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This is not the end
A Necessary End - Peter Robinson
Member Name: darren55
A Necessary End - Peter Robinson
Advantages: DSI Dick Burgess a delightful anti-hero
A necessary end is a DCI Alan Banks novel, this one is set in the late 80's and tells the story of a policeman stabbed at an anti-government rally. DCI Banks is based in a fictional small town called Eastvale, which is somewhere in North Yorkshire I've always assumed its Ripon or Thirsk because there are clear links to Leeds and Bradford. Eastvale is a small quiet market town but a political rally goes wrong when a policeman is found stabbed, the policeman is from a neighbouring force and has a reputation for enjoying smacking protestors. The case appears to be a random act of violence, however, Banks has to cope with the arrival of Detective Superintendent Dick Burgess, Burgess and Banks have locked horns before and Banks has a low opinion of the man.
The investigation soon centres on the activities of a local artist colony based around a farm, the group have left-wing principles and one of the members had blood on his hands when arriving back to the farm after the demonstration. Burgess is quick to determine that someone from the community is a terrorist with radical views; he is a rabid right winger and sees reds under the bed at every turn. Banks is mellower and left leaning but still suspects that the killer of the policeman is a member of the farms community.
Peter Robinson has a skill of writing believable modern crime fiction; he centres his cases on the intelligent beer drinking, womanising, and music loving Banks. His plots are plot clever but not too labyrinthine, the unveiling of the culprits are always believable and he's not a one for introducing the unknown character at the end of the novel or making the back story too incredulous.
In this novel, he decides to introduce a Regan to Banks' Morse in the beer swilling, misogynist, racist, sexist DSI Burgess. Burgess or Dirty Dick as he's introduced in the book is willing to do anything to get a conviction and tends to go to any means to induce a confession or a bit of important information. Along with a dirty mouth, a lover of the ladies and a habit of smoking everywhere he goes he is introduced in this novel to great effect. This just makes Banks look even better and make him the copper you'd pick if you were ever arrested for killing someone, cerebral, clever and a dry sense of humour what more do you want.
The plot to a necessary end is of course clever and twisting without being ridiculous and the murder of the policeman more than just a random act of violence but we knew that from the very first chapter. There is a really obvious clue presented about a third of the way through which Banks, Burgess et al all seem to miss the significance of but was pretty obvious to this reviewer and I was finally proven correct. Here we are firmly on the side of the left-bank artists and the clever caring policeman rather than the thuggish Burgess; whether this is a commentary on the political situation in 1989 is beyond this reviewer. However, Burgess certainly encapsulates the latter Thatcher years of rampant commercialism and aggressive policy making.
I thoroughly enjoyed the novel, as all of Robinsons novels are written during the period they are set in then we also get a window into the late 1980's. Even this reviewer who was a teenager during the period has forgotten the prevalence of smoking (even during a meal in a restaurant, even reading it made the reviewer cringe), the use of Walkman's and cassettes and the amount that everyone seems to drink. I know that Burgess pops up every now and again in latter novels, but this is his first turn and he's hugely enjoyable to read about but you'd not want to spend much time with.
Summary: Cracking novel