Skip to main content

No Cure for Love


No Cure for Love

Mystery aficionados are more likely than not to be familiar with the Inspector Banks series of police procedural novels by Peter Robinson. The individual books balance the personality of the driven and quietly troubled police detective --- and a top-notch ensemble of recurring secondary characters --- with what is always a razor-sharp mystery. What also makes these books so appealing is Robinson’s ability to capture the elements of London as well as small-town England down to their last nuances. For those of us in the United States, each installment is like a mini-vacation to England, guided by a first-rate observer.

So NO CURE FOR LOVE is quite the surprise, given that it is set mainly, though not entirely, in the deceptively sunny realm of sunny California. It was first published in Canada over two decades ago --- while Peter Robinson was becoming Peter Robinson --- but is being released in the United States for the first time in 2016. Whatever the reason for the interlude between publication here and our fine neighbor to the north, it certainly wasn’t due to quality. Robinson captures the viewpoint, tenor and voice of the Los Angeles and Hollywood areas as if he were to the manor born there in a dark police procedural that is very different for him but still retains his high-water marks for quality.

"While the book is a must-read for Robinson completists...those who are unfamiliar with the series and who love solid police procedurals with well-developed characters and exquisitely timed suspense will find much to love here as well."

The story features a British actress named Sarah Broughton, who is the newly minted star of a breakout television cop show. Sarah is getting acquainted with the good --- and the maybe not-so-good --- aspects of fame and moderate fortune that come with A-list recognition when she begins receiving anonymous letters at her beach house address, a listing that no one is supposed to have. The letters are love missives, passionate but bizarre to the point of cringeworthy, and signed only with a cryptic “M.” What is worse for Sarah is that they address her as “Sally,” which is her given name. There are certain things the reader knows that Sarah does not, among them that the sender is watching her every move with a relentlessness that is chilling.

This results in the intervention of Detective Arvo Hughes of the LAPD Threat Management Unit, although he initially feels that the letters are somewhat run of the mill for celebrities. That assessment starts to change, beginning when a mutilated corpse turns up one morning in the middle of the path that Sarah takes for her daily runs. She isn’t being entirely honest about her knowledge regarding some of the elements in the letters, but as more is learned of her past --- things she would rather keep secret but can’t --- the closer Arvo and the reader come to learning the identity of Sarah’s stalker, even as he reaches the stage of making a final, violent declaration of his feelings directly at her.

While the book is a must-read for Robinson completists --- the absence of Banks notwithstanding --- those who are unfamiliar with the series and who love solid police procedurals with well-developed characters and exquisitely timed suspense will find much to love here as well. Arvo is a particularly interesting character and perhaps would have made for a compelling series character if Robinson had seen fit. Perhaps we’ll see him again at some point. For now, though, we have NO CURE FOR LOVE, and it’s a good one.

Reviewed by Joe Hartlaub on February 26, 2016

No Cure for Love
by Peter Robinson

  • Publication Date: February 16, 2016
  • Genres: Fiction, Mystery, Suspense, Thriller
  • Paperback: 416 pages
  • Publisher: William Morrow Paperbacks
  • ISBN-10: 0062405101
  • ISBN-13: 9780062405104