Innocent Graves – 1996

Innocent graves

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When last seen alive, sixteen-year-old Deborah Harrison was on her way home from school. Her friend Megan thinks she saw the shadowy figure of a man behind Deborah as they waved goodbye on the bridge, but the fog was so thick that evening she can’t be sure. Not long after, Deborah’s body is found in the local cemetery. The murder terrorises the wealthy enclave of St Mary’s, Eastvale, and because Deborah was the daughter of a prominent industrialist, high-flying new Chief Constable Jeremiah “Jimmy” Riddle puts pressure on Detective Chief Inspector Alan Banks and his team to catch the killer without delay. And soon, partly thanks to the work of new boy Detective Inspector Barry Stott, it looks as if they have done…

But Banks is not convinced. While the community breathes a collective sigh of relief and turns into a lynch-mob, Banks examines the loose ends: a vicar, accused of sexually harassing a refugee worker, who lies about his whereabouts at the time of the murder; his straying wife; a schoolteacher with a dark secret; the accused’s vindictive ex-girlfriend; a teenage thug who has threatened Deborah and her family with violence. And then there are Deborah’s own family secrets. With each new piece of information, a different pattern is formed, until Banks is forced to incur the wrath of Jimmy Riddle if he hopes to solve the case.

Nominated for a Hammett Award by the International Association of Crime Writers.
Selected by Publishers Weekly as one of the best seven mysteries of 1996.
Winner of the 1996 CWC Arthur Ellis Award for Best Novel.

Press Reviews

“Robinson adds another level of nuance to his already fully dimensioned fiction and takes a quantum leap as a writer.” Publishers Weekly (* starred review)

“Masterful, suspenseful, and riveting.” Booklist (*starred review)

“First-class work. Banks and his assistant Susan Gay are good company, the plot twists frequent and surprising.” People (“Page-Turner of the Week”)

“A standout performance from one of the last and finest masters of the understated British procedural, with plenty of passion to understate.” Kirkus Reviews (*starred review)

“Peter Robinson’s eighth Inspector Banks adventure, Innocent Graves, is one of the best of this creditable series….Smoothly diverting entertainment with several cunning twists.” John North, The Toronto Star

“This is the eighth and possibly the best-realized story in the Detective Chief Inspector Alan Banks series.” Don Sandstrom, ,Mystery News

“The characters have complexity and the issues range broad and deep, raising interesting moral questions about bigotry, class privilege and the terrible crime of being different.” Marilyn Stasio, New York Times Book Review

“A vivid and intricate tale that lingers in the memory.” Yorkshire Post

“Robinson’s work has an energy and imagination that makes it as fresh as it was in the beginning. In fact, this novel is one of the top three so far .This one is good right to the end.” Margaret Cannon, Globe and Mail

“an added depth and complexity not found in most series novels. I highly recommend it.” Ann Stephenson, The Ottawa Citizen

“This really is a classic. It has every component a good headline writer might look for . Such a strong storyline ensures a cracking pace from start to finish.” Diane Chalmers, Coventry Evening Telepgraph