‘Dead Right/ Blood at the Root’ is the 9th Inspector Banks novel by Peter Robinson. This one has a lot going on in Alan Banks’s personal life as well as a difficult murder for him to solve under difficult circumstances.
The story begins with a battered body discovered in an alley near a pub. With no identification and the body beaten beyond recognition, it takes a while for the body of Jason Fox to be recognised.
Fox was a prominent member of a neo-Nazi group. Although he was very open and vocal about his extreme racism, he was very secretive about his life – where he lived and where he worked, and it takes Banks and his team a long time to track down anything about his life. Eventually someone confesses to Fox’s murder. Meanwhile Banks is pursuing different lines of enquiry which take him to Amsterdam for some secret meetings.
Chief Inspector Jimmy Riddle is happy with the confession and wants the case closed, but Banks is not as sure. The long term conflict between Banks and Riddle escalates with disastrous consequences for Banks. He ends up continuing his own investigation (with a bit of help from his admirer DC Susan Gay).
Meanwhile, life is not going too well for Banks at home. He and his wife Sandra have been totally absorbed in their own jobs and have been drifting apart. Even though Banks knew there were problems, he is still surprised when Sandra decides to leave him. His daughter Tracey has recently left home, so Banks finds himself completely alone for the first time in many years.
The end of the story sees Banks on his own and suspended from the police force with no obvious path back on either the work front or the home front.
This was another excellent addition to the series which continues to get better. I’m looking forward to the next book for a new mystery as well as to find out about developments in Banks’s work and personal life. Book 10 in the series is ‘In a Dry Season’.
Book Published 1997