There aren’t too many writers who can make the theft of a tractor riveting reading, but that’s exactly what veteran crime author Peter Robinson has done with the latest Alan Banks mystery. That’s not the only case troubling Banks’ team, however: two local young men have disappeared, and a bloodstain has been discovered at an abandoned World War Two hangar, suggesting a homicide. These seemingly random elements connect: it’s up to the investigators to find out how.
ABATTOIR BLUES is vintage Robinson. It’s a true procedural: its mission is solely to present the reader with a mystery, and hook them into watching it slowly unravel. It is filmic in approach, ready-made for television, for the Law & Order generation, or more aptly perhaps, Midsummer Murders with a darker edge. There’s fleeting character development, though subtle acknowledgements of events from previous novels will keep the fans happy, but ultimately newcomers are just as welcome as veteran readers.
A satisfying whodunnit, then; an enjoyable palette-cleanser before I dig into something more grandiose.