Jump to ratings and reviews
Rate this book

Not Safe After Dark: And Other Stories

Rate this book
Peter Robinson is one of the crime world's finest stylists. This is a collection that will explore our hidden paranoia, challenge all that we take for granted, lure us to new, exotic places only for us to wish we could run back home, and keep us up all night just waiting for the safety of the dawn...'Short stories offer a wonderful opportunity for the series writer to spread his wings and fly to new, exotic places, to meet different people and to try his hand at different styles.' - Peter Robinson. 'Readers who know Robinson only through his Inspector Banks novels are in for a treat' - "Kirkus Reviews". 'It would be easy to become addicted to Robinson' - "Observer".


First published October 28, 1998

Loading interface...
Loading interface...

About the author

Peter Robinson

318 books2,136 followers
Librarian Note: There is more than one author in the Goodreads database with this name.

Peter Robinson was born in Yorkshire. After getting his BA Honours Degree in English Literature at the University of Leeds, he came to Canada and took his MA in English and Creative Writing at the University of Windsor, with Joyce Carol Oates as his tutor, then a PhD in English at York University. He has taught at a number of Toronto community colleges and universities and served as Writer-in-Residence at the University of Windsor, 1992-93.

* Inspector Banks

* Winner of the 1992 Ellis Award for Best Novel.
* Winner of the 1997 Ellis Award for Best Novel.
* Winner of the 2000 Anthony Award for Best Novel.
* Winner of the 2000 Barry Award for Best Novel.
* Winner of the 2001 Ellis Award for Best Novel.

Ratings & Reviews

What do you think?
Rate this book

Friends & Following

Create a free account to discover what your friends think of this book!

Community Reviews

5 stars
203 (26%)
4 stars
294 (38%)
3 stars
215 (27%)
2 stars
45 (5%)
1 star
11 (1%)
Displaying 1 - 30 of 75 reviews
Profile Image for Aisling.
Author 3 books104 followers
December 29, 2017
There's something about a collection of short stories at this time of year. It somehow feels like a gift to be getting multiple stories in one. And it's perfect for picking up and indulging in one more story before getting back to the chores. When you have a terrific writer making a collection of stories it is even better. As a fan of Inspector Banks, I really enjoyed reading the short stories/novella featuring him. The other short stories are just as tightly plotted, dialogue is revealing and authentic, and true to short story form (well, good short stories) the twists or reveals at the end are masterfully done and very satisfying. Peter Robinson is just a great writer and you can't go wrong reading anything by him.
594 reviews
March 16, 2018
I'm not a fan of short stories, but I like Peter Robinson's books. Some of the stories are good, some just OK. There are two about his regular character Inspector Alan Banks. Those were good.
Profile Image for Kim.
2,154 reviews
August 31, 2017
Great collection of short stories from the author of the DCI Banks crime series - some stories and a novella at the end feature Alan Banks but the remainder have various topics and settings and demonstrate a good writing talent and attention to detail. Not the easiest genre to write in, as the author admits in the foreword, but he's done an admirable job - 8.5/10.
176 reviews27 followers
December 1, 2022
This is my first by Robinson and, if this is any indication, he had a deft hand. While all are written in a similar brisk style, there's still a variety of subject and narrator in these stories, some 1st person and some 3rd person. Four, including the concluding novella, feature his recurring character, Inspector Alan Banks; the novella, "Going Back," is probably the best of them, giving a glimpse into how Banks thinks and his family relations and how he grew up. 

My favorite stories are the two featuring Frank Bascombe, veteran of WWI who survived a mustard gas attack with relatively minor damage, and who during WWII acts as a local amateur cop. (There's an official title I'm forgetting and the book is not at hand.) Both stories, "Missing in Action" and "In Flanders Field," begin with the best Golden Age jauntiness, Frank admitting he's nosy and not liking to leave unanswered questions unanswered, and the conclusions of both stories demonstrate the corrosive results of prejudice. Nearly as good, though a bit lighter, is "Some Land in Florida," featuring a Toronto P.I. on vacation drawn into a murder investigation. And "Memory Lane" features two first person narratives that don't exactly merge, but do echo off each other in an affecting way.

I didn't think there were any stinkers in the book, just a couple I like less than the others, which made this a good read.
Profile Image for Fictionophile .
1,061 reviews338 followers
May 27, 2022
I confess I've long been a huge fan of this author since reading his early Inspector Banks novels many years ago.

