Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Heard: "A Dedicated Man" by Peter Robinson

Heard: A Dedicated Man by Peter Robinson, 1988, Overdrive.com download.

When I got sick of screwing with my half-working iPod I downloaded the Overdrive application to my phone.  The application works fine but the titles transferred to the iPods iTunes never expire.  The titles on the phone app do expire. Oh, well.

I selected this title for a few reasons. 1) I've heard of the series but never read one. 2) Not all the audiobook titles on Overdrive are compatible with the app.  What the hell? This one is is compatible and I got sick of looking and was tired of screwing around getting the app to work.

DCI Alan Banks has moved from London to Yorkshire.  This is the second novel in the Banks series and Banks is still adjusting to life in Yorkshire, but he likes it there. Banks is called away from a weekend morning at home to a murder scene in a field.  A dead man with a bashed in head was partially concealed under a stone wall. Banks finds out the man is a former academic, Steadman. Steadman was murdered elsewhere, dumped in the field, and his car left nearby.

Steadman had inherited a lot of money and retired to do his own historical research. Steadman's wife has an alibi and plenty of tears. Steadman's friends say he was a great guy. Steadman's former colleagues said no one hated him. Banks can find no witnesses to the body drop.  This is no traveling serial killer event. Steadman does the only thing he can do, he asks lots of questions.

Banks can find nothing in the present that points to a motive or suspect so Banks focuses on the past. The Steadman's used to vacation in the town several years ago before retiring there.  Steadman made pals with a couple teens back then and they still live in town.  Banks looks for infidelity. Banks looks for jealousy. Banks gets stonewalled. 

Robinson gives us the dialogue to many interrogations and interviews. There is a lot of back-and-forth between Banks and his interview subjects. Even Steadman's pals will hide things from Banks. Banks gets frustrated, "This is a murder investigation. He was your friend!"

Meanwhile, precocious teen girl Sally thinks she may know something. Sally is sixteen years old and makes out with her boyfriend. Sally argues with her parents. Sally has aspirations of acting and the Big City. Sally wants to solve the case.

Things happen. Slowly.  Banks has to pester, push and prod. Banks has to sift through small town rumors and prejudice. Banks is still an outsider and sticks out like a sore thumb.  A sore thumb covered in neon orange paint. And a flashing light. With a dragon attached. The dragon is playing a tuba. A dragon sized tuba. (Okay, I exaggerated a lot.  A whole lot. I got carried away. Like in a river. A big flowing river. After thunderstorms. The thunderstorms of a 200-year-flood. A flood crossing the plains with a 10 foot depth and no hills to shelter on. Brownie, you're doing a heck of a job.)

1. Sally is murdered.  She was a well drawn character.  Sally was looking to leave the small town and be a star. She was pretty and had talent. Sally had a brief crush on Banks until she found out he left London and then she looked down on him.  She thought he left a place of excitement for village life and turned down heroism opportunities.
2. Lots of beer.
3. 1988 with no cell phones or forensics focus.


pattinase (abbott) said...

Always love Peter Robinson

Kelly Robinson said...

I love Peter Robinson. I think the series gets better as it goes along, up to a point, peaking with IN A DRY SEASON, but the last few have been lackluster. I feel like he should wrap up the series.