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Fiction Police Procedural

The Price of Love and Other Stories

by (author) Peter Robinson

McClelland & Stewart
Initial publish date
Jun 2010
Police Procedural, Suspense, Crime
  • Paperback / softback

    Publish Date
    Jun 2010
    List Price

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A dozen of the very best mystery stories from crime-fiction’s maestro, including a new Inspector Banks story.

Best known—and much admired—for his long-running and bestselling Inspector Banks series, Peter Robinson is also widely and highly praised by mystery mavens for his riveting short stories.

Robinson’s versatile talent is on full display in the twelve stories that comprise his latest short story collection, The Price of Love and Other Stories. Spellbinding plots, suspense that grips and won’t let go, utterly unpredictable twists, psychological truths both sweet and scary, characters you’d like to meet (and some you’d hope never to encounter), all set in places that are characters themselves—these are the fundamentals of story and mystery that Robinson plays like the virtuoso he is.

About the author

Contributor Notes

PETER ROBINSON was a beloved crime novelist whose work spanned thirty-five years. His final novel, Standing In the Shadows, is the twenty-eighth installment in the Inspector Banks series. His critically acclaimed books have won numerous awards in Britain, the United States, and Europe, and are published in translation all over the world. He also wrote 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. Several Inspector Banks novels have been adapted for television by ITV and have appeared on PBS. Peter, who grew up in the United Kingdom, lived with his wife, Sheila Halladay, in Toronto, Ontario, and Richmond, Yorkshire. Visit

Excerpt: The Price of Love and Other Stories (by (author) Peter Robinson)

An excerpt from the new novella about DCI Alan Banks, Like A Virgin, one of three stories about Banks in The Price of Love.
In the soft light of the red-shaded bulb that hung over the centre of the room, the girl’s body looked serene. She could easily have been sleeping, Banks thought, as he moved forward to get a better view of her. She lay on her back on the pink candlewick bedspread, covered from neck to toe by a white sheet, hands clasped together above the swell of her breasts in an attitude of prayer or supplication, her long dark hair spread out on the pillow. Her pale features were delicate and finely-etched, and Banks imagined she had been quite a beauty in life. He wondered what she had looked like when she smiled or frowned. Her hazel eyes were devoid of life now, her face free of makeup, and at first glance there wasn’t a mark on her. But when Banks peered closer, he could see the petechial hemorrhages, the tiny telltale dots of blood in her conjunctiva, a sign of death by asphyxia. There was no bruising on her neck, so he guessed suffocation rather than strangulation, but Dr. O’Grady, the Home Office pathologist who knelt beside her at his silent ministrations, would be able to tell him more after his in situ examination.

The room was small and stuffy, but the Persian-style carpet and striped wallpaper gave it a homely touch. It seemed well-maintained, despite its location on the fringes of Soho. No sleazy backstreet hovel for this girl. The window hadn’t been open when Banks arrived, and he knew better than to tamper with the scene in any way, so he left it closed. There wasn’t much space for furniture — a small dressing table with mirror, a washstand in the corner next to the cubicle WC, and a bedside table, on which stood a chipped enamel bowl where a facecloth floated in discoloured water. In the drawer were condoms, tissues and an assortment of sex aids. Did she live here? Banks didn’t think so. There were no clothes and no cooking facilities.

The victim could have been anywhere between fifteen and twenty-five, Banks thought, and her youth certainly added to the aura of innocence that surrounded her in death. Whether she had appeared that way in life, he didn’t know, but he doubted it.

Someone had clearly gone to great pains to make her look innocent. Her legs were stretched out straight together, and even under the sheet she was fully dressed. Her clothes — a short skirt, patent leather high heels, dark tights and a green scallop-neck top — were provocative, but not too tarty. Much more tasteful than that. So what was it all about?

Her handbag contained the usual: cigarettes, a yellow disposable lighter, keys on a fluffy rabbit’s foot ring, makeup, tampons, a cheap ballpoint pen and a purse with a few pounds and some loose change. There was no address book or diary and no credit cards or identification of any kind. The only item Banks found of any interest was a creased photograph of a proud, handsome young man in what looked like his best suit, bouncing a little girl on his knee. There was a resemblance, and Banks guessed it was the victim and her father. According to the girlfriend who had found her, Jackie Simmons, the victim’s name was Pamela Morrison.

Banks went back to stand in the doorway. He had quickly learned that the fewer people who entered a room before the SOCOs got to work, the better. He was on detachment from Soho Division to the West Central Murder Squad. Everything was squads and specialists these days, and if you didn’t find your niche somewhere pretty fast, you soon became a general dogsbody. Nobody wanted that, especially Banks. He seemed to have a knack for ferreting out murderers, and luckily for him the powers that be in the Metropolitan Police Force agreed. So here he was. His immediate boss, Detective Superintendent Bernard Hatchard, was officially in charge of the investigation, of course, but he was so burdened by paperwork and public relations duties that he rarely left the station and was more than happy to leave the legwork to his DI and his oppo DS Ozzy Albright — as long as he got regular updates so he didn’t sound like a wanker in front of the media.

Banks liked the way things were, but lately he had started to feel the pressure. It wasn’t that there were more murders to deal with, simply that each one seemed to get to him more and take more out of him. But there was no going back. That way lay a desk piled with papers or, worse, traffic duty. He would just have to push on through whatever it was that was dragging him down, keeping him awake at night, making him neglect his family, drink and smoke too much . . . the litany went on.

Harry Beckett, the police photographer was next to arrive, and he went about his business with the usual professional detachment, as if he were photographing a wedding. Dr. O’Grady, who had been called from a formal dinner at the Soho Club, not far away, finally finished his examination, stood up and gave a weary sigh. His knees cracked as he moved.

“I’m getting too old for this, Banks,” he said. And he was looking old, Banks thought. Neat but thinning grey hair, the veins around his nose red and purple, perhaps due to his known fondness for fine claret.

“Any idea when she might have been killed?” Banks asked.

“Somehow, I knew you’d ask me that first,” the doctor said. “None of this is written in stone, mind you, especially given the temperature in the room, but judging by the rigor I’d say she’s been dead since last night, say between ten and one in the morning.”

Editorial Reviews

Praise for Peter Robinson:

“Peter Robinson . . . is one of the genre’s most talented short fiction authors.”
Globe and Mail

“Peter Robinson is an undisputed leader in the field.”
—Montreal Gazette

“Peter Robinson is one of the most reliable names around. . . . His writing has the confidence that is commensurate with the best.”
Crime Time

“Nobody covers the ground quite like Robinson does. His storytelling is all about the conflicts of life. . . . It is this warts-and-all portrayal of lives on the brink that makes Robinson among the best there is in modern crime fiction.”
Edmonton Journal

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