Englischsprachige Literatur

Robinson Peter

Cold is the Grave

Pan/Macmillan, London 2001


This is the elventh of so far 12 Chief Inspector Alan Banks mysteries and they have brought Peter Robinson quite a few awards.

Being a novice to the Robinsonadas, this reader here takes some time to get accustomed to embittered middle-aged Banks, estranged from his wife, locked in dispute with his superiors, especially Chief Constable Rydell. Although he has bought a cottage in the Yorkshire countryside, he has applied for a post in London to get away from it all. But before that he has booked a weekend in Paris for himself and his 19-year-old daughter Tracy as a kind of farewell present.That´s the exposition, and, if seen from the end, the best scene in the book comes, when he tells his daughter Tracy he has to cancel the weekend in Paris, because a new assignment has come up. She is not at all disappointed, but just wants the tickets to go with her boyfriend instead.

Rydell, of all, gives Banks the new job and asks for his help. Rydell´s 16-year-old daughter Emily has run away from home and is discovered as a playmate on the internet by her younger brother. Now Banks is supposed to bring her back, before she can harm her father´s further political career. He finds her in London in the company of very dubious and much older Barry Clough and dutifully brings her back to her family.

Shortly after she dies a cruel death from drugs in a London nightclub. Banks is assisted in his investigations by PC Janet Taylor, who labours with her own troubled past and a short affair she had with Banks. So the plot starts out in the not very unusual way: we need an attractive, precocious girl to be murdered to get a British mystery going. And as Robinson, though Yorkshire-born, has lived most of his life in the States, he throws in a fair portion of Ross MacDonald, before the case can be solved.