twists, not everything was how I assumed it to be. It’s one that I will read again, I will probably appreciate the writing even more on a second read.
With thanks to Hodder for the copy received.