DCI Banks author Peter Robinson dies aged 72

The best-selling crime author Peter Robinson has died at the age of 72, his publisher has confirmed.

The Leeds-born novelist was known for the DCI Alan Banks series of books, set in Yorkshire.

The stories were adapted into an ITV series with Stephen Tompkinson, which ran from 2011 to 2017.

His publisher said he had died after a short illness on Tuesday. Tributes have been paid by fellow crime writers Val McDermid and Ian Rankin.

Robinson emigrated to Canada in 1974 after studying English Literature at the University of Leeds.

He lived in Toronto with his wife Sheila Halladay.

He remained true to his roots by setting his DCI Banks novels, the first of which was published in 1987, in the fictional Yorkshire town of Eastvale.

The series has sold more than 8.75m books, his UK publisher Hodder & Stoughton said.

In 2020, he was granted the Grand Master Award from the Crime Writers of Canada, having previously been given their Derrick Murdoch Award in 2010.

‘Hellish news’

His editor and managing editor of Hodder & Stoughton Carolyn Mays said he was a combination of “all the best bits” of his Alan Banks character.

“Thoughtful and passionate about justice, he had fine taste and a totally down-to-earth view of the world,” she said.

Ms Mays said he had a wry and very dry humour and 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.”

She said their hearts were with his family and friends and the “many thousands of fans who will miss his work so much”.

“Most of all with his beloved wife Sheila, to whom he dedicated every single book he wrote.”

Ms Mays said his final work Standing in The Shadows was set to be published in March and was “perhaps his finest work yet”.

Paying tribute on Twitter, author Val McDermid wrote: “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.”

While Ian Rankin also paid tribute tweeting: “Hellish news about my dear friend Peter Robinson. Spent many a wonderful evening in the company of him and his partner Sheila.”

The organisers of the Harrogate Crime Writing Festival also paid tribute to a “wonderful author and guest”.

Robinson had appeared as a guest at the first festival 20 years ago.

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