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SLEEPING IN THE GROUND (AUDIO)
by Peter Robinson and James Langton, narrator
Blackstone Audio, August 2017
unabridged pages
$39.99
ISBN: 1538419572


Buy in the UK | Buy in Canada

Detective Superintendent Alan Banks has just come from the funeral of Emily, his first love interest, and he is certainly in no mood to take up the murder of a bride, her groom, and a handful of other members of their wedding party at a church near his Eastvale headquarters in Yorkville.The fact that Laura Tindall, the bride, was in the early stages of pregnancy makes the slaying more grievous to Banks, as is the wounding of one of his detectives, a guest at the wedding.

For fans of "Inspector" Banks (the moniker seems to have stuck despite Banks' promotion to Detective Superintendent), and I count myself among them, SLEEPING IN THE GROUND is certainly one of Peter Robinson's more laconic entries in this long series. Much of the novel is centered on nostalgic rumination about Banks' lost love, and the absence of his two children throughout the work almost makes it seem as if they might not have existed. The murder of the young bride evokes comparisons to and memories of Emily. Also bringing up the past is the reappearance of Jenny Fuller, a profiler and love interest from Banks' more recent past.

Banks assembles his usual team of DI Annie Cabbot, DI Gerry Masterson, and the pathologist Dr. Glendenning, as they search for someone who was out to murder at least one member of the wedding party. Some Robinson fans will find this volume too full of interviews while lacking in action, but others, including this reviewer, found it more a thoughtful and mature meditation on the meaning of loss and continuation.

James Langton, who seems to alternate the narration of the Banks series with Simon Prebble, will grow on listeners to this series as much as Banks does. While he may have a bit less range than Prebble, particularly with channeling female characters, he deftly conveys the emotional "feel" of SLEEPING IN THE GROUND, which is part of the narrative challenge. Like other fine audio performers, Langton does not read but digests and then tries to embody Banks and his team.

While there are now twenty-four volumes in this series, this audio can certainly be appreciated by itself, but, as with other series, knowledge of the complicated relationships that have evolved among the characters is a plus. That said, SLEEPING IN THE GROUND is a welcome and delightful addition to the Banks procedurals.

An avid audiophile, Karla Jay is a retired professor of English and Women's & Gender Studies. She is a frequent contributor to this site.

Reviewed by Karla Jay, September 2017

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Contact: Yvonne Klein (ymk@reviewingtheevidence.com)


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