Sunday, October 21, 2007

2 x Peter Robinson

One of these I read in Swedish, En märklig affär/Strange Affair. My sister gave it to me as she was moving, and she in turn had been given it by a classmate. There was a limit to the amount of books she could bring to Ireland, so this one stayed with me. The other I borrowed from the library recently, The Hanging Valley. The latter is one of his first ones, the former one of his later. Our hero in the series in a policeman named Alan Banks, and if I hadn't known that the two books had the same author I'd have thought it was a coincidence, so greatly is Banks transformed. In The Hanging Valley he is very... almost serene, happily married and very much a good, stable character. In Strange Affair he's divorced since any number of years, depressed after losing his home in a fire, and not afraid of operating slightly outside the rule book. Funny that, it almost tempts me to read the whole series to see the transformation (which also means an improvement in Robinson's writing, since the characters do seem to get more complex as he goes along), but I really didn't find Banks compelling enough, nor Robinson's stories gripping enough, to do so. I think. Plus it really means that Robinson submitted to cliché and created another middleaged alcoholic detective, doesn't it, like he couldn't pull off a happy one - too bland and difficult.

First book has Banks relatively new to Yorkshire, investigating a murder near a village where another dead body was found five years ago. There's a wife beater, a beautiful woman broken by religion, twisted lord and gentry, decent farmers - the lot. But a few surprising raw moments. Second one has a jaded and bitter Banks suddenly investigating the disappearance of his brother (who turns up dead. I'm not spoiling anything for you, honestly.).

Good travel reads, but nothing collectable.

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