Every now and then, I read a book in German, which was the case with this one, "Wenn die Dämmerung naht" by Peter Robinson. And throughout the book, I kept wishing I'd been reading the original English version - because while I did not find any type setting errors (and if you have been reading my blog for a while, you'll know how meticulous I am about those), more than once I read the German sentence and just KNEW what it must have been in English, and found the translation lacking. Overall, the lady who translated the book still did a good job, just not a brilliant one.
If you have read any of the books by Peter Robinson, you are familiar with DCI Alan Banks and DI Annie Cabbot, as well as with quite a few other characters you'll meet again in this story, such as Winsome Jackman, the athletic and beautiful Detective Constable, and Kevin Templeton, who manages to be so NOT politically correct all the time that his colleagues truly despair.
The original title of this book is "Friend of the Devil". It is, as all the Alan Banks series, set in Yorkshire, with the main locations being Eastvale and Whitby. Leeds and Scarborough are also mentioned, and especially the scenes set in the latter evoked quite a bit of nostalgia in me; with my late husband, I went to Scarborough on holiday for many years, and with every name of a street or a place I had a clear picture in my mind of what it looked, smelled and sounded like.
Annie Cabbot has been transferred to a different police unit than Alan Banks, and the two of them do not see or hear a lot of each other. This changes when their current cases show a link - a link that leads 18 years in the past.
Annie's case is that of a woman in a wheelchair, found murdered at the edge of a cliff, and Alan has to deal with a dead girl found in the "Labyrinth", an area of dark, narrow alleyways between ancient houses either empty or used as storage sheds, just behind Eastvale's market square. At first glance, they seem to have nothing to do with each other, but once the connection is made, Alan and Annie and their teams work together, and the deeper they dig in the past, the more mysterious it gets. A member of their team falls victim to the murderer, and we read how police men and women react when a colleague is killed. During the "showdown" with the murderer, it seems like Annie is going to be next, but in the end it turns out that she never was in any danger. Not this time, at least.
The personal lives of the main characters also feature in the story. Alan falls in love again, but the direction of the relationship is unknown. Annie gets herself into some trouble, and her drinking causes problems to herself and to others.
As with the other Alan Banks stories, this one is a good read and there is plenty of suspense. It took me almost as long as it took Annie to figure out who the murderer of the woman in the wheelchair was, and I was surprised at the turn of events that lead to Alan finding the murderer of the girl in the Labyrinth.
There are some gruesome events, but they are not described in such detail that I found it unbearable to read. The setting is atmospheric and (most of) the characters act credibly.
Next time I come across an Alan Banks book, I am definitely going to read that, too - preferably in English :-)