(From the publisher):
Estranged from his carping wife, and still in the doghouse with petty Chief Constable Jeremiah Riddle after his freelance investigations in Blood at the Root (1997), Eastvale's Chief Inspector Alan Banks doesn't expect much good news and his worst fears seem confirmed when Jimmy Riddle packs him off to Harksmere, where a drought and an inquisitive boy have combined to reveal a 50-year-old corpse under the rotting floor of a building no longer submerged in the parched Thornfield Reservoir. There's clearly no glory to be won solving so ancient a case, especially when the local investigating force consists of one sergeant, Anne Cabbot, and almost everyone who might know what happened in the abandoned village of Hobb's End is now as dead as the village itself. Starting with hints from the corpse (some fine, unobtrusive pathological work here), Banks and Cabbot slowly narrow their focus to the the household of Matthew Shackleton a farm boy who went off to the war in 1941 after marrying lively land girl Gloria Stringer and of his sister Gwen. Meantime, mystery novelist Vivian Elmsley, hearing of the grisly find beneath the reservoir, cowers (why?) in anticipation of Banks's knock at her own door. Crosscutting dexterously between past and present, courtesy of Vivian's memoir of the days when the countryside was shorn of its native males and overrun by charming Yanks, Robinson delicately reveals a web of passion and pain whose pattern still isn't complete. 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.
Original title: In a Dry Season
Genre: Fiction→ Crime and Mystery→ Detective Story and Detectives→ General