In this volume he delves into many scenarios, all the while maintaining the skilled writing that I've always admired him for. The stories are mostly mysteries with a few suspense titles scattered throughout. They cover a vast array of time periods and settings and several have cunning plot twists.

These stories are quality crime shorts that I can heartily recommend to all lovers of the genre. For those who love to read short crime fiction this is a terrific book to pick up.
Profile Image for Ray Palen.
1,557 reviews43 followers
December 19, 2017
British author Peter Robinson takes a break from his best-selling DCI Alan Banks series --- a series that Stephen King has called the best on the market --- to put together a bunch of short stories in his collection entitled NOT SAFE AFTER DARK.

What I enjoyed even more than the stories themselves was the insight into the short story genre that Robinson presents in his Introduction. He states: 'Short stories offer a wonderful opportunity for the series writer to spread his or her wings and fly to new, exotic places to meet different people and to try out different techniques.'

He walks the talk with a nice mix of stories, some of them featuring DCI Banks. I will highlight a few of the standout stories for me. The first one out of the gate was "Summer Rain", a DCI Banks story with a different twist than his usual police procedurals. The theme in this story is reincarnation and that is definitely a unique situation for the stoic Banks. The title story, 'Not Safe After Dark', about a killer who utilizes public parks as the canvas for his evil deeds.

The lynchpin in this collection is 'Missing In Action', which won the Edgar Award for best Short Story. It is set in 1939 at the early stages of WWII and depicts both soldiers who are MIA but also young children going missing on the home front. Tough subject matter expertly handled. Another story of note was 'The Good Partner' that also featured DCI Banks. The title can refer to either Banks' partner in this case, DC Susan Gay, as well as the business partner of the key witness in this crime mystery.

It is always a pleasure to read anything by Peter Robinson and having the opportunity to see his work in the short form was indeed a treat.
Profile Image for Betsy.
999 reviews145 followers
August 31, 2021
I have read very few of the Alan Banks books many years ago so I thought I would give these short stories a try. Most of the stories were not about Banks, and were only so-so. The Banks Novella was the longest and most disappointing. I really didn't like Banks at all. He came to his parents' house for a celebretory short visit with major attitude, and of course the cop in him has to 'solve the case.'. I don't deny that the perpetrator needed to be caught, but it was just so contrived. And of course, he meets an old girlfiend and immediately goes to bed with her to the theme of 'What If?' Don't think I'll bother with anymore of the Robinson books. Besides I was really turned off by his constant references to bands and music. It really palls after awhile.
Profile Image for Steve Scott.
969 reviews49 followers
October 5, 2020
Solid, but really short. I listened to the audiobook, which was narrated very well.

The author has my attention. I’ll be looking for his work.
Profile Image for Ellie.
25 reviews
October 30, 2012

Having never read any of Peter Robinson's work before, I went into this book blindly, not knowing what to expect. Although I can conclude that the book really is a mixed bag, full of some very good, original stories and others predictable and unnecessary.

Some obvious stand outs were 'Fan Mail', 'Innocence', 'Anna Said', 'April in Paris' and 'Going Back'. Each of these stories had good story lines and characters that were in some way well entwined in the plot. However they were a few short stories that weren't as good and then a few that could be classed as fairly average, and that's why I'd be inclined to give the book 2-3 stars.

Whether or not I will be reading any of Robinson's other works I don't know, but one criticism on this particular book is the length, I don't usually mind long books but there were far too many stories and it appears that the statement "Quality rather than quantity" should have been addressed here.
Profile Image for Ron.
260 reviews4 followers
December 16, 2016
There is more than one version of this collection and I read the original edition that my library had. There are 13 stories first published between 1989 and 1998, many in Ellery Queen's Mystery Magazine. These are crime stories, murder mysteries, and for the most part I didn't enjoy them. The ick factor is a little too high for me in a couple of these stories. There were a couple I thought pretty good but my overall impression was that these are not stories I want to read. I very rarely read stories of this type so I have no way of judging whether these are better or worse than the usual.

The last story, "In Flanders Field" was my favorite of the collection I'd say, and it was newly written for this book. I also really liked the Thomas Hardy inspired "Two Ladies of Rose Cottage." For my tastes the subject matter and story quality improved greatly as we moved from early stories to later ones. The sex crimes at the start of the collection put me off.

