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When The Music’s Over
Inspector Alan Banks #23
Peter Robinson

William Morrow
August 2016/ ISBN 978-0062394781
Mystery / British / Police Procedural

Reviewed by Leslie C. Halpern


This enthralling British mystery involves two similar – but unrelated – sex crimes, one cold case from 50 years ago and one current case. Detective Superintendent Alan Banks has been assigned the “historical sexual abuse” case in which the famous singer and television series host, Danny Caxton (now 85 years old), has been linked to a series of underage rape cases during the height of his career in the 1960s and 1970s. One particularly vocal victim, poet Linda Palmer, is eager to pursue the justice she never received as a teenaged girl when Danny and another man sexually assaulted her in a hotel room, taking her virginity by force and scarring her emotionally.

The current case is assigned to Detective Inspector Annie Cabbot, Banks’s co-worker with whom he had a previous intimate relationship before his recent promotion. Annie, a rape victim herself, is tasked with investigating a heinous crime in which a dead teenaged girl is found naked, bruised, beaten, and bloody on a lonely country road. As forensic details emerge, we learn the girl also was gang raped before the fatal beating.

As both investigations continue, details reveal shocking levels of ongoing perversity and violence against women. This disturbing story is not for the squeamish.
The author teases out the stories simultaneously, revealing a little of each in every chapter. In the cold case, we know who did it, but we don’t know how he got away with it or the details of Caxton’s criminal activity. In the current case, we don’t know who the murderer might be or the motive behind the gruesome attack. Although the book maintains suspense throughout, at 421 pages, the story would be tighter without frequent deviations into the detectives’ musical and literary tastes, which create minor distractions and add little to the story.

Even so, this latest installment in the Inspector Banks series is definitely a page-turner that’s hard to put down, and will keep most readers guessing until the final chapters.

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] [1 book] [2 book]
Piece of My Heart #16
Friend of the Devil #17
All the Colors of Darkness
Watching The Dark # 20
In The Dark Places #22 [review 1] [review 2]
When The Music's Over #23 [review 1] [review 2]

Reviewer Leslie C. Halpern is the author of 200 Love Lessons from the Movies, Passionate About Their Work: 151 Celebrities, Artists, and Experts on Creativity, Reel Romance, Dreams on Film, and the Funny Children's Poems book series.
Reviewed 2016