Thursday, August 15, 2013

"In a Dry Season" by Peter Robinson

In Peter Robinson's "In a Dry Season" (#10 of the Inspector Banks series), each character seems to be grappling with an issue in their past, as well as in their current lives -- Banks, Annie, Vivian.  Does this help give depth and development to their characters and explain their intentions and their interactions?

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Anonymous said...

Here are some thoughts about the book:

Character development: not as good as some of the authors to whom you have exposed me. But okay.
Flow of the story: I liked the way he did this---moving back and forth with the activities of the various characters---that is not novel----but it was effective in keeping the suspense going. The one-by-one elimination of possible suspects.

Adam Banks and Annie Cabot: it seemed a little contrived that these two characters (both of whom were going nowhere in their jobs because of supervisory issues) were slapped together for the mystery, but----I liked both of them. You can relate to them (him with his son, her with her choice of what to do after the sexual assault, etc.)

The story: yes, it keeps the reader wondering about the capabilities and motives of a number of people as the book develops. I liked that.

Vivian. I’d be curious about how the group saw her: sympathy for her, understanding, etc.? Secrets haunt you (that is a real truth, truism. It is the case with a lot of people in life---without THIS degree of event about which to be secretive). Despite success, I saw her as weighted down by some guilt that is revealed near the end.

Just prior to the ending: Vivian thinking about the gun, this gun that “might” have saved Gloria’s life if she had left it where Gloria hid it. The same gun that she helped Matthew end his life of pain.
Vivian helping both Ronald out of pain of this life (with the morphine) and helping Matthew out of his pain (helping him pull the trigger).
Vivian at the very end of the book-------she finally lets go with crying tears freely for the first time in 50 years. Does she finally get some relief???? And reaches for the glass of gin (her mainstay over these years).

The question posed by Adam (and not in a sympathetic way): “if she had come forth at the time of Gloria’s death, would it have prevented Ed Konig (PX) from this string of killings over the next years?” I’d be interested in what the group thinks of that.
My opinion: no, it would not have made a difference. The police, having Matthew as kneeling over the body, would have settled for him as the suspect. He was incapable of defending himself in words to tell them why he is there with the knife (yes) but he didn’t kill her. Vivian’s story wouldn’t PROVE Matthew DIDN’t do it. The police wouldn’t have pursued (with any real vigor) finding anybody else. They could easily have tried to interview the soldiers, and maybe this would have been enough to scare Edward out of any further killings----but somehow I don’t see it happening. Thus, Matthew would have taken the rap.
Now---if Vivian KNEW that Matthew definitely did not do it---she may have acted differently. Vivian couldn’t be sure he didn’t do it----in fact, maybe she believed, truly believed, that he DID kill Gloria (I don’t think we ever got her opinion on that). He couldn’t tell her anything---even up to the end. He was in a shell of a body.
Vivian didn’t think she had any choice other than the one she took. And then she paid in guilt over the next 50 years.

Anonymous said...

Patty, Now I am trying to comment on "Save Me", the one for the current month. While I clicked on "Save Me", I got "Dry Season".
Yes, this is a different type Lisa Scottoline--and I liked the mystery combined with the psyschological treatment of the issue of Melly, bullying, the hiding of "self" of the mother. I won't be able to attend the meeting because of business travel AGAIN. I Liked the mystery portion; I found it a little impossible that she did not share this secret about herself to her husband. It is interesting the way her life was influenced by the secret and the shedding of the secrecy gave her a different way to go forward with HER life; it also gave her a better way to support Melly in how Melly would now go forward (making up with the other girl---the American girl--the horseback riding--the Harry Potter visual--no mask, etc.). I only know Lisa Scottoline's other lawyer/mystery stuff from what you have said to me. I'll read One of those (do you have a suggestion as to a good one?).