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A Necessary End (1989)

by Peter Robinson

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: Inspector Banks (3)

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
7752822,016 (3.73)79
In the tradition of Ian Rankin and Elizabeth George, this masterful novel of suspense--from New York Times bestselling and Edgar Award-winning author Peter Robinson--spins a story of professional jealousy that could result in more than one murder. A peaceful demonstration in the normally quiet town of Eastvale ends with fifty arrests--and the brutal stabbing death of a young constable. But Chief Inspector Alan Banks fears there is worse violence in the offing. For CID Superintendent Richard Burgess has arrived from London to take charge of the investigation, fueled by professional outrage and volatile, long-simmering hatreds. Almost immediately, Burgess descends with vengeful fury upon the members of a sixties-style commune--while Banks sifts through the rich Yorkshire soil around him, turning over the earthy, unsettling secrets of seemingly placid local lives. Crossing Burgess could cost the Chief Inspector his career. But the killing of a flawed Eastvale policeman is not the only murder that needs to be solved here. And if Banks doesn't unmask the true assassin, his superior's misguided obsession might well result in further bloodshed. Peter Robinson once again explores the human psyche in a novel that demonstrates how our weaknesses can lead to deadly consequences.… (more)
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» See also 79 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 28 (next | show all)
3.5 stars ( )
  natcontrary | Jun 22, 2020 |
A good read. Good character development. Good mystery without tricks or wide stretches of the imagination. I want to return to Inspector Banks and fortunately Robinson has written other books with this protagonist. John Mark introduced me to this author. This was the 2nd Banks book I read. ( )
  TGPistole | Feb 3, 2020 |
A Necessary End is book number three of in Peter Robinson’s twenty-six-book-long Inspector Banks series. By the beginning of this one, Banks has comfortably settled into his Yorkshire surroundings and much prefers his new job to the one he left behind in London. The locals consider him to be a likeable enough guy, and more importantly, an honest cop who doesn’t cross the line. But when Scotland Yard sends a hotshot cop up to Yorkshire to take over a murder investigation, all of that is suddenly in jeopardy because the London cop is the exact opposite of Banks and doesn’t care who might object to his behavior.

What should have been a small, peaceful demonstration in little Eastvale goes suddenly wrong when a policeman is stabbed to death during a confrontation between 100 demonstrators and the handful of police on hand to keep them under control. CID Superintendent Richard Burgess makes it perfectly clear upon his arrival from London that someone is going to pay for the crime – and the sooner the better because he can’t wait to get back to civilization. Banks, when he figures out that Burgess will build a case against the easiest target he spots, regardless of actual guilt, makes the potentially career-damaging decision to run his own parallel investigation behind the superintendent’s back.

So, did the policeman die because one of the demonstrators just happened to pull a knife during the fight or is there more to the man’s murder? As it turns out, the young cop had a reputation for taking the opportunity to bash a few heads with his baton every chance he got and particularly enjoyed working demonstrations and protest marches. Had any of the demonstrators had a previous run-in with him - and a whole different motive for pulling that knife? Or not? The murder may just be a whole lot more complicated than Burgess wants to admit – and every bit as complicated as Banks fears it is.

The author does not add much to the Banks character in A Necessary End, and his wife and children are still pretty much blank slates in this third book. In fact, the whole family is out of town during the entire novel and their only communication with Banks is via short evening telephone calls. We do learn that Banks sees his job “as a defender of the people, not an attacker” and that he is now thirty-eight-years-old. But Robinson keeps Banks real by making sure that he is a long way from being perfect, as illustrated by what Banks reveals about himself to Burgess during one of their numerous pub-fueled conversations: “I don’t like violence. I’ll use it if I have to, but there are plenty of more subtle and effective ways of getting answers from people. That aside I never said I was any less ruthless than you are.” (Of course, Burgess sees through the bravado and spits beer while trying to stifle his laughter at the claim.)

