Hour of Darkness: A Bob Skinner Mystery by Quintin Jardine

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Hour of Darkness: A Bob Skinner Mystery by Quintin Jardine

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Buy Hour of Darkness: A Bob Skinner Mystery by Quintin Jardine at Amazon.co.uk or Amazon.com

Category: Crime
Rating: 4/5
Reviewer: Sue Magee
Reviewed by Sue Magee
Summary: The 24th book in the series is ingenious in keeping Skinner involved in investigation despite being Chief Constable. It's not the place to start if you're new to the series, but it's a good read for fans.
Buy? Maybe Borrow? Yes
Pages: 432 Date: May 2014
Publisher: Headline
External links: Author's website
ISBN: 978-0755357024

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The naked body of a woman was washed up on an island in the Firth of Forth. The mutilation had obviously come from a ship's propeller but the result was that there was no means of identification. Several days later detectives were called to a flat in Edinburgh: a meter reader had found the kitchen covered in blood and it wasn't long before a connection was made between the missing occupant of the property and the unidentified body. The name - Isabella Spreckley - didn't ring immediate bells but she had been Bella Watson and that was a name which many people, not least Bob Skinner, would have preferred not to hear again - even if she was dead.

It's the twenty fourth book in the Skinner series and one of the problems with a long running series is that the successful professional tends to be promoted and moves away from day-to-day involvement with the investigations which made him - and the series - so successful. And so it is with Bob Skinner. He's moved on from Edinburgh, although he still lives in that part of the world, and he's now Chief Constable of Strathclyde, based in Glasgow - a city of which he's not over fond. The job's not entirely to his taste either as it comes with a desk to which he's just about surgically attached.

The other problem with a long-running series are the people who populate the pages. As times goes on there gets to be a lot of them and at the beginning of Hour of Darkness they come dashing in like the ravening hordes. I'm up-to-date with the series but it was still difficult to keep track of who was who, who was with whom and to whom they had been married. The book will read as a stand alone, but if you're new to the series then - in all honesty - this might not be the place to start. Still and having said that, once I settled in and got everyone sorted out I found a very quick and compelling read. I was through four hundred plus pages in just less than two days.

It's a good story and very au courant with what's happening with policing in Scotland, but strangely silent on the question of possible Scottish independence. Perhaps the Scots are not as excited about it as they might be? That's a very minor quibble though in terms of a compelling page turner with plenty of twists and turns and a denouement which I certainly wasn't expecting. I'd like to thank the publishers for sending a copy to the Bookbag.

If you want to come in on one of the later books of the series then I'd recommend Funeral Note. If you want to try something which was to Skinner's taste then he was reading Standing in Another Man's Grave by Ian Rankin in Hour of Darkness.

Quintin Jardine's Bob Skinner Novels in Chronological Order

Buy Hour of Darkness: A Bob Skinner Mystery by Quintin Jardine at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Hour of Darkness: A Bob Skinner Mystery by Quintin Jardine at Amazon.co.uk


Buy Hour of Darkness: A Bob Skinner Mystery by Quintin Jardine at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Hour of Darkness: A Bob Skinner Mystery by Quintin Jardine at Amazon.com.

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