Stay of Execution (Bob Skinner Mysteries) by Quintin Jardine
|Stay of Execution (Bob Skinner Mysteries) by Quintin Jardine|
|Reviewer: Sue Magee|
|Summary: Book 14 in this long-running series is a return to form (and generally to the UK) after the blips of the previous two books when Skinner seemed to be running investigations in the USA. Stay of Execution is rather more believable - even with a Scottish Pope.|
|Buy? Yes||Borrow? Yes|
|Pages: 544/14h21m||Date: July 2004|
|External links: Author's website|
Pope John the XXV is returning to his home city for his first visit since he assumed the papacy: there's rejoicing in the city but the security is a nightmare for the police and other more shadowy agencies charged with ensuring his safety - and there's a lot of political manoeuvering about who is going to sit on platforms with him, whether this is a state visit and who is going to get to meet him: atheists need not apply. But criminal life in the city continues without regard to His Holiness's visit: a respectable businessman is found hanging from a tree, a veteran from a marching band on its way to Edinburgh is killed in a hit and run then a couple of days later another dies from an apparent heart attack which turns out to be cyanide poisoning. Then there's a major fraud...
Thank heavens we have largely got Skinner (and the plot) back into the UK. I found the idea that he could go to the USA in Head Shot and Fallen Gods and show them how it should be done slightly offensive and not really all that believable: this time around I could even take the idea of a Scottish pope in my stride and the story of the security problems which such a visit produces was compelling. There were neat twists is the other plot strands which left me guessing right up to the end.
Skinner himself might appear to be increasingly godlike, but I was relieved to spot a chink in his armour: his choice of women is pretty poor. Dr Sarah Grace Skinner doesn't really seem to be committed to the marriage and despite all Skinner has had to say about politicians he's allowing one of them to get rather too close. The game of musical beds amongst the CID officers in Edinburgh continues unabated and I could almost wish for a larger cast to introduce some variety. They're good stories - you've just got to accept it all as being a soap opera set in a great location.
I've been having problems with my vision, so rather than read the series I've been listening to audio downloads (which I've bought myself) narrated by James Bryce, who seems to have taken on the mammoth task of narrating all the Skinner books (that's twenty-six as at July 2016) and turning a cast consisting mainly of middle-aged male Scots who would probably all sound pretty much the same in real life into individual personalities. for crime set in the States, try All The Wicked Girls by Chris Whitaker.
Overall, a recommended read/listen.
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You can read more book reviews or buy Stay of Execution (Bob Skinner Mysteries) by Quintin Jardine at Amazon.com.