When The Music’s Over by Peter Robinson


Two young girls.

Two unspeakable crimes.

Fifty years separate them – their pain connects them.

When the body of a 15-year-old is found in a remote countryside lane, beaten and broken, DI Annie Cabbot is brought in to investigate how the child could possibly have fallen victim to such brutality.

Newly promoted Detective Superintendent Alan Banks is faced with a case that is as cold as they come. Now in her 60s, Linda Palmer was attacked aged 14 by celebrity entertainer Danny Caxton, yet the crime has never been investigated – until now.

As each steps closer to uncovering the truth, they’ll unearth secrets much darker than they ever could have guessed . . .

My review:

I have been a huge fan of Peter Robinson’s writing for a long time. I love the way he constructs his various Alan Banks novels to have a wide range of themes and they all work, beautifully! This novel has very dark subject themes but I think it is executed to be both very accurate and an intense story.

The novel focuses on two cases, one a historical case of sexual abuse. A seemingly cold case from the past, that will have repercussions for the police officers involved. Also a modern case of a murdered young girl, who appears to have been groomed for sexual abuse. This novel never lets up, not one sentence. The prologue is a violent scene with a young woman thrown naked into the mud, abandoned and in need, on a dark country lane….

Alan Bank’s is newly promoted to Detective Superintendent and he now rubs shoulders with the senior police hierarchy. But knowing Banks like I do, it won’t be long before he is causing trouble! Bank’s is called to a meeting regarding Operation Yewtree, where the sole focus is historical cases of abuse. The victim Linda Palmer has spoken out about her rape in 1967, hoping to bring closure now her parents are both deceased. Her alleged rapist is local widely-known celeb Danny Claxton. Danny is reminiscent of recent real life celebs who have been discovered to have harboured a life of degradation and abuse of children. But what Danny doesn’t know, is that Linda remembers a witness to her rape and Bank’s has had, 6 other victims come forward. Danny Caxton is without a doubt one of the vilest characters I have read in a long time. He is in fact, so repulsive you shiver, whilst you read!

DI Annie Cabbot, (Bank’s pervious cop partner). Is now working with DC Geraldine Masterton, known as Gerry. They are called to the crime scene of the young girl, thrown from the van, through their investigation we discover the girl was subjected to violent abuse and a recent gang rape. They speak to family of the victim and her best friend covertly calls in to the helpline. It appears the victim was known to have been befriended by a group of local Asian men and their appetites for young girls, well known. How were the men able to form relationships with these young victims so easily? How did it go unnoticed by local ‘on the beat’ bobby’s?

When Culture and crime collide.

The author has clearly done his research on these themes, they are so well written and emotive. The historical victim from the past Linda, pens a memoir which is scattered throughout the novel, it details her internal pain via her thoughts, in reflection, it is very powerful, tear-inducing writing. This is an era when children had no voice and that is clearly evident in the plot. An era when money and privilege ruled over working class families. But it was also an era of innocence, where children would always believe what an adult said and would unfortunately, do what they told them to.

The modern crime of the girl thrown from the van, brings back images from Annie’s own gang rape, where she was raped by detectives, when she first qualified as a police officer. It makes her more determined than ever to get justice for the young girl. Annie and Gerry, often discuss the case over the course of the novel and this makes for fascinating reading. They debate the actions of those involved and the victim herself. Did she contribute to her own murder? Was she destined to be somebody’s victim? The mentality of the victim is very concerning, that in her life she viewed her abuse with almost apathy.
This is what happens to girls like her, where she is from…….


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