It looks like a tranquil Christmas scene in a cozy living room—log fire, brightly lit tree, sheepskin rug, Vivaldi on the record player—but the appearance is deceptive. Caroline Hartley, the woman lying on the couch, has been brutally murdered.
In Past Reason Hated, Detective Chief Inspector Alan Banks uncovers the unusual and disturbing past of a victim for whom secrecy was a way of life. He finds a multitude of suspects: Caroline’s lover, Veronica Shildon; Veronica’s ex-husband, a famous composer; a feminist poet; the cast of a play Caroline was rehearsing for; and her reclusive, haunted brother, Gary.
Chief Inspector Banks’s fifth case is a suspenseful, shocking and ultimately satisfying tale of family secrets, hidden passions and desperate violence.
The inhabitants of Robinson's Yorkshire are a far cry from James Herriot's sturdy farmers. In this literate mystery, Chief Inspector Alan Banks must deal with the vicious stabbing death of a young lesbian in a room illuminated by the light of a crackling fire and a Christmas tree, the murder by starvation of an incestuous old lecher, the slashing to ribbons of a Twelfth Night cast's costumes and the near-fatal strangulation of his newest detective constable, Susan Gay. Banks, seen last in The Hanging Valley, subjects all potential suspects--including past and present spouses and lovers, a group of amateur thespians and members of the police force--to an extended (perhaps too extended) psychological investigation. The puzzle's grip is weakened by some unconvincing red herrings and the detectives' lengthy musings; nevertheless, Robinson, a Toronto resident and winner of the Crime Writers of Canada Best Novel award, creates an appealing Yorkshire setting with evocative descriptions of the wintry town, dales and seaside. ( Aug. )