Yorkshire crime writer and Inspector Banks creator Peter Robinson dies aged 72

Yorkshire-born crime writer Peter Robinson, whose most famous detective novels were set in the county, has died aged 72.

Fellow author Val McDermid was among the literary figures paying tribute to Robinson, Tweeting: ”Sad to hear of the death of @Inspector_Banks. We were both first published in 1987, and our paths often crossed, (usually accompanied by beer) in Canada and his beloved Yorkshire. Condolences to Sheila.”

Dr Ruth Galloway Mysteries writer Elly Griffiths added: “So sad to hear of the death of Peter Robinson. I interviewed him at Morecambe and Vice a few years ago. A lovely man and a great writer. RIP.”

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Peter Robinson was raised in the Leeds suburb of Armley and studied at the University of Leeds, but after graduating emigrated to and settled in Canada.

Crime author Peter Robinson on his return visit to Leeds University in 2005Crime author Peter Robinson on his return visit to Leeds University in 2005
Crime author Peter Robinson on his return visit to Leeds University in 2005

His Inspector Alan Banks series of detective novels are set in a fictional Yorkshire Dales town and were first published in 1987. The books were adapted for TV as DCI Banks, with Stephen Tompkinson in the lead role.

He died on October 4 and is survived by his wife Sheila Halladay, with whom he lived in Toronto. They also had a holiday home near Richmond in North Yorkshire.

A final Inspector Banks novel is due for publication in 2023.

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His publishers Hodder & Stoughton said in a statement: “Hodder & Stoughton are sad to announce that the crime writer Peter Robinson died suddenly on 4 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 verycontemporary 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.”

His editor 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.

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‘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.”