Looking for a list of Peter Robinson books in order? We’re here to help.
Peter Robinson’s DCI Banks novels are a series of 27 critically acclaimed crime novels that set in Yorkshire featuring DCI Alan Banks. The books and Peter Robinson have won or been shortlisted for numerous prestigious crime fiction awards, such as the Edgar Award, the Arthur Ellis Award, the Anthony Award, and the Grand Master Award.
The books have been translated into 24 languages, with sales exceeding 10 million copies worldwide. Several of the novels have also been adapted for television under the title DCI Banks with Stephen Tompkinson starring as DCI Banks.
Who is Peter Robinson?
Peter Robinson is a Yorkshire-born Canadian crime novelist. He was born on March 17, 1950 in Armley, Leeds, the son of Miriam Jarvis, a homemaker, and Clifford Robinson, a photographer.
He holds a BA Honours in English literature, an MA in English and Creative Writing, and a PhD in English. Robinson has taught crime writing at various Toronto colleges and was writer-in-residence at the University of Windsor from 1992 to 1993.
Though he has also written other novels and short stories, Peter Robinson is most well-known for the DCI Banks novels which take place in the fictional Yorkshire town of Eastvale. He was influenced to start writing by Raymond Chandler and British crime authors. He lives with his wife, Sheila Halladay, in Toronto, Canada, but also has a holiday cottage in the market town of Richmond, North Yorkshire.
Peter Robinson Books in Order
DCI Banks Series
- Gallows View (1987)
- A Dedicated Man (1988)
- A Necessary End (1989)
- The Hanging Valley (1989)
- Past Reason Hated (1991)
- Wednesday’s Child (1992)
- Final Account (1994)
- Innocent Graves (1996)
- Blood at the Root (1997)
- In a Dry Season (1999)
- Cold Is the Grave (2000)
- Aftermath (2001)
- Close to Home (2002)
- Playing with Fire (2003)
- Strange Affair (2005)
- Piece of My Heart (2005)
- Friend of the Devil (2007)
- All the Colors of Darkness (2008)
- Going Back (2009) (Short Story)
- Like a Virgin (2009) (Short Story)
- Blue Christmas (2009) (Short Story)
- Walking the Dog (2009) (Short Story)
- Bad Boy (2010)
- Watching the Dark (2012)
- Children of the Revolution (2013)
- In the Dark Places (2014)
- Summer Rain (2015) (Short Story)
- When the Music’s Over (2016)
- Sleeping in the Ground (2017)
- Careless Love (2018)
- Many Rivers to Cross (2019)
- Not Dark Yet (2021)
- Standing in the Shadows (2023)
You can enjoy all of the Inspector Banks books as standalones. However, as is usually the case with a series, reading the Peter Robinson books in order is by far the best way to get the most out of each book.
This is particularly the case regarding character development and the histories of each character. The order of publication is also the correct chronological sequence.
About DCI Alan Banks
Born in 1958, Detective Chief Inspector Alan Banks is the protagonist in a series of highly-regarded crime and police procedural novels by Peter Robinson set in Yorkshire. Banks is a veteran policeman who moved to Yorkshire after being an inspector with the Metropolitan Police in London. He is a perceptive, curious, and compassionate policeman.
The first dozen novels focus mostly on the crimes investigated by Banks and his team.
While Banks has a wife at the beginning of the series, him and his wife eventually divorce. This opens the way for Robinson to flirt with an on-again, off-again relationship between Banks and a member of his team DS Annie Cabbot.
The plots of several books are based on real-life unsolved crimes that Robinson creatively draws on for his storylines.
Summary of Peter Robinson Books in Order
1. Gallows View
Three cases await DCI Alan Banks when he moves his family from stressful London to Eastvale in the beautiful county of Yorkshire.
Firstly, a peeping tom is scaring the life out of the women in Eastvale. Then two hoodlums are breaking into local homes. Finally, the death of an elderly woman may be murder.
Detective Chief Inspector Alan Banks is an experienced, perceptive. and compassionate policeman, but he soon finds himself taxed to the limit. The local feminists are soon on his case and he finds himself strongly attracted to Jenny Fuller, a young psychologist. Tension mounts as Sandra, Banks’s wife, and Jenny are drawn into events as the story builds towards a surprising climax.
