A picturesque Yorkshire village is dressed in its finest for the upcoming Noel. But one of its residents will not be celebrating this holiday. Chief Inspector Alan Banks knows that secrecy can sometimes prove fatal---and secrets were the driving force behind Caroline Hartley's life...and death. She was a beautiful enigma, brutally stabbed in her own home three days prior to Christmas. Leaving her past behind for a forbidden love affair, she mystified more than a few. And now she is dead, clothed only in her unshared mysteries and her blood. In this season of giving and forgiving, Banks is eager to absolve the innocent of their sins. But that must wait until the many facets of a perplexing puzzle are exposed and the dark circle of his investigation finally closes...and when a killer makes the next move.
©2000 Peter Robinson (P)2010 Tantor
"Immensely satisfying." (St. Petersburg Times)
I am a huge fan of the DCI Banks books, and although all of them are very good, a few stand out - this being one of them. For one, I was listening to it around Christmas time, and it is set around that time. For another, it fleshes out Banks's character quite a bit, and makes frequent references to his musical tastes. In fact music seems to play a big role in this book. So much so, that I bought the CD of music mentioned in the book, and went on to write a review about the CD as well!
Vivaldi wrote four different versions of Laudate pueri Dominum (RV600-RV603), differing in tone and mood. Personally I used to like the RV600 version the best as it is the most solemn. RV601 can be somewhat more frivolous, and many sopranos seem keen to let their vocal skills loose on it, making it sound even less solemn and too "frilly" in my opinion. So, I have never been too keen on RV601.
The Magda Kalmar RV601 recording seems to play a key role in trying to uncover who murdered a young woman, and the why. According to Banks, this version is also the best of all the Laudate pueri versions and recordings. Thus intrigued I bought it and played it as the soundtrack to the book, as Peter Robinson does in a way, by mentioning it in the narrative as playing, over and over again. I have to agree with Banks, it is a great recording and makes for an interesting experience in combination with reading the book.
Of all the Banks books, this book conjures up most of an "athmosphere" for me, draws you in, makes you want to draw the curtains and put the Kalmar CD on - it is in fact almost like a classical who-dunnit (excuse the pun....).
It is easy to see why the rest of the series became so popular, and long may Peter Robinson write the Banks mysteries....
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