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The Price of Love and Other Stories    by Peter Robinson Amazon.com order for
Price of Love and Other Stories
by Peter Robinson
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William Morrow, 2009 (2009)
Hardcover, e-Book

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* * *   Reviewed by Bob Walch

'I have said before that I find short stories difficult to write, and that is still the case,' explains Peter Robinson in the introduction to this collection of short stories. 'The discipline is exacting and the amount of space in which I sometimes feel I have to maneuver feels quite claustrophobic.'

Although he may have misgivings about his shorter fiction, Robinson proves here that he can certainly spin a good yarn without using hundreds of pages to do so. The ten short stories and two novellas you'll find in this anthology feature not only the British author's hugely popular Yorkshire detective Alan Banks but also a range of other interesting protagonists. And, as he does in his novels, Robinson plumbs the dark side of human nature as he shows the adverse effects of greed, lust, rage and prejudice on people.

Whether it's a na´ve youngster who has suspicions about his mother's boyfriend and stumbles onto a shattering discovery, or a gentle black soldier accused of raping a white woman, all these edgy and suspenseful tales deliver an emotional punch.

The two novellas feature a side of Banks not really seen before. In Going Back, the Detective Inspector returns home for a family reunion only to have it take a rather sinister turn.

Written especially for this collection, the second novella, Like a Virgin, has Banks reminiscencing about the case that led him to leave London for Eastvale.

You'll find afternotes about each of the stories that will fill you in on the background or circumstances under which the story was written. Robinson admits that some of these stories opened up new directions for him, took him places he would not normally have gone, and forced him into areas he might not have ventured into if left to his own devices. That exploration of new territory certainly is a plus for the reader!

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