Sleeping In The Ground


There’s a story element I call ‘TV Jeopardy’. TVJ occurs when the leading characters in a television series find themselves in life-threatening danger. Except that the viewer knows they aren’t going to die because they’re the leading characters and without them there won’t be a series. (There are exceptions – Game of Thrones and Sons of Anarchy spring to mind – but they’re few and very far between.) So you sit there watching while the Tense Music plays and wait for the inevitable rescue.

I mention all this because the last 40-50 pages of this new Inspector Banks mystery – a series I love and am currently re-reading in its 23-volume entirety – is a prolonged exercise in TVJ.  The murderer’s identity and motive have been unearthed and explained. But the book concludes with a long chase in which the outcome is never in doubt and we don’t believe for a minute that any of the main characters are going to be harmed. Which is a shame, because until that murderer is discovered, the mystery in this detective story is one the best in the series.

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