In a Dry Season – 1999

Winner of the Anthony Award and Edgar Award nominee for Best Novel

“Storytellers are always digging up the past, but few bring to that melancholy task the exquisite delicacy achieved by Peter Robinson in his new police procedural, In a Dry Season.” The New York Times.

“From Peter Robinson’s deft hand comes a multi-layered mystery woven around the carefully detailed portraits of characters all held tightly in the grip of the past. At its heart is Inspector Banks. A man for all seasons, he knows that often the clues to the answers he seeks can be found in his own soul.” Michael Connelly, author of Blood Work

Read Michael Connelly’s interview with Peter Robinson at Mystery Readers International

Summary

When a boy finds a skeleton buried in a dried-up reservoir built on the site of a ruined village, Detective Chief Inspector Alan Banks is brought in by his arch-enemy Chief Constable Jeremiah “Jimmy” Riddle to head what looks like being a dull, routine investigation. It turns into anything but. With the help of Detective Sergeant Annie Cabbot, Banks uncovers long-kept secrets in a community that has resolutely concealed its past.

One former resident, now a writer, reveals her memories of Hobb’s End, the village that died before the reservoir was built. Her first person narrative, touched with both innocence and irony, takes us from 1941 to 1945, recreating another age, an era of rationing, of Land Girls, of American airmen, of jitterbugging and movies. And of murder.

As Banks and Annie unravel the deceptive and disparate relationships of half a century ago, suspense heightens and the past finally bursts into the present with terrifying consequences.

Press Reviews

“Anyone who likes a good mystery should curl up with a cuppa to enjoy this rich 10th installment of the acclaimed British police procedural series….Once again, Robinson’s work stands out for its psychological and moral complexity, its startling evocation of pastoral England and its gritty, compassionate portrayal of modern sleuthing.” Publishers Weekly (starred review)

“If the plot’s outline echoes that of Reginald Hill’s On Beulah Height (1998), the grand scale and warm compassion of Banks’s tenth case vault him into Hill’s select company. For all his troubles at home, this is Banks’s finest hour.” Kirkus Reviews

“In a Dry Season is a wonderful novel. From Peter Robinson’s deft hand comes a multi-layered mystery woven around the carefully detailed portraits of characters all held tightly in the grip of the past. At its heart is Inspector Banks. A man for all seasons, he knows that often the clues to the answers he seeks can be found in his own soul.” Michael Connelly, author of Blood Work