Friday, August 12, 2016

WHEN THE MUSIC'S OVER by Peter Robinson

    Surely one of the greats in crime fiction Peter Robinson kept me up all night when the 23rd novel in his Inspector Banks series arrived.  As is his wont Robinson’s writes with a sharp ear for dialogue and eagle eye for detail.  Plus When The Music’s Over is alive with today’s issues -  racism, misogyny, celebrities, crooked police.  There is an immediacy to his story that will capture readers from page one.       
    Banks has been recently promoted to Detective Superintendent but cannot enjoy his new position for a second as he’s handed a case no one would want - a  fifty year old sex crime.  Claims have been made against a popular and beloved British star, Danny Caxton, who was all the rage in the 1960s.  Linda Palmer, a recognized poet, now wants to bring a case against Caxton claiming he raped her during the summer of 1967 when she was only 14 years old.  Lending credibility to her claim is the fact that she says there was a witness.  It is up to Banks to decide whether or not Palmer is credible and whether there are other victims.

    Meanwhile Detective Inspector Annie Cabbot is investigating the rape and murder of 15-year-old Mimosa “Mimsy” Moffat, who lived in the rather run down estates in Wytherton, York and seemed to be part of a crowd around some older fellows of Pakistani descent.  Mimsy’s body is found on Bradham Lane as Annie said “bloody miles from nowhere.”  The scene is so grim that few can look at it - Mimsy is naked, curled in the fetal position with her hands covering her face as if she had been trying to protect herself.  Annie’s best guess is she had been brutallly beaten and kicked to death.         

    Thus we have two seemingly unrelated cases that are thematically tied together, almost dual plots.  Yet in Robinson’s hands they are powerfully united in a story that rockets to a startling climax.  When The Music’s Over is one of the most compelling, substantive crime novels in memory.  If I could give 10 stars I’d happily sprinkle them on Robinson’s shoulders.

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