2. A Dedicated Man
When the body of a popular and respected local historian is found partially buried under a drystone wall in Swainsdale, the local community is shocked, because who could possibly have wanted him dead?
Can the reason lie in in the murky past of beautiful folksinger, Penny Cartwright? Or is a local land developer of dubious reputation a more likely suspect? Should Alan Banks focus instead on a local thriller writer? Certainly, Sally Lumb knows more than she’s revealing, which could place her in danger as well.
As the tenacious Inspector Banks investigates, this chilling novel delves into the disturbing secrets behind the peaceful pastoral façade of Peter Robinson’s evocative Yorkshire countryside.
3. A Necessary End
When an anti-nuclear demonstration turns violent, a policeman is stabbed to death and the peaceful everyday life of Eastvale is shattered. Superintendent “Dirty Dick” Burgess, an old enemy of Alan Banks, looses his vengeful fury on those he judges to be responsible.
Thoughtful and experienced Inspector Alan Banks is perturbed by Burgess’s high-handed approach and so he puts his own career in danger as he continues to search for the truth. The number of suspects is eventually narrowed down to the people on isolated “Maggie’s Farm”, high on the daleside.
One of the suspects is Dennis Osmond, a social worker who is involved with Jenny Fuller. As tension builds, Banks can only save his career by getting to the killer before Dirty Dick manages to do so.
4. The Hanging Valley
The tranquillity of a peaceful hidden valley below Swainshead ends with the discovery of a faceless and unidentifiable corpse. Then no one is willing to talk to DCI Banks. Banks’s frustration only builds when he starts suspecting that the case may have connections to a woman who went missing in the area five years before.
Are the Collier brothers, belonging to the richest and most powerful family in the area, amongst the suspects? When they start using their influence to impede the investigation, Banks finds himself in a grim race against time.
5. Past Reason Hated
It is the jolly Christmas season in the picturesque Yorkshire village of Eastvale, but beautiful and enigmatic Caroline Hartley will not be celebrating. She has been viciously stabbed to death in her home three days before Christmas day.
DCI Alan Banks soon has more suspects than he knows what to do with. As he digs into Caroline’s past, his investigation uncovers violence and the hidden passions of a forbidden love affair. In the season synonymous with love and giving and forgiving, Banks struggles to close the harrowing circle of his investigation before a killer makes his next move.
6. Wednesday’s Child
DCI Banks must establish if the case of abducted Gemma Scupham is linked to the murder of a young man. The 7-year-old girl was taken from her Yorkshire home by a young couple pretending to be social workers investigating child abuse. There seems to be no motive for her kidnapping and there is no ransom.
Then the body of a young man is turns up dead in an abandoned mine. He has been killed in a particularly brutal fashion. As the leads of the two cases start intersecting, DCI Banks is inexorably led towards possibly the most terrifying criminal he has ever met.
7. Final Account
One evening, in an isolated Yorkshire Dales farmhouse, two masked men take Keith Rothwell, the gentle and unassuming local accountant, to his barn and execute him in what seems to be a clinical hit. Detective Chief Inspector Alan Banks has to establish the reason for this mystifying crime, but he only uncovers only more questions. Matters become even more messy when Banks’s old adversary, DS “Dirty Dick” Burgess, arrives from Scotland Yard.
As the case becomes ever more tangled, Alan Banks has to race against time as the killers appear to be tracking his every step. In the most difficult case of his career, Alan Banks has to pit his job against his commitment to truth and justice.
8. Innocent Graves
One misty night, 16-year-old Deborah Harrison is strangled with the strap of her school satchel in the churchyard behind St Mary’s in Eastvale. But Deborah is hardly your typical 16-year-old schoolgirl, because her father is a high-powered financier, and Deborah had secrets of her own.
Soon it seems that they have the killer, but Alan Banks doesn’t believe it. There are just too many loose ends. What about the vicar with accusations of sexual harassment and who’s lying about his whereabouts? And what is the secret his errant wife is hiding? Banks is also sure that Deborah’s family are hiding secrets as well.
Patterns form and then reform in the investigation as Banks runs afoul of the ambitious new Chief Constable Jimmy Riddle.
9. Blood at the Root
The body of young Jason Fox is found broken and very dead in an alley. Inspector Alan Banks soon realizes that it is not simply a bar fight gone wrong. Jason belonged to the controversial Albion League, a white supremacist organization.
