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Wednesday's Child (1992)

de Peter Robinson

Altres autors: Mira la secció altres autors.

Sèrie: Inspector Banks (6)

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When two social workers, investigating reports of child abuse, appear at Brenda Scupham's door, her fear of authority leads her to comply meekly with their requests. Even when they say that they must take her seven-year old daughter Gemma away for tests... It is only when they fail to return Gemma the following day that Brenda realizes something has gone terribly wrong. At the same time, Banks is investigating a particularly unpleasant murder at the site of an abandoned mine. Gradually, the leads in the two cases converge, guiding Banks to one of the most truly terrifying criminals he will ever meet...… (més)
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Wednesday’s Child (1992) is the sixth of Peter Robinson’s twenty-seven Inspector Banks novels. Even though I have already read the latest three novels in the series, it was not until I decided to start reading the Banks series from the beginning, and got into book number five (Past Reason Hated), that I finally began to much warm up to Banks and his crew. Robinson, to that point, seemed content to write very good, straightforward police procedurals more than the kind of crime book that most appeals to me: those in which the main and supporting characters are so fully developed that I can begin predicting their reactions to whatever situation they confront in each new novel. Simply put, that’s when it all becomes real to me.

Wednesday’s Child picks up much from where the previous novel ended. Alan Banks, now forty years old, is still happy with his decision to have left London for the slower pace of life he and his family enjoy in northern England. His home life, however, is not what he wishes it were now that his son has begun university studies half way across the country and his daughter much prefers the company of her teenaged friends to that of her parents. And now, Banks’s wife seems to blame his impatience for much of the friction between them and their daughter. It doesn’t help, of course, that Banks often works the kind of hours that cause him and his wife to live almost separate lives for weeks at a time.

But first and foremost, Alan Banks is a cop who tends to take crimes committed on his home turf personally — especially those crimes that victimize children. When seven-year-old Gemma Scupham is taken from her home by fake social care workers, Banks knows that if he doesn’t find the little girl quickly, he will almost certainly never find her alive. He also knows that Gemma is not being held for ransom because the girl’s mother, who depends on government payments for support, is incapable of paying any ransom at all to get her daughter back. So now, considering what is likely happening to the little girl, it is all hands on deck. Even Detective Superintendent Gristhorpe, more administrator than field investigator these days, is back in the field.

After a body is discovered by sheer chance inside a remote, abandoned mine, Banks is removed from the kidnapping case so that he can handle the murder investigation. But then something strange happens. Some of the same names, and leads, begin to appear in both investigations — and if the little girl has any chance of survival, Banks and Gristhorpe know that it will take their combined efforts to save her. The race is on.

Bottom Line: The Inspector Banks series is not one I might still be reading if I had first begun reading the books in the order in which they were published. I am grateful that I started the series from the wrong end, after Banks had become more of a fleshed-out character than he is in the early books. Take this as the word of encouragement it is meant to be: the Alan Banks character should not be given up on too soon because like me, in the end, you just might start calling Alan Banks one of your favorite fictional detectives of them all. ( )
  SamSattler | Jan 9, 2022 |
Published in 1992, “Wednesday's Child” came relatively early in Peter Robinson's terrific series of Inspector Banks novels, a series still going strong.

As usual Banks and his team of investigators have two major crimes — perhaps related, perhaps not — to deal with at the same time. (How the English village of Eastvale can have so many major crimes is a mystery itself, on a par with the many murders that occur in Jane Marple's quaint village of St. Mary Mead.) A young couple pose as social workers and take away a woman's seven-year-old daughter, Gemma, supposedly because of suspected child abuse. Then the body of a man knifed to death is found.

At this point early in the series, Alan Banks is still just the No. 2 man among Eastvale investigators. In charge, though nearing retirement, is Detective Superintendent Gristhorpe, who for personal reasons decides to take charge of the kidnapping case, leaving the murder to Banks. Readers follow both investigations step by step, waiting to see if the two paths connect.

