The twenty-seventh installment of the #1 bestselling Inspector Banks series by "the grand master of the genre" (Literary Review), Peter Robinson.
The gruesome double-murder at an Eastvale property developer’s luxury home should be an open and shut case for Superintendent Alan Banks and his team of detectives. There’s a clear link to the notoriously vicious Albanian mafia, men who left the country suspiciously soon after the murder. When Banks and his team find a cache of spy-cam videos hidden in the house, the investigation pivots to another violent crime that could cast the murders in an entirely different light.
Meanwhile, Banks’s friend Zelda is increasingly uncertain of her future in Britain’s hostile environment. She thinks she will be safer in Moldova, hunting the men who enslaved her, than she is Yorkshire or London. Her search takes her back to the orphanage where it all began. By stirring up the murky waters of the past, Zelda is putting herself in greater danger than ever before.
And as the threat to Zelda escalates, so does the danger for Banks and all those around them . . .
About the author
PETER ROBINSON grew up in the United Kingdom, and now divides his time between Toronto, Ontario, and Richmond, Yorkshire. Robinson's forthcoming novel, Not Dark Yet, is the twenty-seventh book in the Inspector Banks series. He has also written two collections of short stories and three stand-alone novels, including the #1 bestseller Before the Poison, winner of the Arthur Ellis Award, Sweden's Golden Crowbar Award, and the Dilys Award given by the Independent Mystery Booksellers Association. In 2020, Robinson was presented with the Grand Master Award by the Crime Writers of Canada. His critically acclaimed books have won numerous other awards in Britain, the United States, and Europe, and are published in translation all over the world. Several Inspector Banks novels have been adapted for television by ITV and have appeared on PBS. Visit www.inspectorbanks.com.
Excerpt: Not Dark Yet (by (author) Peter Robinson)
The silence inside the ruined orphanage rang in Zelda’s ears, interrupted only by the distant motor of a car, shout of a child, or bark of a dog. The place smelled musty with rotten wood, mould, dead leaves and stagnant water. For a while, Zelda just stood there as her eyes adjusted. Dust motes floated in the pale light that came in through the broken windows on the upper level.
Ahead of her, a broad staircase led to the first and second floors, mostly dormitories and classrooms. Down here, on the ground floor, had been the administrative offices, staffrooms, cafeteria and communal areas where the children could sit and chat, watch TV, play chess or table tennis. There was also an assembly hall, where they gathered every morning for hymns and prayers.
When Zelda could see clearly, she noticed that the plaster was crumbling from the walls, and in places was completely gone. The thick pile carpets that had once graced the stairs had rotted away to stained tatters, and their patterns had faded. There had been paintings on the walls – nothing special, just landscapes and portraits easy on the eyes – but they were all either gone now or lying torn and broken on the floor. Even in here there was graffiti, the usual sort of crudities, and the floors were strewn with rubbish. Somewhere in the distance she could hear water dripping. Then she heard something skittering down one of the corridors. It wasn’t loud enough to be another person. Probably just a rat.
When Zelda moved, she realised she had been holding her breath so long she was beginning to feel dizzy. She grabbed a banister and took a few deep breaths. The wood felt as smooth under her palm as it had years ago, when she and her friends had slid down, strictly against the rules. Olga. Vika. Axenia. Where were they all now? She knew that the beautiful Iuliana had been sold, the same way she had, for they had met a couple of years later in a brothel in Užice, in Serbia. Iuliana, her body and spirit broken, had told Zelda about seeing Lupescu, the orphanage director, watching as she was taken in the street, and drawing back inside as soon as he realised she had spotted him. Nothing was ever said or done about it, and that was one reason Zelda thought he was to blame. Iuliana had killed herself soon after their talk. She was why Zelda was here today.
Zelda carried on up the stairs, wondering what she would find there. But it was just another scene of vandalism. More sunlight poured in through the broken windows and illuminated the clouds of dust Zelda kicked up as she walked. By instinct, she went first to her old dormitory, beds for twelve girls arranged into opposite rows of six, each with a cupboard and bedside table. She thought of the conversations they had had there after lights out, secrets shared, hopes and dreams, grief at the loss of their parents, plans for the future, crushes and loathings, mostly for the boys, who teased them mercilessly. But Zelda had experienced her first feelings for a boy there, she remembered. Radu Prodan. She had buried the memory for years, but now she remembered he had been beautiful, shy, quiet, intelligent, with an untamed shock of blond hair and a habit of trying to smooth it down. Perhaps she had loved him, as well as any girl could love a boy at the age of nine. She had no idea what had become of Radu. Had boys been sold, too?
The old beds had all been stripped down to their metal frames, the tables upturned and the cupboards smashed. There was more graffiti. Zelda wondered whether the vandals who had done all this had any idea what the place had been, what lives had been nurtured here – nurtured and then stolen, in some cases. It didn’t matter.
She wandered the rooms and corridors in a daze until she came to an old storage room, which was still full of boxes and packing crates. It was in one of these that she discovered a damp, misshapen cardboard box full of old books, mostly water-damaged, mouldy and warped, with curled pages and stained covers. But they were the books she remembered, the English books: Jane Eyre, David Copperfield, Five Go to Mystery Moor, 4.50 From Paddington, The Sign of Four, The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe. As she handled them, she felt tears burn in her eyes, and soon the sobbing wracked her body. She let herself slump on the filthy floor to cry. These were the kind of books that had filled her teenage hours with joy, romance and adventure.
When the whirlwind of emotion passed, leaving Zelda feeling numb and tired again, she put back the soggy book she had been holding – The Wind in the Willows – and made to close the box. As she did so, she caught sight of a label affixed to the corner of one of the flaps. It was faded and almost completely peeled off, but when she got closer, she was able to make out a name and address: Vasile Lupescu, the name of the orphanage director, and the address of the place she was in. But there was a second name, unknown to her. It was an English name, William Buckley, and the address was in Suruceni, a village on the shores of Lake Danceni, about twenty kilometres west of Chi?inau.
Was this, then, the address of her mysterious benefactor? She had always wondered who it was, where the books had come from. Was he still alive? Still in Suruceni? She hadn’t made any kind of plan beyond visiting the orphanage, hoping she might find some clue to Vasile Lupescu’s whereabouts. Everything had depended on what she discovered here. And now she had something concrete to go on. The first person she would go to for information was William Buckley.
Advance Praise for Not Dark Yet
“Robinson pulls the reader in with deft characterizations, powerfully understated action scenes, and strong locales . . . For Robinson, it would seem, things can never get dark enough. A strong addition to the Banks series that suggests tantalizing possibilities for the next installment.” –Kirkus Reviews
“Fans will welcome this latest Banks adventure and revel in what Michael Connelly calls Robinson’s ‘clear eye for the telling detail.’” –Booklist
“Robinson ably balances multiple plotlines in his intricate 27th novel . . . Annie and Gerry’s investigation intersects credibly with Zelda’s case, and Robinson deepens the character of Banks, who is increasingly disillusioned with his police work and resentful of its emotional toll. Fans will wonder what lies ahead for his career and personal life.” –Publishers Weekly