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Piece of My Heart
DCI Alan Banks Mystery #16

by Peter Robinson


    Detective Alan Banks is called in to investigate the death of Nick Barber, a freelance music journalist from London. Barber was killed in a small town near Banks' police precinct. He had been headed for Yorkshire in search of a reclusive Greaves, former member of a rock group called the Mad Hatters, about whom he was writing an article. Within days of finding Greaves, Barber turns up dead, all his notes, his mobile phone and his laptop computer missing.

Banks' new Detective Superintendent, Catherine Gervaise, is a by-the-book supervisor and throws roadblocks at Banks' methods of investigation. He is teamed again with Detective Inspector Annie Cabot and Winsome Jackman in their efforts to find the murderer.

Their investigations into the Mad Hatters reach back to the Brimleogh Festival, a local rock festival in 1969 where a young woman was fatally stabbed. The case was never solved. They find these two cases intertwine, and they must find the relationship between the two.

At the same time Banks is having problems coming to terms with the death of his brother, Roy, and with the problems of his son, Brian.

The two cases are told in a parallel narrative: in 1969 Detective Inspector Stanley, a straitlaced policeman investigates the rock scene, hampered by problems with his daughter, Yvonne, who knew the murdered girl, Linda Loflhouse, and was part of the followers of the Mad Hatters. Barber had found he had a connection to Linda and was determined to find her killer. Now Banks has to do the same.

There is an interesting comparison between police procedures in the 1960's (Chadwick) and the present (Banks). Robinson has captured the hippie rock scene successfully with the hippie rock music of the 60's. There are many references to the numerous rock bands, many of which Banks has been a fan of. The problems of Banks with his superior officer and his adjustment to his brother's death are discussed in detail. The landscape of Yorkshire is as usual with Robinson's work vividly evoked. The writing style is realistic and smooth. The plot is complex with many twists and turns to keep the reader's interest.

Reviews of other titles in this series

Cold is the Grave #11
Aftermath #12
Close to Home #13
Playing Fire #14
Strange Affair #15 [audio] [book]
Piece of My Heart #16
Friend of the Devil #17
All the Colors of Darkness
In The Dark Places #22 [review 1] [review 2]
When The Music's Over #23 [review 1] [review 2]

The Book

William Morrow
June 1, 2006
10 digit ISBN: 006054435X
13 digit ISBN: 9780060544355
Mystery / British / Police procedural

The Reviewer

Barbara Buhrer
Reviewed 2006
© 2006