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Authors: Peter Robinson

Past Reason Hated

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Critical acclaim for Peter Robinson and the Inspector Banks series

GALLOWS VIEW

‘Peter Robinson is an expert plotter with an eye for telling detail’ –
New York Times

‘An impressive debut’ –
Publishers Weekly

‘Fans of P. D. James and Ruth Rendell who crave more contemporary themes should look no further than Peter Robinson’ –
Washington Post

A DEDICATED MAN

‘Robinson’s profound sense of place and reflective study of human nature give fine depth to his mystery’ –
New York Times

‘A deftly constructed plot . . . Robinson’s skill with the British police procedural has been burnished to a high gloss’ –
Chicago Tribune

A NECESSARY END

‘Another superior mystery’ –
Publishers Weekly

THE HANGING VALLEY

‘Highly recommended’ –
Kirkus Review

PAST REASON HATED

‘The characterizations are unfailingly sharp and subtle’ –
New York Times

WEDNESDAY’S CHILD

‘A dark, unsettling story . . . Impressive’ –
New York Times

DRY BONES THAT DREAM

‘Highly entertaining’ –
Scotland on Sunday

‘High-quality crime from one of Canada’s top crime-writers’ –
Toronto Star

INNOCENT GRAVES

‘Atmospheric’ –
Time Out

DEAD RIGHT

‘Every page here is readable and compelling’ –
Washington Times

‘This book has everything that makes a Peter Robinson book good . . . He writes absolutely perfect dialogue. And the plot keeps the reader guessing until the end’ –
Mystery Scene

IN A DRY SEASON

‘A powerfully moving work’ – I
AN
R
ANKIN

‘A wonderful novel’ – M
ICHAEL
C
ONNELLY

COLD IS THE GRAVE

‘Full of twists and surprises’ –
Chicago Tribune

‘Exhilarating’ –
Toronto Star

AFTERMATH

‘It demonstrates how the crime novel, when done right, can reach parts that other books can’t . . . A considerable achievement’ –
Guardian

‘Move over Ian Rankin – there’s a new gunslinger in town. If you haven’t caught up with him already, now is the time to start’ –
Independent on Sunday

‘A taut thriller with more twists than the Leeds to Goole highway’ –
Time Out

 

PAST REASON HATED

Peter Robinson
grew up in Yorkshire, and now lives in Canada.

His Inspector Banks series has won numerous awards in Britain, Europe, the United States and Canada. There are now fifteen novels published by Pan Macmillan in the series, of which
Past Reason Hated
is the fifth.
Aftermath,
the twelfth, was a
Sunday Times
bestseller.

 

The Inspector Banks series

GALLOWS VIEW

A DEDICATED MAN

A NECESSARY END

THE HANGING VALLEY

PAST REASON HATED

WEDNESDAY’S CHILD

DRY BONES THAT DREAM

INNOCENT GRAVES

DEAD RIGHT

IN A DRY SEASON

COLD IS THE GRAVE

AFTERMATH

THE SUMMER THAT NEVER WAS

PLAYING WITH FIRE

STRANGE AFFAIR

Also by Peter Robinson

CAEDMON’S SONG

NOT SAFE AFTER DARK AND OTHER WORKS

 
PETER
ROBINSON

PAST REASON HATED

AN INSPECTOR BANKS MYSTERY

PAN BOOKS

 

First published 1991 by Penguin Books Canada

This edition published 2002 by Pan Books

This electronic edition published 2008 by Pan Books
an imprint of Pan Macmillan Ltd
Pan Macmillan, 20 New Wharf Rd, London N1 9RR
Basingstoke and Oxford
Associated companies throughout the world
www.panmacmillan.com

ISBN 978-0-330-46941-8 in Adobe Reader format
ISBN 978-0-330-46940-1 in Adobe Digital Editions format
ISBN 978-0-330-46943-2 in Microsoft Reader format
ISBN 978-0-330-46942-5 in Mobipocket format

Copyright © Peter Robinson

The right of Peter Robinson to be identified as the author of this work has been asserted by him in accordance with the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988.

You may not copy, store, distribute, transmit, reproduce or otherwise make available this publication (or any part of it) in any form, or by any means (electronic, digital, optical, mechanical, photocopying, recording or otherwise), without the prior written permission of the publisher. Any person who does any unauthorized act in relation to this publication may be liable to criminal prosecution and civil claims for damages.

A CIP catalogue record for this book is available from the British Library.

Visit
www. panmacmillan.com
to read more about all our books and to buy them. You will also find features, author interviews and news of any author events, and you can sign up for e-newsletters so that you’re always first to hear about our new releases.

 

This one is for the Usual Suspects

 
CONTENTS

Chapter 1

Chapter 2

Chapter 3

Chapter 4

Chapter 5

Chapter 6

Chapter 7

Chapter 8

Chapter 9

Chapter 10

Chapter 11

Chapter 12

Chapter 13

Chapter 14

Chapter 15

1
ONE

Snow fell
on Swainsdale for the first time that year a few days before Christmas. Out in the dale, among the more remote farms and hamlets, the locals would be cursing. A heavy snowfall could mean lost sheep and blocked roads. In past years, some places had been cut off for as long as five weeks. But in Eastvale, most of those crossing the market square on the evening of 22 December felt a surge of joy as the fat flakes drifted down, glistening in the gaslight as they fell, to form a lumpy white carpet over the cobblestones.

