Review Blog

Nov 30 2016

When the music's over by Peter Robinson

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Hodder and Stoughton, 2016. ISBN 9781444786729
(Age: senior secondary to adult) Highly recommended. Crime fiction, Cold case, DCI Banks, Rape, Celebrity crime, Racism, Prostitution. When DCI Banks is promoted to Detective Superintendent, his first case is likely to be his last at this posting because of the high profile of the accused. He is to investigate an accusation of rape against an under age girl which happened in Blackpool in 1967 by a television and stage show celebrity now long retired. Having to interview this man, now in his mid eighties, as well as the accuser, takes all Banks' patience and stamina. The woman has not called this out lightly, but the recent exposure of such people as Rolf Harris and Jimmy Saville has brought it all back. And the police have several other women come forward with similar stories. During this investigation, Banks comes across the suspicious death of Caxton's road manager in the same year, and this creates another level of investigation which Banks finds was under-investigated, the paper trail now no longer able to be found.
Meanwhile Annie Cabot is called to investigate the death of a young girl, seemingly thrown from the back of a van, naked, in an out of the way minor road. The investigation into her background reveals connections with a group of Muslim men and so the cry of racism stirs up some of the populace of Eastvale. But her short life is exposed as one of a number of girls, groomed by these men to perform sexual acts for them and their friends, part of a network across the north of England, paralleling the sex abuse cases brought to court in Rochdale, Bristol and others in England in the past several years.
Both stories are disturbing, showing the level of sexual exploitation that occurs within our community against vulnerable women. And in some cases how personal influence keeps the stories from being brought into the public eye. The women are all under age, and those groomed for sexual exploitation from dysfunctional and lower socio-economic communities where grooming can be done easily at a local take away where young people gather. Both stories dove tail each other, reflecting some of the nastiest aspects of communities that I have read. Banks and Cabot and the usual entourage keep unearthing evidence and piecing things together to the satisfaction of all readers. And their investigations led me to research the cases alluded to in the book, although with a great deal of trepidation.
Fran Knight

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