Skinner's Round by Quintin Jardine

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Skinner's Round by Quintin Jardine

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Category: Crime
Rating: 4/5
Reviewer: Sue Magee
Reviewed by Sue Magee
Summary: The fourth book in the continuing Bob Skinner series makes far a good read, particularly if you have an interest in golf.
Buy? Yes Borrow? Yes
Pages: 448 Date: October 1995
Publisher: Headline
External links: Author's website
ISBN: 978-0755357734

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A golf course, Witches' Hill, has been created on the Marquis of Kinture's East Lothian estate and to mark the opening a four-day tournament featuring the world's top golfers is being staged. A few days before the tournament's due to start one of Kinture's business partners is found dead in the private jacuzzi in the clubhouse. His throat had been cut. This would be bad enough, but a letter was received by the local paper quoting a fragment from a legendary witches' curse which threatens anyone who desecrates their place of worship. A second murder - this time by water - follows hard on the heels of the first and it looks as though the curse is coming true.

Assistant Chief Constable Bob Skinner is a member of Gullane Golf Club and plays off a seven handicap: he's going to be playing in the Pro-Am competition which is running alongside the professional tournament which promises a prize of a million pounds. Competition is fierce, but running true to form Skinner's private life is not running smoothly. He found out accidentally about the relationship between Detective Superintendent Andy Martin, who's 33 and his 21-year-old daughter Alex. With the first sign of feet of clay from Skinner, he didn't react well: in fact he and Martin, previously the best of friends, on and off the job, have barely spoken to each other since and Alex is somewhere in Europe with a band and seems to have no intention of coming home.

If you have any interest in golf Skinner's Round is a really good story, with a great sense of the game of golf. We've moved out of Edinburgh to the golf lands of East Lothian where Skinner has his main home, but even if you don't know which is the business end of a nine iron this is still a great read, with the usual combination of police procedural and thriller. I had a few people chalked in as the murderer, but I hadn't even considered the person it turned out to be: it's a great story, well told.

I'm used to Quintin Jardine capturing Edinburgh, but this time it's East Lothian that comes off the page so well. Life - and quite a bit of the local economy - revolves around golf. You get an insight into what makes a great course and even some tips for improving your own game.

Recently I've been listening to the Skinner books as audio downloads, all of which I've bought myself. They're narrated by James Bryce who's nobly taken on the task of telling a story which is heavily populated by middle-aged, middle class Scotsmen and somehow given them all individual voices - and that is no mean feat. As soon as I finish one, I buy the next download!

For another series of crime novels which feature the lead detective's private life as heavily as the Bob Skinner series and which are also available as audio downloads, we can recommend Susan Hill's Simon Serrailler Novels.

Quintin Jardine's Bob Skinner Novels in Chronological Order

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