Reading Peter Robinson’s series about DCI Alan Banks has me wanting to drink more gin and tonics, eat more pub style food and wanting to visit Yorkshire. This is book # 10 in the DCI Banks series and I am already tucked into the next book. More on that one later. I am absolutely addicted to these police procedurals and will be at a loss when I have caught up with Robinson’s latest books.
In a Dry Season starts with skeletal remains being discovered under an old outbuilding. A boy is exploring village structures which had been underwater for over 50 years. The village had been flooded to create a reservoir long ago but with drought conditions, the reservoir dried out, this old town emerges. It’s mostly preserved and as you can imagine, a child would love to snoop around in such a magical looking place. The boy falls through the roof of a structure and discovers the human bones.
The mystery starts with DCI Banks being assigned to this remote little corner, teaming up with DC Annie Cabot. They have to determine if the remains are from an accident or a covered up murder. How can they possibly know who this was or what happened since the place has been underwater for so many years. The side story features a mystery novelist who is clearly upset when she views the emerging story on television news. Obviously she knows something, you can tell that from the first few pages of her storyline, but how much involvement or information does she have? The story moves back and forth between present day and 1941 in the war era.
This book and Final Account have been my favorites so far. I love how Alan Banks’ character continues to develop and hearing about his personal life interjected into the investigation.
I am already reading Cold is the Grave, book #11. Totally addicted!
Food mentioned throughout. As Banks was studying a menu in a pub:
“Banks went through tandoori chicken and chips, venison medallions in a red wine sauce and fettucine Alfredo before striking gold: beef and stilton pie.”
People in the countryside always fared better than city folk as far as food went during rationing:
“There were always plenty of vegetables, egg, butter and milk. Our neighbor, Mr. Halliwell, the butcher, was probably the most popular man in town, so we were able to swap any tea and sugar for an extra piece of mutton or pork.”
“For Gloria’s twentieth birthday … we gorged ourselves on grilled sausage with mashed potatoes, braised butter beans, followed by jam roll with custard.”
“Annie filled a large pan with water and added a little salt and oil then set it on the gas ring. She didn’t waste a gesture as she chopped mushrooms, shallots, garlic and courgettes…”
“Vivian Emsley sat down with her gin and tonic….”
Drinks include Swan’s Down Bitter, Theakston’s bitter, claret and Banks’ signature drink, Laphroaig Scotch.
This one is for Detective Constable Annie Cabot – a vegetarian offering, something hard to find in the pubs. I substituted eggplant for the courgettes, getting the recipe from Leanne Brown’s cookbook, Good and Cheap. Recipe may be found at Squirrel Head Manor
Mystery and Police Procedurals – Do you have a favorite author?
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