IN A DRY SEASON is one of the more unusual novels Ive ever read. Told from several viewpoints in different eras, it is a compelling, fascinating look at how the past can be exposed at any moment.

The Yorkshire village of Hobbs End had once been bustling, but at the end of WWII it was flooded to make a reservoir. Now, fifty years later, a dry spell has drained the reservoir, exposing not only the village, but a skeleton as well. Since preliminary evidence proves the skeleton was a murder victim, Inspector Alan Banks is assigned to the case.

Banks life is at a crossroads. His wife has left him, his days are empty, and his career is going nowhere, but when assistant Annie Cabbot is assigned to the case, his spirits pick up. They soon begin mixing business with pleasure.

Fifty years ago at age 19, Gloria Stringer, was a woman with many secrets. She joined the land army to do her part for England during WWII. Assigned to a farm in Hobbs End, the vivacious Gloria finds love, excitementand marriage. She also finds a jealousy and hopelessness that alter her life forever.

Like Gloria before them, Alan and Vivian now encounter a dry season that threatens to expose all the sins of the past and eventually submerge their futures.

Robinsons portrait of WWII England is unforgettable and vivid. This story will stay with you forever. (May, 432 pp., $24.00)

Reviewed by: 
Toby Bromberg