Tuesday, July 15, 2014
A former teacher at a local college is found dead on an abandoned railway right of way near his cottage one cold winter morning. Since being fired from his job for sexual misconduct four years ago, Gavin Miller has been eking out a hermit-like existence in this isolated spot. Everyone agrees he was down on his luck and at the end of his resources, but this doesn't look like suicide --- especially since Miller was found with £5,000 in his pocket.
When Chief Inspector Alan Banks and his team begin their investigation they soon find several suspects, ranging from former students at the college to Lady Veronica Chalmers, a wealthy and influential woman who received a phone call from Miller just a week before he died. Lady Veronica claims Miller called her to solicit a donation to Essex University, the university they both attended in the early 1970s. She also says she didn't know Miller during their student days and never met him in more recent times, even though they both lived in the same area. But when Banks is warned by his superiors to keep away from Lady Chalmers, he realizes her story just doesn't add up. True to form, Banks stubbornly pursues the inconsistencies in Lady Chalmers' statement and discovers there are many secrets lurking in her past, and Gavin Miller was in a position to know them all.
It's an interesting story although it might have benefited from some judicious editing. It's a long-playing series and Robinson spends a lot of time dwelling on the relationships between Banks and his team. And after the generally melancholy tone of the book overall, the "happy ending" tacked on the end, as one critic has pointed out, seems out of sync with the rest of the book and a bit sappy. Of course if you've read enough of the series or watched the television adaptations, you know that "happy ending" isn't likely to last long.
Peter Robinson grew up in Yorkshire, and now divides his time between the UK and Canada. There are twenty-two books in the bestselling DCI Banks crime series and a number of the stories have been filmed by ITV television in Great Britain and shown on PBS "Mystery!" in the U.S.
Click HERE to check out the author's web site.
Click HERE to read a review of Children of the Revolution.