Detective Constable Susan Gay paused on her way back to the station from Joplin’s newsagents. Outside the Norman church stood a tall Christmas tree, a gift from the Norwegian town with which Eastvale was twinned. The lights winked on and off, and its tapered branches bent under the weight of half an inch of snow. In front of the tree, a group of children in red choirgowns stood singing ‘Once in Royal David’s City’. Their alto voices, fragile but clear, seemed especially fitting on such a beautiful winter’s evening.

Susan tilted her head back and let the snowflakes melt on her eyelids. Two weeks ago she would not have allowed herself to do something so spontaneous and frivolous. But now that she was
Detective
Constable Gay, she could afford to relax a little. She had finished with courses and exams, at least until she tried for sergeant. Now there would be no more arguing with David Craig over who made the coffee. There would be no more walking the beat, either, and no more traffic duty on market day.

The music followed her as she headed back to the station:

And He leads His children on
To the place where He is gone.

Directly in front of her, the new blue lamp hung like a shopsign over the doorway of the Tudor-fronted police station. In an attempt to change the public image of the force, tarnished by race riots, sex scandals and accusations of high-level corruption, the government had looked to the past: more specifically, to the fifties. The lamp was straight out of
Dixon of Dock Green.
Susan had never actually seen the programme, but she understood the basic idea. The image of the kindly old copper on the beat had caused many a laugh around Eastvale Regional Headquarters. Would that life were simple, they all said.

Her second day on the job and all was well. She pushed open the door and headed for the stairs. Upstairs! The inner sanctum of the CID. She had envied them all for so long – Gristhorpe, Banks, Richmond, even Hatchley – when she had brought messages, or stood by taking notes while they interrogated female suspects. No longer. She was one of them now, and she was about to show them that a woman could do the job every bit as well as a man, if not better.

She didn’t have her own office; only Banks and Gristhorpe were allowed such luxuries. The hutch she shared with Richmond would have to do. It looked over the carpark out the back, not the market square, but at least she had a desk, rickety though it was, and a filing cabinet of her own. She had inherited them from Sergeant Hatchley, now exiled to the coast, and the first thing she had had to do was rip down the nude pin-ups from the cork bulletin board above his desk. How anybody could work with those bloated mammaries hanging over them was beyond her.

About forty minutes later, after she had poured herself a cup of coffee to keep her awake while she studied the latest regional crime reports, the phone rang. It was Sergeant Rowe calling from the front desk.

‘Someone just phoned in to report a murder,’ he said.

Susan felt the adrenalin flow. She grasped the receiver tighter. ‘Where?’

‘Oakwood Mews. You know, those tarted-up bijou terraces at the back of King Street.’

‘I know them. Any details?’

‘Not much. It was a neighbour who called. Said the woman next door went rushing into the street screaming. She took her in, but couldn’t get much sense out of her except that her friend had been murdered.’

‘Did the neighbour take a look for herself?’

‘No. She said she thought she’d better call us right away.’

‘Can you send PC Tolliver down there?’ Susan asked ‘Tell him to check out the scene without touching anything. And tell him to stay by the door and not let anyone in till we get there.’

‘Aye,’ said Rowe, ‘but shouldn’t—’

‘What’s the number?’

‘Eleven.’

‘Right.’

Susan hung up. Her heart beat fast. Nothing had happened in Eastvale for months – and now, on only her second day on the new job, a murder. And she was the only member of the CID on duty that evening. Calm down, she told herself, follow procedure, do it right. She reached for her coat, still damp with snow, then hurried out the back way to the car park. Shivering, she swept the snow off the windscreen of her red Golf and drove off as fast as the bad weather allowed.

TWO

Four and twenty virgins
Came down from Inverness,
And when the ball was over
There were four and twenty less.

‘I think Jim’s a bit pissed,’ Detective Chief Inspector Alan Banks leaned over and said to his wife, Sandra.

Sandra nodded. In a corner of the Eastvale Rugby Club banquet room, by the Christmas tree, Detective Sergeant Jim Hatchley stood with a group of cronies, all as big and brawny as himself. They looked like a parody of a group of carol singers, Banks thought, each with a foaming pint in his hand. As they sang, they swayed. The other guests stood by the bar or sat at tables chatting over the noise. Carol Hatchley – née Ellis – the sergeant’s blushing bride, sat beside her mother and fumed. The couple had just changed out of their wedding clothes into less formal attire in readiness for their honeymoon, but Hatchley, true to form, had insisted on just one more pint before they left. That one had quickly turned into two, then three . . .

The village butcher, he was there,
Chopper in his hand.
Every time they played a waltz,
He circumcised the band.

It didn’t make sense, Banks thought. How many times could you circumcise one band? Carol managed a weak smile, then turned and said something to her mother, who shrugged. Banks, leaning against the long bar with Sandra, Superintendent Gristhorpe and Philip Richmond, ordered another round of drinks.

As he waited, he looked around the room. It was done up for the festive season, no doubt about that. Red and green concertina trimmings hung across the ceiling, bedecked with tinsel, holly and the occasional sprig of mistletoe. The club tree, a good seven feet tall, sparkled in all its glory.

BOOK: Past Reason Hated
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