This is book 11 in the Inspector Banks series of which I have read quite a few by now. They are all well written, although my personal interest in the plots differ a lot from book to book. Cold is the Grave sort of falls middle of the road. Its a long read, and the first third didn’t really interest me, although I could see once the story got moving, why the first third had to be there in the first place. I also found the book to be about 50 pages too long, but that is a minor detail, since it is indeed well written.
Banks is being sent to London from his Yorkshire turf to help finding Emily, the runaway daughter of his boss, chief of police Jerry Riddle. Riddle has political ambitions, and he asks Banks to do this investigation at most discreet. Riddle and his cool wife Rosalind, the lawyer, are not interested in having their wild daughter tarnish the Riddle family’s reputation. Banks unwillingly travels to London, manages to find Emily and delivers her relatively safe and sound to her family again.
Later a couple of lowlife criminals are found murdered, and as the investigations into those murders begin, Emily shows up again, asking Banks to meet with her. Soon it becomes clear that some of Emily’s aquaintances in London could be involved in the murders of the low life criminals. Before Banks and his team manages to crack open the case completely, dramatic things happen, and the investigation takes on a whole other direction.
And this is where the story becomes a real mystery, with twists and turns, one more surprising than the other. In the end it is all being wrapped up – even Banks’ love life which has been unsteady since his wife Sandra left him in an earlier book. The last part of the book was definitely the best, and I am already looking forward to the next one in the series, Aftermath.