Cold is the Grave

Peter Robinson, Author William Morrow & Company $24 (369p) ISBN 978-0-380-97808-3
This 11th book about Yorkshire police officer Alan Banks is disappointing after 1999's Edgar-nominee, In a Dry Season, but contains enough elements of the familiar formula to satisfy dedicated fans. DCI Banks, his romance with police colleague Annie Cabbot having cooled off, is seriously thinking of asking his wife, Sandra, to end their separation and give the marriage another try. He's also applied to the National Crime Squad to escape his loathsome boss, Chief Constable Riddle. But just as Banks is packing for a weekend train jaunt to Paris, the wretched Riddle calls to ask a favor. Riddle's nine-year-old son, snooping around on the Internet, has come upon a naked picture of his 16-year-old sister, Emily, who ran away from home and disappeared into the London drugs and smut cesspool. Despite their mutual hatred, Banks--realizing what it took for Riddle to ask for his help in finding the girl--just can't refuse. This part of the story works well; Robinson makes no attempt to soften the nastiness of the stupid, resentful and politically ambitious Riddle or the apparent coldness of Riddle's wife. But things begin to get more complicated--and less believable--when the powerful London criminal with whom Emily has been living appears to be implicated in murder and business fraud in Yorkshire. Too many plot coincidences and clich s (a man is described as being ""bald as a coot"" twice) finally work against Robinson's greatest strength: his ability to keep Banks an interesting, realistic and changing human being. Agent, Dominick Abel. 6-city author tour. (Oct.)
Reviewed on: 10/02/2000
Release date: 10/01/2000
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