2 1/2 stars
Profile Image for El.
856 reviews2 followers
February 4, 2020
I bought these from a Charity Shop but they only had half of the collection and what I listened to was a very mixed bag. I love the DCI Banks novels and television series with Stephen Tompkinson and assumed these would all feature Banks. Sadly, they didn't. A few of the stories were fine but others didn't interest me and some were a bit unpleasant. Maybe the better stories were in the missing part of the collection?
Profile Image for Kerry Pickens.
861 reviews18 followers
February 5, 2018
I love British mysteries, and I when I first received this book as an ARC from Goodreads--I was excited because I thought I had found a new favorite author. I enjoyed the Inspector Banks stories in the book, but the rest of the stories felt like they were just filler. There was one story, Innocence, that I thought was downright pervy.
506 reviews1 follower
September 6, 2023
I don’t usually go in for collections of short stories and novellas but I knew Peter Robinson to be one of the world’s best writers in the crime genre. This is a collection that explores many aspects of the readers’ fears and expectations. It’s helpful that a few of the stories feature the familiar Inspector Banks and his cohorts but the stories reach far beyond the familiar place and time of the Banks novels.

It was gratifying to find that some of the stories are set in Toronto, my home. (In fact Robinson lived just three or four blocks from me so we frequented the same shops and pubs.) It was also interesting to read stories set in the past, during the wars and exploring how people really coped with the trying times between 1900 and 1950 or earlier into the 19th century.

Not all of the stories are equally compelling but they are all good. For once I was delighted to get back to the book and whatever new story was on offer. It was a pleasure to delve into the book with Banks familiarity on one side and totally new, exotic stories, rich in character and historical facts. It almost makes me wish Robinson had written more like this, rather than a new Banks novels. Of course I wanted the new Banks novels as much as anyone else, having read all of them long before I started writing reviews on Goodreads.

Short stories and novellas offer a wonderful opportunity for the series writer to spread his/her wings and explore different places and times. Readers who know Robinson only through his Inspector Banks novels should give this collection a serious look. It makes me wish Robinson lived longer and experimented more because these stories are treats and proof of potential never fully realized.
1,090 reviews15 followers
December 4, 2017
In this collection of short stories and three novellas, Inspector Banks is featured in four of the 20 tales. The longest, Going Back, has Banks returning to the home he grew up in to celebrate his parents’ golden anniversary, only to discover that he can’t escape being a policeman when faced with an evil-doer. He also learns a few things about himself. The various tales demonstrate the range of the author’s talents and writing style. Of course, the long-running Inspector Banks series, which now number 23 novels and counting, have amply shown such abilities over the years.

In the Edgar Award-winning short story, Missing in Action, Robinson addresses the horrors of mob mentality when a young lad is found missing and a homophobic bully incites neighbors against someone who appears to be different.

The stories are set in different periods of history, from WWI to WWII, and both in England and Canada. In Flanders Fields takes place in the early days of WW II amid the blackouts and bombings of London, and turns out to be a murder mystery involving a veteran suffering from PTSD. A twist of fate and false information are at the heart of April in Paris, a tale of unrequited love set during the DeGaulle period in post-WWII France, which includes descriptions of the student unrest at the time

Although the 20 short stories have previously been published in different editions under the same title as the present volume, this special edition makes them available in the United States for the first time. And they are well worth reading.

Profile Image for Jane.
2,117 reviews32 followers
May 2, 2019
Some good stories, some not so good stories. I enjoyed the Inspector Banks stories the most, though I have two complaints.

This collection was read by four different narrators. The last Banks story, a novella really, was NOT read by audiobook boyfriend Simon Prebble but some other guy. Simon Prebble IS Alan Banks as long as he is alive to read him! (The narrator wasn't bad, just not Simon Prebble.)

The other thing is that the last story was set around the wedding anniversary of Arthur and Ida Banks, the parents of Inspector Banks. His brother Roy also made an appearance. Robinson must have some kind of rule where he always refers to his main character as "Banks" even though there were many times when it would have made more sense to call him "Alan" with all those Banks around. And it seemed like every time the author referred to any of the other Banks characters he called them "Ida Banks" or "Arthur Banks" or "Roy Banks" instead of just their first names. Maybe it would not have been annoying in print, but it was driving me bloody crazy on audio.

Anyway, it was a good listen.
Profile Image for Diane Griffiths.
192 reviews4 followers
January 29, 2018
From the New York Times bestselling author of Sleeping in the Ground comes this brilliantly nuanced short story collection of twenty stories—most never before published in the US, and one of them an Edgar winner—which also features three Inspector Banks tales.

I have not read any of his books before, so I had nothing to base my opinion on as to his writing style. I did enjoy the Inspector Banks tales. Some of the stories were very good with good story lines and catching your interest. Some were just there and nothing spectacular.

