‘Past Reason Hated’ is Peter Robinson’s 5th Inspector Banks novel and Banks has finally managed to have the less than ambitious Sergeant Hatchley moved to another area and has taken on a new Constable – Susan Gay.
This novel is set around Christmas, with Yorkshire blanketed in snow (pretty hard for a Sydney-sider to imagine). Veronica Shildon returns to her home after Christmas shopping to find the naked and brutally stabbed body of her lover – Caroline Hartly.
Caroline Hartly had a complicated past and kept many secrets (including her sexual preferences), so the case is complicated and the list of suspects is quite long. Suspects include, the members of Caroline’s theatre group, Veronica’s husband (who blamed Caroline for stealing his wife), Veronica herself and a number of people from Caroline’s complicated and secret past.
Banks approaches the case in his usual manner – lots of pub lunches, drinks and cigarettes. As usual his attitude is quite empathetic which is more than can be said for the immature and homophobic Susan. Gradually Banks uncovers the pieces of Caroline’s past, looking for clues to her murder. While Banks becomes friends with one suspect – Veronica, Susan finds herself falling for another – her ex-drama teacher and the director of Caroline’s theatre group – James Conran.
Susan is eager to establish herself as a detective and doesn’t want Banks looking over her shoulder. This, of course, leads to her inadvertently withholding information that could probably have led to the case being solved sooner.
Finally in a moment of crisis, Banks works out what has happened.
Once again I enjoyed watching the thought processes of the clever, smoking, drinking Inspector Banks. I took an instant dislike to Susan and was hoping that she’d meet a grisly end. I managed to work out who the murderer was much earlier than I usually do, but still enjoyed Banks and his team putting the clues together.
This was another enjoyable novel and I’m looking forward to the next in the series – ‘Wednesday’s Child’.
Book Published 1991