Gallery Whispers (Bob Skinner Mysteries) by Quintin Jardine
|Gallery Whispers (Bob Skinner Mysteries) by Quintin Jardine|
|Reviewer: Sue Magee|
|Summary: The ninth book in the Bob Skinner series is a clever mix of international terrorism and the problems of assisted suicide. A great police procedural read.|
|Buy? Yes||Borrow? Yes|
|Pages: 448/11h34m||Date: August 1999|
|External links: Author's website|
Chief Constable Sir James Proud is recovering from a heart attack and it's down to his deputy, Bob Skinner, to step into his shoes. He's never aspired to the job and he's not at all keen now that he's actually doing it: it simply means more time behind a desk and in the awful uniform. Then the word comes down that one of the world's most ruthless terrorists is on his way to Scotland, presumably to target the upcoming conference of world heads of government. But how do you track down someone who seems almost like a chameleon?
At the other end of the murder scale - if such a distinction is possible - a terminally-ill woman is found dead. On the surface it's a suicide but there are signs that it was actually an assisted death, which under the law, is murder. The act hasn't anticipated nature by very much, but it has saved her quite a bit of suffering. The CID team are mixed in their feelings about how vigilantly they should pursue the case - but it's only the first, or rather, is it just the first they've spotted? What makes the situation worse is that the wife one of the sergeants in CID has terminal cancer.
The book's an elegant mix of the battle to tackle terrorism, which has been headline news for far too long, the problem of finding who is assisting the would-be suicides and the private life of the policemen and women. Normally the last of these would annoy me - but I'll confess to having been hooked by the Skinner saga. It's all done well and no element is thuggish to the others. I had worked out the solution to the terrorism threat although not who was assisting the would-be suicides but, even having spotted one culprit, the story was still a good one and the plotting kept me engaged to the end.
As ever, the sense of location and characterisation are excellent. We're now at the ninth book in the series and they're still remarkably fresh. I'm currently binge-reading the earlier books (having read the later ones first) and they can all be read as stand alones. They're remarkably free of spoilers and it's perfectly possible to read the books in any order you like (much as you can Ruth Rendell'sWexford novels, but you'll get more out of the personal stories if you read the books in order. Bob Skinner's private life can be just too confusing otherwise!
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. The voices are consistent from one book to another too. This is proving to be a great, indulgent read.
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You can read more book reviews or buy Gallery Whispers (Bob Skinner Mysteries) by Quintin Jardine at Amazon.com.
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