You could probably say I give Peter Robinson a bit of an advantage amongst mystery writers because I always start any of his books expecting to enjoy it thoroughly. But to tell the truth, I've never been disappointed, and that's the case again with "When the Music's Over".
I wish that the split plot (2 cases half a century apart of sexual assault of young girls, with subsequent loss of life; linked only by theme) seemed less universal and at the same time less timely. But it would be a rather oblivious mystery author who did not at least consider dealing with the issues so very much front of mind with the #MeToo movement.
Banks has accepted promotion and is solely investigating the cold case of rape by a prominent entertainer - shades of Jimmy Savile, I suppose. That one has all sorts of political and internal police implications - past cover-ups and bribery in the force - and Banks is struggling for the first time with being the establishment instead of the righteous rebel. Of course he stays abreast of the modern-day case, which involves grooming and racial tensions between working-class white people and the local Pakistani enclave, and that enables us to see the expected interactions with the other main characters we've come to know and like.
I very much appreciated the expanded role for Banks' team, especially the female members of it. Annie Cabbot and Gerry Masterson take on the modern rape/murder, while Winsome Jackman accompanies Banks (and gets much opportunity to roll her eyes) as Banks tracks down witness memories relating to the now elderly entertainer.
Though the actual perpetrators of the individual crimes get their just deserts in various ways, Robinson doesn't leave us with an easy feeling at the end, showing us instead, heading out into danger, yet another potential young victim of the longstanding blight on society that not even Banks and his team can hope to eradicate. It chimed well with the feeling of anger and sadness that so many of us, women and men, have been feeling lately.
Recommended, as always.