‘In a Dry Season’ is the 10th DI Banks mystery by Peter Robinson.
Banks has returned to work after his suspension but Chief Inspector Jimmy Riddle has him trapped in his office doing paperwork. Finally an investigation comes along that Riddle thinks is suitably hopeless to assign to Banks.
When the Thornfield Reservoir dries up due to the drought, the town that was flooded when it was created is exposed for the first time in 50 years. Pretty soon a skeleton is discovered in the old town of Hobb’s End. Not only is the case considered hopeless, but the DS assigned to Banks, Annie Cabot, is known as a trouble maker. Riddle is hoping this will spell the end of Banks’s career.
But Banks decides that he’s going to solve the WWII mystery and Annie turns out not to be the trouble maker that Riddle was led to believe.
In parallel to the main story, there is an account by another Hobb’s End resident of what went on during the war and the life and death of the victim. We get to know the victim very well by the time of the murder.
Slowly Banks and Annie chip away at the case, gradually discovering what really happened in Hobb’s End during the war. Meanwhile, the account of the war time Hobb’s End makes the reader feel as though they are actually living through it.
While this is going on, Banks is slowly coming to terms with his separation from his wife Sandra. He is desperately trying to maintain his relationship with his two adult children and his relationship with DS Annie Cabot starts to grow.
This was a very complex and brilliant mystery. It was by far the best in the series to date. It was an excellent introduction to Annie who we’ll get to know much better and we saw a very human side to Alan Banks.
The WWII account put me right in that time and place.
This book has set a new standard for the series and I’m hoping that it continues to be this good. The next book is – ‘Cold is the Grave’.
Book Published 1999