Close to Home gives us two story lines to follow. Both of course involve DCI Banks. In present time Alan Banks is on a holiday in Greece, trying to get rest after a particularly harrowing case from the last book. While there, he reads a newspaper account about skeletal remains being found in Yorkshire. The bones were discovered during a construction excavation.
What makes this close to home is the identity of the victim, 14 year old Graham Marshall , Banks childhood friend. It was mentioned in previous books that Graham had just disappeared and Banks had always wondered what happened to him. He returns to Yorkshire since this is personal.
The other story line involves the kidnapping of a local teenager. This case will generate publicity since Luke’s mother is a famous fashion model and his step father is a retired football player. Banks offers assistance with the investigation DCI Annie Cabbot is heading up.
I like how he ties things together at the end, finding parallels between Graham and Luke. They were both teen aged boys with 40 years between them, but there were indeed comparisons.
Now, something I always meant to do was mention some of the music banks plays. I am on book 14 now and his taste in music evolves each time. This time I bookmarked the Kindle for each musical entry. As always, there is pub food.. I mentioned that too.
From Chapter one: While the coffee was brewing he put on a CD of Mozart arias, picked up last week’s newspapers he hadn’t read yet and walked out on the balcony….He brought a stack of his favorite CDs with him including Billie Holiday, John Coltrane, Shubert, Walton, The Grateful Dead and Led Zeppelin.
Chapter six: Banks is staying at his parents’ home and has been installed in the room he had growing up. He’s always liked music and was pleased his mother still had his old collection of LPs. “Here they were, in all their glory: Dusty Springfield’s “Goin’ Back,” “The Shadows’ “The rise and Fall of Flingel Bunt,” Cilla Black’s “Anyone who had a Heart,” and “Alfie,” Sandie Shaw’s “Always Something There to Remind Me,” “House of the Rising Sun” by The Animals and “As Tears go By” by Marianne Faithful.” There were more references as Banks took a walk down memory lane.
Chapter twelve : That evening at home Banks glanced through the evening paper over a Madras curry he’d bought at Marks and Spencers, slipped a Bill Evans’ Paris Concert into the CD player, poured a couple of fingers of Lahroaig and flopped on the sofa with his 1965 Photoplay diary.”
Chapter three: “Banks bought a pint of Black Sheep bitter and a packet of cheese and onion crisps, sat down as far from the door as he could….”
Chapter Four: Banks and DI Michelle Hart meet in a pub to discuss the case at hand. They order a pint and shandy, Michelle ordered a prawn sandwich while Banks goes for a huge Yorkshire pudding filled with sausages and gravy.
Chapter ten: DI Michelle Hart meets a witness in the pub to discuss a prior case. They order Guinness, Cumberland Sausages and mashed potatoes, roast beef and mentioned avoiding the Lamb Curry.
There were strong opinions about Margaret Thatcher included in this book too.
“And what came between them and Blair’s Britain? Mostly, Margaret Thatcher, who dismantled the country’s manufacturing base, emasculating the trade unions and demoralizing the workman, leaving the north especially a ghost land of empty factories, thrift shops and decaying council estates, where those growing up had no hope of a job. In the idleness and hopelessness, many turned to crime and vandalism; car theft became commonplace; and the police became the enemy of the people..”
The character Alan Banks speaks about a television show called Coronation Street. It was one of the “rituals every Monday and Wednesday when , when tea was over and dishes washed and out away, homework and odd jobs done, the family sat down to watch television together.” I may need to check on this show!
I enjoyed this book. The two different murder investigations were different enough to keep separate but when I set the book aside for a few days, I had to think about some of it before continuing.
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