On the front of the hard cover edition to Peter Robinson's excellent novel "When the Music's over" there is a comment by the author Jeffrey Deaver...."Top-notch police procedure" This is an unassuming but very apt comment about a novel and a story that I found totally engrossing from the first to last page. Deaver's comment almost has the effect of implying that this is a work of some drudgery and reading it is somewhat akin to a work of labour and toil. The truth could not be more different for this is a story that takes you right into the heart of a police investigation (in fact two investigations) an almost fly on the wall drama, you watch and read with fascination and excitement as the facts reveal themselves and our two heroes DS Banks and DI Annie Cabbot unravel a story of mistrust, evil and deceit in an attempt to bring the perpetrators to justice.
Detective Superintendant Alan Banks is investigating an historical case of sexual abuse against one time television and stage performer Danny Caxton. Linda Palmer was barely a teenager at the time when it is alleged Caxton charmed and allured her to a hotel room in Blackpool where the rape and assault took place. In the meantime Detective Inspector Annie Cabbot is hot on the trail of the brutal rape and murder of a vulnerable 14 year old Mimsy Moffat. Banks as part of his new promotion is actively involved in one case and overseeing the other and as always it is wonderful to see the interplay between Banks and Cabbot given their past "romantic" history.
The magic with Peter Robinson's writing is that you the reader almost feel a part of the investigation. His research as always is impeccable and the storyline very of the moment if we consider the recent events that occurred in Rotherham and Rochdale and the celebrity trials of such notables as Rolf Harris, Stuart Hall, and Max Clifford. Adding to this the deplorable actions and breach of trust by Jimmy Savile and Cyril Smith MP then we have the basis for an informative and well researched story. I love the author's descriptive style of writing very easy to read yet visual and exciting in its delivery...."His hairy belly dropped over his belt, little squares of fat pushing through the net of his string vest, and his man-breasts wobbled when he moved. He could also do with a shave and a haircut, and probably a wash , too. A tin of Carlsberg Special Brew rested on one arm of his armchair and an ashtray on the other."........"For the rest, there are drugs, drink, violence, crime or just simply apathy broken up by the distraction of video games, sex, and mobile phones. Life is something to be got through. Days are hurdles, weeks are rivers to cross, months lakes and years oceans."
This is wonderful writing of the highest order; a brilliantly researched and presented story with a very suitable and proper conclusion. The 23rd Alan Banks novel and although it might be preferable to read the series in order! When the Music's Over can be read as a standalone. Highly Recommended.