The act of reading ... begins on a flat surface, counter or page, and then gets stirred and chopped and blended until what we make, in the end, is a dish, or story, all our own.
— Adam Gopnik

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January 9, 2014

Children of the Revolution

      ... Banks sipped some wine. It must be his job, he thought. The homicide rate in North Yorkshire  was hardly comparable to New York or even London, but one or two a year was quite enough, he found. Each death was a story, pathetic, tragic, even comic on occasion, but they accumulated and weighed him down like the snow on a rolling snowball.  He became encrusted with death, heavy with it.
      Enough morbid thoughts, he decided. Maybe it was time to crack out the Chicken Dance CD, open the bubbly and invite a few friends over. As if.

Peter Robinson's series about DCI Alan Banks is another that I've been reading (and always looking forward to) for a long time ... and Banks is another detective  who is on the brink, at least, of retirement. I feel old. :) 

In this book {the 21st}, one of the children of the revolution (the 1970s, college Marxists, striking  miners) is the victim, Gavin Miller, a destitute, emaciated, disgraced former college teacher found dead on an abandoned railroad cut near his isolated house. The fact that he could have jumped, or been pushed, but not fallen, from a nearby railroad bridge, and that he has 5,000 pounds in his pocket, and, later, the reasons for his disgrace and decline, mean that this is a suspicious death, and the closeness in their ages and Miller's love of vinyl records make his death a little more resonant for Banks. The other is the beautiful Lady Veronica Chalmers, who writes romance novels and denies any connection with Miller, something Banks finds hard to believe.

When he is warned off any further attempts to investigate Lady Chalmers, Banks enlists a new young detective constable -- a good researcher -- in his efforts to find the connection, while Annie and Winsome look for a motive in the problems the dead man had at work.

A good story, one that kept me wondering what would happen, but more than that, as usual, a chance to spend time with characters I've grown to like.

I read the UK edition, courtesy of the college library; Children of the Revolution will be published in the U.S. at the end of March.

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