Hodder & Stoughton. This edition published Aug 2007
Reviewed by Sunnie Gill
A quadriplegic is found sitting in her wheelchair near a cliff edge with
her throat cut. DI Annie Cabbot is given the case. She has been assigned
temporarily to another division and without her usual colleagues around
finds the going a little tough. Annie is puzzled by the motive for
murdering Karen Drew. Karen canít move or communicate. How could she
possibly harm anyone enough that they would want to murder her? It canít
be about money. Karen doesnít have enough for that. The only clue Annie
has is a very vague description of a woman who signed herself in at the
nursing home as ďMaryĒ.
Meanwhile back in Eastvale, Detective Chief Inspector Alan Banks is
conducting an investigation into the rape and strangulation of a
nineteen-year-old girl found in The Maze, a complex system of back alleys
behind the main market square of the town. Hayley Daniels was attractive,
loud and brash. There is any number of admirers who might have become
carried away after a drunken night on the town. As the suspects are
gradually eliminated Banks is left to ponder other possibilities.
Annie uncovers some shocking information about Karenís past which throws
new light on a motive for her murder, and realises that perhaps the two
investigations do have connections. The relationship between Annie and
Banks is somewhat strained. The affair they had didnít end happily and
Annie in particular is struggling to come to terms with how to deal with
Banks in her professional life. More murders, including one of a
colleague, force the two to work together to uncover what events of the
past have precipitated these deaths.
Robinson chronicles the two investigations by switching from one to the
other at regular intervals. They arenít delineated by chapters. One minute
you will be reading about Bankís investigation and in the next paragraph
the action has changed to Annie. I found it a little confusing before I
had all the characters sorted out in my head.
Peter Robinson has a huge following for his Inspector Banks series and
quite rightly. Heís a fine writer. I have to confess, however, that Iím
not a big fan of the series. I find it difficult to warm to Alan Banks.
His private life is something of a soap opera which can be difficult to
keep up with unless you read all the books. I also found the repeated
references to the music Banks listens to distracting. Followers of the
Inspector Banks series will doubtless enjoy FRIEND OF THE DEVIL. The
writing is Robinsonís usual high standard. I wish I could overcome my
dislike of Banks to fully appreciate the series.
Sep 2007 review originally published on Murder and Mayhem
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