Another murder mystery in the Inspector Banks series by Peter Robinson. Actually, I ought to say Chief Inspector Banks as he needs to correct people on his position so many times. This is the fourth in the series and no, you don’t need to read them in the order printed/written to enjoy the stories.
That being said, it’s not my favorite of the four I have read so far. The storyline was easy to follow and of course I enjoy a story where I can’t quite figure out who the culprit is until the end. But the ending was too abrupt. It wrapped all the loose ends up but… I wish it had not been such a sudden ending.
Don’t let my opinion put you off though – if you enjoy the Inspector Banks mysteries, and you enjoy reading about the little pub meals sprinkled here and there in the novels…you would enjoy reading this one.
The storyline: A hiker is enjoying the beauty of a Yorkshire afternoon, climbing the valley above the village of Swainshead. When he sees a thicket filled with wildflowers and goes to investigate, he discovers a maggot-ridden body rotting in the clearing. Call in the authorities and the story begins. Once the identity of the body is discovered, the police wonder if there is a connection to an unsolved murder in Swainshead five years prior.
Suspects include the Collier brothers, the wealthiest and most powerful family in Swainsdale, Sam Greenock, a complete creep and owner of a guest house in town and Sam’s wife Katie, who is damaged by a strict religious upbringing. The two Collier brothers are very different from one another but their common goal seems to be directing the investigation away from them and the village. I especially disliked Nicky Collier – what a piece of work.
There are a few chapters devoted to a trip to Toronto where Banks combines forces (unofficially, of course) with Canadian police agents. I loved the descriptions of the pubs, the food and ales Banks tried and the British perspective on his short experience in Canada.
Some food items mentioned
Chapter 1: A breakfast of sausage, bacon, black pudding, fried bread, grilled mushrooms, tomato, 2 fried eggs, tea, toast and marmalade
Chapter 3: First things first, Banks thought, and headed for the bar. He ordered Cumberland sausage, beans and chips, then paid, took his numbered receipt and waited while Freddie Metcalf poured him a pint of Pedigree
Chapter 8: ……….Detective Superintendent Gristhorpe sat hunched over a pint of Theakston’s Bitter and a veal-and-egg pie
Chapter 10: Doors to both parts of the house were open, allowing access to drinks, a huge table of cheese, pates, smoked salmon and fresh fruit
Chapter 11: (Eating in a Canadian pub) Prime-rib roast, Yorkshire pudding, Caesar salad, White Russian, red wine, a pint of Creemore, coffee and cognac
Lots of food choices and although I was mighty tempted to have a prime rib dinner…..I decided to go with a creatively healthy version of the sausage meal. Instead of the Cumberland sausage (which I would love to have but don’t think are available in my area) I made a healthy meal of turkey sausage and vegetables. I was sorry.
Details are at Squirrel Head Manor but I can tell you, I wouldn’t make it again.
If my count is correct Peter Robinson authored 27 books in this series. I intend to read them all. Coming up I have reviews for A Week in Winter by Maeve Binchy as well as An Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry by Rachel Joyce.
I am sharing this with Beth Fish Reads for the Weekend Cooking series.
Weekend Cooking is open to anyone who has any kind of food-related post to share: Book (novel, nonfiction) reviews, cookbook reviews, movie reviews, recipes, random thoughts, gadgets, quotations, photographs.