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All the Colours of Darkness: An Inspector Banks Novel    by Peter Robinson order for
All the Colours of Darkness
by Peter Robinson
Order:  USA  Can
McClelland & Stewart, 2009 (2008)
Hardcover, Paperback

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* * *   Reviewed by Hilary Williamson

DCI Alan Banks and DI Annie Cabbot are back investigating what seems at first a relatively straightforward murder/suicide in All the Colours of Darkness, the eighteenth in the series. The case interrupted Alan's romantic week-end with his new girlfriend Sophia.

The first victim, theatre set designer Mark Hardcastle, is found hung in a tree in the Eastvale woods by schoolchildren. Then Alan and Annie discover Hardcastle's wealthy lover, Laurence Silber, brutally murdered in his high end home. Alan resists pressure from above to close the case as a murder/suicide. After being warned off by the spooks, he wonders whether professional jealousy at the Eastvale Theatre was the motivation for murder, or did it have something to do with Silber's work with MI6?

Alan is right to distrust the intelligence services, whose attempts to keep him in line cut a deep chasm between him and Sophia, and frighten feisty young PI, Tomasina ('Tom') Savage. But does this prejudice affect his judgment in the murder investigation he pursues on his own time? When Banks is caught in the aftereffects of the blast of a suicide bombing in downtown London, he finds 'His world had changed, his axis shifted' but still fears those who have the power to 'erase your past and rewrite your life in the blink of an eye.'

Like Ian Rankin, Robinson highlights characters' (especially Banks') preferences in music through his story, making it part of the background for those who know the pieces. As always he delivers a masterful plot with real, vulnerable characters. He avoids a trite ending and raises important questions, looking critically at organizations guided by an end-justifies-means directive. Alan Banks fans will find much food for thought in All the Colours of Darkness.

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