Murder in a snowy Yorkshire town

The Alan Banks novels by Peter Robinson are good, solid crime novels set within the police in Yorkshire. Past Reason Hated is one of the earlier books in the series and is an excellent read. It was written in 1991 but books featuring these characters were still being written until the author’s death last year. They concentrate on the investigation of the murder rather than making a huge thing about the private lives of the police officers and they are not particularly gory. I’ve read a few of these books in the past and the series can easily be read in any order.

Caroline Hartley is found dead in her home during the Christmas season when there is snow on the ground and few people’s minds are turning to murder. Banks and his team, and especially a newly promoted detective called Susan Gay, try to work out what has happened and this means delving into the victim’s past life which turns out to have been eventful and well hidden from her partner and friends. The murderer has staged the crime scene and there is music playing in the background and the investigators have to determine what significance this to the case.

This is Susan’s first case on the team and we see some of the investigation from her point of view and some from that of the much more experienced Alan Banks. This allows the author show us all aspects of the case and to round out the characters of the suspects. I liked the way that this was done and thought it was particularly effective at the end of the book when the two characters are separated with each of them knowing a little of what is going on whilst the reader has a much fuller picture.

I thought this book was well written and moved along at a good pace. I liked the snowy, Christmas setting. I thought that the unravelling of Caroline’s past was interesting. The two detective points of view worked effectively. This isn’t a particularly showy novel and nor is it very long but it’s well-crafted and entertaining to read.

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