Peter Robinson is an English-born Canadian mystery writer whose work has been popular on both sides of the Atlantic. His novels featuring Yorkshire policeman Alan Banks include Gallow's View, Wednesday's Child, Blood at the Root, and, most recently, In a Dry Season. Like many of the genre's most accomplished practitioners, he is also an excellent short story writer, and, thanks to the special mission of the small Norfolk, Virginia, publishing house, Crippen & Landru, nearly all of Robinson's story output to date has been collected in this splendidly readable, highly intelligent volume of 13 tales. Not Safe After Dark contains three Inspector Banks stories that, like the longer works featuring that character, are contemporary plots with that Golden Age feel so cherished by many readers. There is also Robinson's first private-eye story, "Some Land in Florida," and his first historically set tale, "The Two Ladies of Rose Cottage" (inspired, he says, by his interest in Thomas Hardy), which was good enough to be selected for the prestigious annual volume of The Best American Mystery Stories.
One of the features that most interested me about this collection is how comfortable Robinson is in the different settings he selects. Whether it's the British Midlands or the condo coasts of Florida, Peter Robinson is such a keen observer of human nature that he keeps readers satisfied wherever he takes them. It is worth noting that in "Some Land in Florida," his private investigator, Jack Erwin, is given to sitting under the palm trees, smoking a cigar, nursing a whiskey and reading Robertson Davies!