Peter Robinson, who emigrated to Canada in 1974, is best known for his novels featuring Detective Chief Inspector Alan Banks of the Eastvale Criminal Investigation Department, Yorkshire, England. In addition, Robinson has published several non-series novels, among them the psychological thriller Caedmon's Song and a police procedural set primarily in Los Angeles, No Cure for Love. In each case, Robinson combines what might be called "psychological realism," or a focus on character and motivation, with thoughtful cultural commentary, particularly with respect to post-Thatcher England and its susceptibility to the values, tastes, and practices of urban America.
Robinson's Inspector Banks series is built around the character of Alan Banks and the quiet, methodical, and ruminative way in which he sets about solving crimes in the Yorkshire Dales with the assistance of his investigative team. Banks is relatively new to the Dales, having recently transferred from London in search of (ironically, given the number of murders that fall his way) a quieter professional life. He is married to an independent woman he genuinely enjoys and who challenges rather than acquiesces to him. A consummate family man, Banks runs miniature trains for relaxation, relishes his Sunday beef with Yorkshire pudding, and mourns his children's adolescent trajectory away from hearth and home. He enjoys a good working partnership with his superior, Detective Superintendent Gristhorpe, a gritty Yorkshireman who struggles to replicate the ancient technology of dry stone wall-building on his Dales farm. In employing cool logic, honed instinct, and sheer doggedness in pursuing his inquiries, and in avoiding violence for the most part, Inspector Banks is very much the classic police investigator—which is not surprising, given Robinson's acknowledgment of writers like Simenon, Maigret, and Christie as early influences upon his work.