I would probably look for some of his Inspector Banks books in the future.
Profile Image for Christine.
1,374 reviews19 followers
December 10, 2018
I really enjoy Peter Robinson's Inspector Banks novels and this short story collection caught my eye. Like most all short story collections, some appealed to me more than others. Not surprisingly, my favorite stories are those featuring Banks, especially the novella called "Going Back" in which Banks visits his parents for their 50th anniversary. Of the "non-Banks" stories, I liked "The Wrong Hands" about a lawyer and a widowed trophy wife the best.
Profile Image for Readerskeeter.
34 reviews
January 1, 2018
I’ve never read any Peter Robinson before but, with no expectations, I liked these stories. I am a fan of off beat, scary mysteries and for some reason, the Holiday Season is the perfect time for them. I like his approach and funky twists and I’m adding him to my “to read” list.
Joyce Carol Oates is one of my most admired authors and it shows that he studied with her.
Profile Image for Timothy.
Author 11 books20 followers
February 18, 2018
An excellent collection of short stories by Peter Robinson (Inspector Banks), often violent and macabre they are reflective of the places the author has lived and his career immersion in murder. They include a trip of Banks stories and two based on the actions of a World War II era Special Constable investigating murder near Leeds.
Profile Image for Esigs.
216 reviews
February 19, 2018
I picked up this book in the Boston airport on the way home and thought it looked interesting because I’ve never read short stories before. I gave this book a chance and read almost halfway through the short stories and everyone just seem to fit the same exact pattern. It was told very well and the stories were excellent and then I couldn’t stand any of the endings. I finally had to put it down.
189 reviews5 followers
March 1, 2018
I rarely ever read a collection of short stories but I recommend this one. It was nice to pick it up, read a story or two, and be on my way. I especially liked the story Fan Mail. How often does a mystery writer get a chance to actually plan the perfect murder for someone else? What could go wrong? It has a twist, as do may of the stories. This was a good read.
Profile Image for Zella.
398 reviews
March 23, 2018
I’ve read all of Peter Robinson’s Inspector Banks novels and always find them enjoyable, especially the musical references. This collection has a couple visits by Banks, but also several new characters. I found this a good read and am starting to think I like short stories after all (though longer novels are still my preference).
Profile Image for Suzanne.
326 reviews
May 6, 2018
This collection of short stories by Peter Robinson were good and certainly contained some interesting twists! Several of the stories feature Alan Banks, Robinson's detective from the long-running series. They were the best but all are good. They feature a variety of locations and are set in different time frames.
Profile Image for Jack Sakalauskas.
Author 3 books23 followers
January 26, 2020
"Not Safe After Dark" is a collection of 20 short stories, three of them Banks stories and one of them a novella. Some of the stories were good and a few were better. The story I liked the best was 'Carrion'. Took me in, hook, line and sinker. The novella I had read as a stand alone story and it was also included in another short story collection. Gave it three stars.
242 reviews
July 18, 2021
As I love Banksy and he is the reason I read this author those stories were my favorites. The rest were a mixed bag as Im not that into WWII or American old style crime noir detective stories. But still glad I got to see how Peter can write different kinds of stories and characters. I skipped thru some of the ones I didn't care for quickly in the audio book.
Profile Image for Roberta.
236 reviews29 followers
May 24, 2022
The stories were interesting and a change from his Banks series but the most enlightening part of this book for me was the introduction. Robinson talked about his creative process, some history of the Banks novels, and his difficulty in writing short stories versus novels. I enjoy learning about authors and their inspiration, ideas, and writing process.
101 reviews12 followers
January 4, 2018
What a fantastic book to read over the holidays. Short stories that you can read when you have 15 minutes free. Some so-so tales, but most of them are wonderful. You won't be sorry you've taken the time to read this book.
Profile Image for Phoebe.
1,992 reviews13 followers
March 19, 2018
Recently re-issued in paperback, this book features several Inspector Banks stories, which are the best in the book. The other stories are edgy and twisted, set at various time periods and starring complicated characters who do unpredictable things. Short story fiction at its best. Adult.
Profile Image for Jill.
1,053 reviews
September 3, 2018
The author said he wanted to break away from DCI Banks, but there were still two stories about him in this. As with all collections, there were a couple that were not so good, but on the whole I found them to be very good. A few really set this reader thinking, and the twists were pretty good.
Displaying 1 - 30 of 75 reviews

Can't find what you're looking for?

Get help and learn more about the design.