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Watching the Dark
Inspector Banks Mystery #20
Peter Robinson

William Morrow
January 8, 2013/ ISBN 978-0-06-200480-2
Mystery/Police Procedural / British

Reviewed by Dennis Collins

Detective Inspector Bill Quinn is found murdered on the grounds of St Peter’s Convalescence and Treatment Center. He was the victim of a crossbow attack, the bolt penetrating his heart. The case is assigned to Detective Chief Inspector Alan Banks. Early in his investigation Banks uncovers some photos of the deceased in the company of a young lady and they appear to be involved with one another.  Banks smells blackmail.

With the prospect of impropriety hanging over the case, Joanna Passero, a Professional Standards officer is assigned to work with Banks and he’s none too happy with an internal watchdog looking over his shoulder.

While investigating past actions of Detective Bill Quinn, Inspector Banks finds a link to an unsolved six-year-old missing persons case that Quinn had been assigned to. The trail takes him to where the missing girl, Rachel Hewitt, was last seen in the city of Tallinn in the Baltic State of Estonia. Banks tries to reconstruct the last movements of Rachel Hewitt right up to her disappearance. And then there’s the matter of finding the mystery woman who was photographed with the murder victim.

Back in the city of Eastvale, England, Banks old partner Annie is investigating a migrant labor/human trafficking network that appears to be linked to the case that Banks is following. Both probes seem to share certain characteristics.

I would say, from the colloquialisms that this book was targeted primarily for British audiences. I had trouble with a few terms but they were explained by context.

Robinson deserves all five stars for his plotting. He has woven no less than four stories seamlessly into this novel and each one compliments the other to form a complete parcel. It’s a well done puzzle.

Reviewer & Columnist Dennis Collins is the author of Turn Left at September, The Unreal McCoy, The First Domino, and Nightmare

Reviewed 2013