PIECE OF MY HEART by Peter Robinson (McClelland & Stewart), 480 pages, $10.99 paper. Rating: NNNN Rating: NNNN
It's 1969 and the summer of love has come to Yorkshire, bringing long-haired hippies and LSD. Amidst the mud and rubbish left behind after an outdoor rock festival, a young woman with a flower on her cheek is found in a sleeping bag, stabbed five times in the heart.
Thirty-five years later, a phone call takes DCI Alan Banks to a holiday cottage where a music journalist has been brutally murdered.
Events from the past reach forward into the present, and true to form, author Peter Robinson interweaves the two periods brilliantly.
Though never really a part of the 60s scene himself, Banks has a gentler, intuitive approach to crime-solving that's a far cry from that of the hippie-hating Detective Chadwick, a by-the-rules bloke who's in charge of the sleeping-bag murder and who nearly destroys his own daughter's life.
As Banks digs through the scant evidence, Internet rock sites and his own rose-tinted memories of the time, details keep leading back to the Mad Hatters, a local band who got their start at the Brimley Glen concert and whose members have gone through some hard times since.
A Piece Of My Heart is the 16th Inspector Banks book in a series that has yet to disappoint.
As Banks ages, the past increasingly informs the present, bringing clarity but also the heartbreaking sadness that in Piece Of My Heart lies beneath the songs.
Robinson never misses a beat.