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Book Review: A Necessary End, Peter Robinson

A Necessary End is no. 3 in the Inspector Banks series and as far as the others go (I am reading them out of order which is not a problem), it lacks the tight pacing of both the two previous books and later ones.

A Necessary End (Inspector Banks, #3)Commencing with an anti-nuclear demonstration in which a policeman is killed, Banks finds himself playing second-fiddle to an aggressive Superindent brought down from London. This man, Burgess, has a reputation for results only, it’s how he gets them that has Banks questioning not simply the man’s ethics and treatment of various suspects, but his inability to be¬†anything but myopic about the case.

Involving a sort of hippy pseudo-family on a nearby farm, may of whom have tragedy and secrets in their past, and some left- wing ideologues, the novel is a study of character more than it is crime. Having said that, I found the character of Burgess to be unbelievable. For someone who has risen through the ranks and supposedly earned the respect of his colleagues, he’s a misogynistic, narrow-minded bully who’s inability to join the dots would make a pre-schooler blush. He was very cliched and, in that regard, unusual for Robinson. Burgess does, however, function as a foil for Banks, highlighting the hero’s intellect, moral compass and compassion, but I think he could have been more subtley drawn – he is quite vaudevillian! The crime itself is also fairly pedestrian and I think the resolution owes more to happy coincidences and is too reliant on ex-machina to really ring true. What is lovely about this book is the language and the poignant descriptions of loss, longing and the countryside.

Overall, a good read, but not up there with the best. Gave it three out of five.

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