In A Dry Season – Peter Robinson

The day that I started reading In A Dry Season coincided with my train journey to Yeo Valley. Nothing remarkable there as train journies are an obvious time to read, but what was strange was the conversation in the taxi from Bristol Temple Meads station to Blagdon. One of my fellow bloggers started talking about the two lakes close to Yeo Valley and saying that she had heard that one of them had a submerged village underneath it and that sometimes people could still hear the church bells ringing from underwater.

Now, knowing a bit of physics I thought it unlikely that this could physically be the case (sound waves being a longitudinal waveform that would be ovbiously dampened greatly as it travelled through the water etc) but the story of a submerged village rang very true (excuse the pun). The staff at Yeo Valley confirmed that the local Chew Valley Lake does indeed include the submerged village of Moreton, but the village was demolished before it was flooded, making the church bells story impossible.

That wasn't the case though with the fictional Yorkshire village of Hobb's End which was also flooded in the 1950s to make way for a reservoir. One summer, droughts deplete that reserviour though and the village is rediscovered, mainly intact. Providing an attractive playground for small children one small boy is drawn in and makes a gruesome discovery whilst playing. Underneath paving slabs in one out-house is a woman's body that has been submerged since the reservior was created. Investigations take CI Alan Banks back to the war as he tries to work out what exactlly happened there and who was responsible.

The book flips between modern day narrative and war-time diaries which can be a bit confusing at first, especially as often the characters are talking about the same people in both. I think there is a slight font difference between the two, but if there is it is such a minor difference that it's hard to be sure and it could just be my eyes playing a trick on me.

Quite how this book found its way on to my bookcase is a bit of a mytery in itself as I certainly don't remember buying it. I'm guessing it was passed on by someone, possibly my mum, and I'm glad it was as it's a great standard detective novel. Peter Robinson has written a whole series of books about Yorkshire Inspector Alan Banks and I look forward to now discovering more of them.

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