Monday, April 10, 2023

Standing in the Shadows

Standing in the Shadows by Peter Robinson
4/11/23; 368 pages
William Morrow
Inspector Alan Banks #28

Standing in the Shadows by Peter Robinson is a highly recommended procedural and the 28th  installment in the DCI Alan Banks mystery series. This intelligent procedural follows stories in two timelines

In November 1980, Nick Hartley learns that Alice Poole, his former girlfriend, has been killed and the police are questioning him. Nick knows that she was heading to , her current boyfriends apartment, Mark  Woodcraft, and that the two were planning to take a trip. It appears that Mark has disappeared and all the questioning of Nick by the police has rumors flying that he may be the Yorkshire Ripper. Nick is determined to find out what happened to Alice.

In November 2019, an archaeologist looking for Roman remains on the site of a future shopping center uncovers a more contemporary skeleton in a field. Detective Superintendent Alan Banks and his team are called in to investigate and try to determine when the remains were left and who they are.

This is a satisfying and intense procedural which can be read as a stand-alone, although those who are following the series will certainly benefit from some of the additional background information. The narrative switches back and forth between the two timelines and the obvious end goal of readers is to figure out how they fit together, after they figure out who the skeleton belongs to and how this fits into the earlier murder of Alice. Readers will have their own theories while reading and some are going to be correct.

There are plenty of details of pop culture and social events from both time periods, although the ones in question would be in 1980, and these details are realistic. Admittedly, the 1980 details were fun to look back on. In both time line, characters are portrayed as realistic fully realized unique individuals. The search for the truth in both timelines is equally intriguing and the details help keep the investigations compelling. Peter Robinson passed away and is greatly mourned by fans who will miss looking forward to the next DCI Banks novel.

Disclosure: My review copy was courtesy of William Morrow.

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