The number of people who might have wanted him dead mount up. There are the young Pakistani men he bad-mouthed in the pub that evening. There are the disreputable friends of his business partner. Possibly even other members of the Albion League might have had it in for him.
Banks is just starting to believe that he is getting a handle on the case when a completely unexpected discovery pulls the rug from under his feet.
Blood at the Root has also been published as Dead Right.
10. In a Dry Season
A severe drought has emptied Thornfield Reservoir and uncovered the 40-year-long submerged village of Hobb’s End. It is a wonderful playground for the local children. Until the skeleton of a murder victim from the 1940s is uncovered.
DCI Alan Banks and DS Annie Cabbot are suddenly faced with what seems like an impossible task. They must identify a woman who lived in a place that effectively no longer exists, with its former inhabitants dispersed to who knows where. As they try to come to grips with the decades-old crime a sinister secret comes to light.
11. Cold is the Grave
DCI Banks is at a personal crossroads. His wife Sandra is living in London with another man. Meanwhile, his career has been stagnating thanks to Chief Constable Jimmy Riddle who seems determined to destroy Bank’s career and good name.
But then he is called to Riddle’s house late one night. The Chief Constable’s 16-year-old daughter Emily has run away and her nude photo has turned up on an internet website. So now Riddle wants Banks to discreetly use his unorthodox methods to track Emily down.
As a father of a beloved daughter himself, Banks can’t ignore this request and follows the trail to London. But then several horrendous murders occur…
A phone call from a worried neighbor accidentally leads the police to the home of Terence Payne, the slippery serial killer known as the “Chameleon.” The two police constables sent to investigate stumble across an utterly horrific scene at Number 35, The Hill. It leaves one of them dead and the other desperately clinging to life.
With Payne in custody and perhaps dying, the nightmare finally seems to be over. But Acting Detective Superintendent Alan Banks is not convinced — too many questions are still unanswered at the “House of Payne” and the casualties are still mounting.
13. The Summer That Never Was
When 14-year-old Graham Marshall disappeared during his paper round in 1965, police never found any trace of him. Graham’s disappearance left his family destroyed and his best friend, Alan Banks, racked with guilt.
Alan Banks is now a Chief Inspector and he is steadfast in his journey to find justice for Graham. Then human bones, long-buried in an open field, turn out to be the remains of his friend.
DCI Alan Banks is led back into the darkness that is still inhabited by the same evil that doomed young Graham Marshall all the way back in 1965. Does he dare disturb it?
The Summer That Never Was is also published as Close to Home.
14. Playing with Fire
Two narrowboats catch fire on a stretch of the Eastvale canal in the early hours of a freezing January morning. There are signs of an accelerant at the scene and DCI Banks and DI Annie Cabbot begin to investigate. Though only smouldering debris is left, human remains are identified on both boats.
All the evidence suggests deliberate arson, but who was the targeted victim? Was it Tina, the 16-year-old living a drug-hazed existence with a boyfriend? Or was it Tom, the mysterious and lonely artist? And a number of people are acting suspiciously: The lock-keeper, Tina’s uncaring step-father, the shifty local art dealer, and Tina’s boyfriend Mark.
When the arsonist strikes again, even DCI Banks’s formidable investigative powers are taxed to the limit.
15. Strange Affair
A bullet in the head brutally ends a young woman’s life in her car on a quiet bit of road just outside Eastvale. In her pocket is the name and address of a policeman, Alan Banks. Consequently, Detective Inspector Annie Cabbot wants to question her superior and former lover, Chief Inspector Alan Banks.
But Banks has gone missing into crowded London, summoned there by a phone call from his brother, Roy, and Roy is missing. Living in Roy’s empty South Kensington house, Banks starts digging into the life of a brother he never really knew or even liked. Then sinister links between the two cases come to light…
Final Thoughts on Peter Robinson Books in Order
I hope this motivates you to explore the rich and rewarding world of Peter Robinson and DCI Banks. As Dennis Lehane says on the back of A Dedicated Man, the novels of Peter Robinson “are chilling, evocative, deeply nuanced works of art”. They are indeed, and they also succeed in bringing the historic, beautiful and atmospheric Yorkshire landscape to stunning life.
Have you read the Peter Robinson books in order? Let us know in the comments below!
Looking for more books in order?
Check out this list of Ian Rankin books in order.