All The Colours Of Darkness by Peter Robinson

One of my daughters gave me All the Colours of Darkness by Peter Robinson. I was delighted. I first met Peter when I attended an Arvon writing course in Inverness, Scotland and he was one of the tutors. What an incisive mind he has! Peter hales from Armly, Leeds, Yorkshire, England where he was born on 17, March 1950. He gained an honours degree in English Literature from Leeds Peter_RobinsonUniversity. He then emigrated to Canada in 1974 and took his MA in English and Creative Writing at the University of Windsor, Canada where Joyce Carol Oates was his tutor. He has also attained his PhD from York University in Toronto, Canada. He now lives in the Beaches area of Toronto with his wife, Sheila Halladay, and he occasionally teaches crime writing. If you are interested in writing and find a course that is led by him, I commend it to you.

All the Colours of Darkness is the eighteenth novel in the Inspector Banks series of novels by this multi award winning English detective fiction writer. The novel was first printed in 2008, but has been reprinted a number of times since. It begins on a  beautiful June day in the Yorkshire Dales, in England. A group of children spend the last of their half-term freedom swimming in the river near Hindswell Woods. However their time is spoiled when they discover a man’s body, hanging from a tree.

DI Annie Cabott investigates the crime and discovers he is Mark Hardcastle, a popular and successful set designer for the Eastvale Theatre’s current production of Othello, by William Shakespeare. The crime is a clever play on Othello, as it progresses and a gay couple are deceased: one dead, one suicide. Banks has theories of the investigation. These are that this has been caused by a third party all the coulors of darknessspreading rumours and innendo which result in the catastrophic events that take place. The first death seems to be suicide, and Annie is mystified. There is no obvious reason why Hardcastle would want to take his own life. Then Annie’s investigation leads to another shattering discovery. Hardcastle’s partner is found murdered and DCI Alan Banks is called back from the holiday weekend he had planned with his new girlfriend.

Banks soon finds himself plunged into a world where nothing is what it seems. Secrets and deceit are the norm, and murder is seen as the solution to a problem. The deeper Banks digs, the more he discovers that the monster he has awakened will extend its deadly reach to his friends and family and nobody is safe.  The reader is treated to a mystery here which is not resolved until the end and follow Banks as he progresses through the investigation.

All the Colours of Darkness is a complex story that impacts on Banks social life. His new relationship goes down the pan. In fact, there is quite an air of desperation around Banks as everything gets messed up in his life as he does his job. He even, improbably, tries it on with a younger PI, who is only interested in him because of his rock and roll son. Predictably, Banks gets blown out. The complexity of the mystery is increased as one of the victims turns out to be MI5. There is also a strange interlude with Banks at the heart of a terrorist bomb. It adds nothing at all to the main story.

I will nail my colours to the mast and admit that I like Peter Robinson and enjoy his work. However, I am of the view that All the Colours of Darkness is not one of Peter’s finest works. It is good. Just not as good as many of his other novels. Still, I do recommend this book.

Valerie Penny

 

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