Cold Case (Bob Skinner) by Quintin Jardine

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Cold Case (Bob Skinner) by Quintin Jardine

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Category: Crime
Rating: 4.5/5
Reviewer: Sue Magee
Reviewed by Sue Magee
Summary: It's the thirtieth book in the series but it still feels remarkably fresh and relevant. Highly recommended.
Buy? Yes Borrow? Yes
Pages: 384/12h09m Date: November 2018
Publisher: Headline
External links: Author's website
ISBN: 978-1472238931

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Bob Skinner left the police service in Scotland when it was amalgamated into one unit. He didn't believe in it then and he doesn't now and many serving officers would agree with him. He might be retired but he's hardly idle: he's contracted to spend one day a week working for a media group, but usually gives more. His family - six children now - is important to him. There's the occasional private commission, although he stops short of calling himself a private investigator, but he's just been presented with a problem which it's difficult to refuse. It's not the problem that's the difficulty - it's the person who is asking for help. Sir James Proud was Skinner's predecessor as Chief Constable and he's been approached by a blogger who feels that he has evidence that Proud was involved in a famous murder for which a man was convicted. He subsequently committed suicide whilst in prison - and went to his death denying that he was guilty.

It could almost be farce as Skinner attempts to meet up with the blogger and Jimmy Proud disappears without trace. They're hardly the actions of an innocent man, but Chrissie Proud is in the early stages of dementia and can neither cope with nor accept her husband's disappearance. There's a dog too. The police see Proud's disappearance as evidence of guilt, not in the original case but a current investigation. Skinner will never believe that, although even he has to have doubts when evidence of relationships he never knew about comes to light. Could the original murder be linked to the current police investigation?

When you get to book thirty in a series you've already begun to wonder just how long it can go on for. You start to expect signs of tiredness: I now approach every new Bob Skinner novel with a strange mixture of excited anticipation and dread. Will this be the book which suggests that Skinner should hang up his investigative skills? I'm relieved to say that Cold Case is about as far from that as you could imagine. There are a few of the regular characters: Sauce Haddock is now a DI and in charge of his first murder case under the loose supervision of Mario McGuire. Sarah Skinner is back in harness after the birth of their latest child, but this isn't a book where you need to have read several of the ones which precede it for it to make much sense. It's no hardship to have done so, but Cold Case reads perfectly well as a standalone - and it might tempt you to read some of the earlier books. You'll find a link to a chronological list below.

This time the emphasis is on the crimes: and they're particularly relevant with cases where the prosecution hasn't disclosed information to the defence which might have weakened the prosecution case. I was startled by the obligations which rest on the police in Scotland - and the offences with which they could be charged. It's particularly thought provoking, particularly when you realise the extent to which a current officer could find himself with problems if information comes to light about an old case and he doesn't disclose it.

It's the plot you want to know about though, isn't it? Well, it's a cracker. I was pretty certain that I knew what had happened but as usual with this series I was wide of the mark, although the clues were all there. It was a superb read which I finished in a couple of days, despite the fact that I should have been doing something more pressing. I'd like to thank the publishers for sending a copy to the Bookbag - it was a rare treat.

If, like me, you've read all the Skinner books then you might be looking for another series. A very popular one is coming to an end, start with Raven Black.

Quintin Jardine's Bob Skinner Novels in Chronological Order

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