Except for the abundance of evil in Eastvale, these books suggest realism throughout: believable characters, believable crimes, believable detective work and finally a believable outcome. Unusual for the series, “Wednesday's Child” includes both a chase and a shootout, yet even these seem real.

This novel will satisfy all those Robinson fans who, like me, get to it late. ( )
  hardlyhardy | Nov 15, 2020 |
Synopsis: When a well-dressed couple, claiming to be social workers, appear at Brenda Scupham's door, saying they must take her seven-year-old daughter, Gemma, into care after allegations of abuse, Brenda is confused and intimidated enough to hand the child over. But when the couple, Mr. Brown and Miss Peterson, fail to bring Gemma home, Brenda realizes she has made a terrible mistake. As the days go by, Detective Chief Inspector Banks begins to lose hope of finding Gemma alive. Then a rambler finds a body in the ruins of an old lead mine, and the two cases begin to converge in a terrifying way, leading Banks to a showdown with one of the most chillingly evil criminals he has ever come up against.
Review: As a sign of the times, the hero smokes incessantly - this is really annoying because it adds nothing to the story. I was surprised at the ending - also a sign of the times in which the book was written. ( )
  DrLed | Feb 23, 2019 |
A child is abducted from her home. Her mother doesn't really love her, and her live-in boyfriend is known to the police. The child's clothes are found by a couple near an old mine; however, the body the police discover belongs to a gardener. Because of an old case, Supt. Gristhorpe takes an active role in the child's disappearance and assigns the gardener to Inspector Banks. They are fairly certain the two cases are linked, but how and why? This one kept me interested. I especially enjoyed Gristhorpe's involvement in the case. The other team members (Richmond, Susan, and Hatchley) make appearances, but their roles are far less than normal. It's a good solid installment in the series, even if the subject matter is not all that pleasant. I listened to the audio version narrated by James Langton who does an excellent job with this series. ( )
  thornton37814 | Dec 6, 2018 |
From Amazon:

the case of a missing child is inextricably linked to that of the murder of a young man, sending Chief Inspector Alan Banks down a harrowing road to uncover the truth behind the crimes. It was a crime of staggering inhumanity: a seven-year-old girl taken from her working class Yorkshire home by an attractive young couple posing as social workers. Chief Inspector Alan Banks feels certain little Gemma Scupham is dead, yet the motive for her kidnapping remains a mystery. No ransom is ever demanded, nor could Gemma's tortured, guilt-ridden mother afford to pay one. And when the body of a young man is discovered in an abandoned mine, slain in a particularly brutal fashion, a disturbing perplexing case takes an even further sinister twist drawing Banks into the sordid depths of an evil more terrible and terrifying than anything the seasoned investigator has ever encountered.

My Thoughts:

In true Perter Robinson style...it seems nothing is connected and then suddenly everything is connected. Two seemingly unrelated cases neatly converge into one intricate case for Inspector Alan Banks. Robinson also took somewhat of a pause in Wednesday's Child to develop some of the characters that surround Banks... most notably his boss, Gristhope. We have the opportunity to learn a bit more about his character and what his detective abilities are...and it seems that the "old horse" is not ready to be put out to pasture just yet. This author...with his remarkable talent for setting a scene...expresses the Yorkshire ambiance so that the reader feels that they are there. Another 5 star offering from Peter Robinson.
( )
  Carol420 | May 31, 2016 |
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In de woestijn zo wreed
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When two social workers, investigating reports of child abuse, appear at Brenda Scupham's door, her fear of authority leads her to comply meekly with their requests. Even when they say that they must take her seven-year old daughter Gemma away for tests... It is only when they fail to return Gemma the following day that Brenda realizes something has gone terribly wrong. At the same time, Banks is investigating a particularly unpleasant murder at the site of an abandoned mine. Gradually, the leads in the two cases converge, guiding Banks to one of the most truly terrifying criminals he will ever meet...

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