Hodder & Stoughton are sad to announce that the crime writer Peter Robinson died suddenly on 4th October after a brief illness. He was best-known for his DCI Banks novels – first published 35 years ago, and brought to television by Left Bank Productions with Stephen Tompkinson as Banks – with 8.75 million books sold by his UK publishers Hodder & Stoughton and Pan Macmillan. A long-time Torontonian, Robinson was born in Leeds and much of his fiction was deeply rooted in a very contemporary Yorkshire, where the beauty of the Dales always co-existed with poverty and crime in his fictional town of Eastvale. Peter received the Grand Master Award from the Crime Writers of Canada in 2020, and won many prizes for his work from around the world, where his fiction has been translated and published in 20 countries and reached number one on the bestseller list numerous times.
Peter Robinson’s editor, Hodder Managing Director Carolyn Mays, said: ‘Peter was a combination of all the best bits of his detective Alan Banks – thoughtful and passionate about justice, he had fine taste and a totally down to earth view of the world. His humour was wry and very dry. He was a Yorkshireman to the core; much that he did was done without fanfare, like the scholarship he created at the University of Leeds, where he himself took his first degree, to sponsor students through an English Literature and Creative Writing course.
‘Peter Robinson was an immensely talented writer over a very wide range, from poetry, to short stories, noir thrillers to more literary works. He was in fact Dr Robinson, with a PhD in literature, and we saw glimpses of that, and sometimes his poetry, in his novels – as well of course of his very eclectic love of music, shared by Banks. His novels are superbly plotted (one reviewer said he had the precision of Swiss watchmaker) and the settings are vivid and fully real, but it’s the richness and depth of his characters that keep the readers – including me – coming back for more.
‘I’ve lost track of the very many happy meals the Robinson team, his agent and old friend David Grossman, and I have shared with Peter and his wife Sheila, putting the world to rights and trying to persuade him – always unsuccessfully – to give away a little bit more about what was going to happen next in Banks’s love life. The last of those was in May this year when we met for the first time since the pandemic. With typical generosity, Peter and Sheila drove around Yorkshire to feed and entertain me. Peter promised a delivery date for his new novel, and as he always did, kept to it. Standing in the Shadows is perhaps his finest work yet, and publishing it in March next year will be a bittersweet experience for a great many of us.
‘Our hearts are with his family and friends, his agents David Grossman and Dominick Abel, the many thousands of fans who will miss his work so much, and most of all with his beloved wife, Sheila, to whom he dedicated every single book he wrote.’