Inspector Alan Banks takes a well-deserved vacation in Greece, after his last tough case (Aftermath). While reading the English newspapers, he learns that a skeleton unearthed near Peterborough, Cambridgeshire, has been identified as the remains of Graham Marshalls, disappeared in 1965. The news comes as a blast from the past for Banks: Graham was indeed a childhood friend, whose disappearance he has never forgotten, mostly because of the guilt associated with hiding crucial information to the police who were in charge of the investigation then.

To make up for old lies, and also because he wants to find out what happened to his old friend, Banks takes the first flight to England, hoping to be able to offer his knowledge to the people in charge of the murder investigation, without giving the impression of interfering too much. In Peterborough, Banks get acquainted with DI Michelle Hart, a forty-something police woman who does not leave him indifferent, despite her apparent coldness and the fact that they first meeting starts off badly. Soon, DI Hart will discover that unburying a mystery rooted in the past has its dangers, and Alan Banks, on his trip down Memory Lane, will realize that people he thought he knew very well turn out to be complete strangers…

Parallel to the Peterborough investigation, Banks’s ex-lover, DI Annie Cabbot, is in charge of a case another young boy’s disappearance: Luke Armitage, the fifteen-year old son of a famous ex-model and stepson of a football star. He was also the biological son of a famous pop singer, who committed suicide soon after he was born. Because his family used to be in the spotlights, DI Cabbot suspects a kidnapping, and a ransom demand soon seem to confirm that, but she also notices many things inconsistent with a classical kidnapping, and ends up calling Banks for advice…

Juggling between the past and the present, Banks helps solve these two cases of missing young boys, two different stories, unrelated, but with many similarities. As with Aftermath, Peter Robinson shifts from one part of the investigation to another, focusing on various main characters in turn, managing to keep the interest of the reader throughout the book. I am happy to have discovered another mystery series I really like (when other series, like E. George’s Inspector Lynley mysteries, start to disappoint…), and I think from now on I will read my way through the Inspector Banks mysteries from the start…

Rating: 4/5