Thursday, August 30, 2007

Friend of the Devil is Robinson at his best -- and that is very good indeed

Books now read in ’07: 84
Title: Friend of the Devil
Author: Peter Robinson
Genre: Mystery
Date Completed: 8-24
Pages: 424

Books now read in ’07: 85
Title: Skeleton Man
Author: Tony Hillerman
Genre: Mystery
Date Completed: 8-26
Pages: 241

I once had the foolish idea that, as a writer, Peter Robinson was secondary to Ian Rankin. Any doubts as to Robinson’s ranking, firmly alongside Rankin, are put to rest in his thoroughly diverting new mystery, Friend of the Devil. What is secondary, or almost so, are the two murders that drive the narrative. The real feature of this and all of Robinson’s novels is the splendid development of his main characters, principally Inspector Banks and Annie Cabot. Robinson even manages to offer up a genuine surprise – it’s a shocker and I guarantee fans of this fine series won’t see it coming.

This is the second time I’ve read Hillerman’s Skeleton Man, and I liked it better this time. Since the first time, I’ve went back and read several of Hillerman’s books. Consequently, I now understand and care more about his characters – Leaphorn (who has only a small role here), Cowboy Dashee, Sgt. Chee and Bernie Manuelito. It’s not Hillerman’s best – but that still means it is better than most.

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