My mum knows that I love both crime fiction and reading about life in the Second World War, so for my birthday she bought me In a dry season by Peter Robinson. As you may have guessed it involves murder at home whilst Britain was away at war.
It’s a great read, which begins when, in a particularly dry summer, a reservoir dries out and a village sunk beneath the water for decades appears again. A local boy playing finds a body and the local police set out to investigate.
As usual for good crime fiction the characters of the police are tortured and yet somehow attractive to the opposite sex. Neither the investigating officer Alan Banks or the young police woman acting as his sidekick are who you would expect to find in charge of a murder hunt in the back of beyond. Their stories are intertwined with the investigation as they try to piece together the lives of the people who lived in the village in the war years. The nearby American airbase is brought back to life, as is rationing, what it felt like to fall in love and then lose your sweetheart, and how families tried (and failed) to come to terms with losing sons in the jungles of Burma.
It’s a great read full of smouldering secrets and is a fascinating period backdrop for a juicy murder.