As for personality quirks, the reader does learn that Banks is a chain-smoker who does not much concern himself with the private spaces of others and will force his habit into almost any situation and location. Too, he may be just a bit of a snob when it comes to his attitude toward American culture and the way that it is relentlessly spreading throughout Great Britain. After one conversation with Burgess, Banks finds himself wondering, for instance, “why so many people came back from America, where Burgess had been to a conference a few years ago, full of strange eating habits and odd turns of phrases – ‘pain in the ass’ indeed!” (The superintendent’s big sins were the way he cut and ate his meat in the American style and his love of donuts for breakfast.)

But that’s about it as far as new revelations go.

Bottom Line: A Necessary End easily stands on its own merits as a standalone. Readers should definitely not be concerned with having to read the first two books in the series prior to picking up this one. It is based on a solid murder mystery with numerous plausible suspects that will keep the reader guessing right up to the end – and it solidifies the image of Banks as a “good cop” willing to buck superiors to ensure that justice is served. ( )
  SamSattler | Sep 23, 2019 |
This is the third Inspector Banks mystery and I have to confess it didn't hold my attention as much as some others.

A protest against a nuclear energy plant is the scene of a knifing of a policeman. Banks discovers that the dead officer was something of a bully so he thinks the attack may have a personal motive. Meanwhile a former colleague from London comes in to head the investigation and he thinks the attack was terrorist motivated. Banks is batching during this book as his wife and kids are off with her parents. Could this be an attempt to see how Banks as a single man works out for the series? I know that in later books Banks is single but for now he is happily married. ( )
  gypsysmom | Jun 9, 2019 |
When a demonstration results in the death of a police officer from another jurisdiction, Supt. Burgess, aka "Dirty Dick," is sent from London to lead the investigation into the homicide. Attention begins to focus on the residents of Maggie's farm as two residents were among those arrested at the demonstration. Burgess' reputation precedes him. Chief Inspector Banks begins investigating on the side when it becomes clear, Burgess is willing to stick the murder charge to the first suspect for whom he can make a case strong enough to possibly stick. With many of the protesters already suspicious of police, Burgess' actions jeopardize the rapport Banks built with the people of Eastvale since his arrival.

The installment compels the reader, but some things seem to drag down the plot. Readers do not need to know every time a character lights a cigarette, particularly when all the characters seem to be chain smokers. If a future installment doesn't feature some of the characters developing lung cancer, Robinson missed out on the plot he's setting up.

I listened to the audio version narrated by James Langton who did a good job with the voices although they were perhaps not as British sounding as they could be. ( )
  thornton37814 | Feb 19, 2018 |
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» Add other authors (4 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Peter Robinsonprimary authorall editionscalculated
Janssen, ValérieTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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For Martin, Chris, Steve and Paul - old friends who all contributed.
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The demonstraters huddled in the March drizzle outside Eastvale Community Centre.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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In the tradition of Ian Rankin and Elizabeth George, this masterful novel of suspense--from New York Times bestselling and Edgar Award-winning author Peter Robinson--spins a story of professional jealousy that could result in more than one murder. A peaceful demonstration in the normally quiet town of Eastvale ends with fifty arrests--and the brutal stabbing death of a young constable. But Chief Inspector Alan Banks fears there is worse violence in the offing. For CID Superintendent Richard Burgess has arrived from London to take charge of the investigation, fueled by professional outrage and volatile, long-simmering hatreds. Almost immediately, Burgess descends with vengeful fury upon the members of a sixties-style commune--while Banks sifts through the rich Yorkshire soil around him, turning over the earthy, unsettling secrets of seemingly placid local lives. Crossing Burgess could cost the Chief Inspector his career. But the killing of a flawed Eastvale policeman is not the only murder that needs to be solved here. And if Banks doesn't unmask the true assassin, his superior's misguided obsession might well result in further bloodshed. Peter Robinson once again explores the human psyche in a novel that demonstrates how our weaknesses can lead to deadly consequences.

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