I don't even bother looking at the flyleaf on Peter Robinson's books. I just know I'm in for a good read with whatever case he's cooked up for Inspector Alan Banks. Children of the Revolution is the latest (21st) entry in this favourite series.
Was it an accident? When the body of a recluse, once a professor at local Eastvale College, is found at the bottom of a ravine in an area difficult to access, it looks like it may be. Perhaps a sucicide.It is only when they the local constable finds an envelope containing a significant amount of cash on the body, that Banks and his team are called in. Maybe it was murder. But why wasn't the cash taken? Where did this destitute man come up with such a sum?
As Banks and his team dig into his background, surprising revelations are revealed. Professor Miller was accused of sexual misconduct at the school, summarily dismissed and that began his descent to the marginalized life he was leading. Further investigation leads them to a connection with Lady Veronica Chalmers. The higher ups warn Banks away from this line of investigation, but of course he can't leave it be.
The victim in this case is close to Banks' age. Robinson has moved his character steadily forward, both chronologically and in his personal life. This man's death has Alan taking a second look at his own life. This is one of the things that have made this series one of my favourites - the personal lives of the characters. I often feel like one of the locals in the pub, catching up on the latest. Banks' music selections are a big part of the books as well - I've often followed up on these and have discovered many new artists.
Recurring characters such as Winsome and Annie are also back. Winsome and her calm ways are a perennial favourite. Annie is a character I used to enjoy, but her personality has changed since her accident a year ago. She is more difficult now, with rougher edges and less patience. She too, is aware of the changes in herself. Robinson adds another female character to his team in this latest book. Gerry Masterson is young and green, but brilliant at research. Will she fit in with the team? I quite liked her and hope she continues to be a part of the series going forward.
Robinson's mysteries are always intelligent, well thought out and a pleasure to read. In Children of the Revolution, we are taken back forty years to the early 1970's, Communism, Marxism, political activism and more. Specific references had me off to the computer to follow up. (Yes, Robinson's book is based on facts) Robinson presents many options, alternatives and paths to explore alongside of Banks and his team. Attention to detail will lead careful readers to the whodunit before the final pages, but this won't lessen anyone's enjoyment of this latest entry in an excellent series. Robinson still managed to surprise me with the ending.
Read an excerpt of Children of the Revolution. You can find Peter Robinson on Facebook.