Private Investigations (Bob Skinner) by Quintin Jardine

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Private Investigations (Bob Skinner) by Quintin Jardine

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Category: Crime
Rating: 4.5/5
Reviewer: Sue Magee
Reviewed by Sue Magee
Summary: The 26th book in the series and there's not even the slightest sign of tiredness: an excellent read.
Buy? Yes Borrow? Yes
Pages: 448/13h59 Date: May 2016
Publisher: Headline
External links: Author's website
ISBN: 978-1472205667

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When Bob Skinner's wife has a yearning for a particular cake from Marks and Spencer he thinks nothing of taking a detour on his way to work, snatching the last one available and heading back to the car. It's then that the fates start being naughty. Reversing out of his parking space he's hit by a speeding BMW - only the driver doesn't get out to exchange insurance details and offer apologies. He gets out of the car and legs it. Checking his own car for damage Skinner notices that the boot of the beemer is slightly open - something which presumably happened on impact - and his attempts to close it mean that it opens instead and the body of a small child is revealed.

There's little creates a feeling of horror in the heart of a policemen more than the death of a child, but Bob Skinner isn't a policeman any more. It's only a matter of months since he was the man in the top job and there's a tendency for the detectives called to the scene to refer to him as 'the boss'. They think of him that way too. Bob Skinner was a hard act to follow and the new head of the unified Scottish police force, Sir Andrew Martin is in a difficult position. Does he accept Skinner's help or do his best to marginalise him? Martin's former relationship with Skinner's eldest daughter doesn't help matters either - but the problems are all on Martin's plate rather than Skinner's.

Looking for a missing yacht isn't something which Skinner would have seen as a natural home for his investigative talents, but the force of which he had been the head made something of a mess of the investigation on his watch and he feels a sense of responsibility and besides, the owner - Eden Higgins - is an acquaintance if not a friend.

With a long-running series such as this it's easy to feel that there would be no point in coming in this late in the game, but Skinner's history is recapped in sufficient detail that the book can be read as a standalone. You'll get more out of it with a few of the earlier books under your belt, but don't turn it down if you're a Skinner virgin. It's a compelling story, with Quintin Jardine's customary knack of getting the reader to devour 'just one more chapter': I finished the book in a couple of days, despite having other things which should have occupied my time.

Rather than reading the book I listened to an audio download (which I bought myself) narrated by James Bryce. It was impressively done: Bryce has a good range of voices and I never had any difficulty in distinguishing one from the other or working out who was centre stage. Given that the cast is heavy on middle-aged white Scots this is no mean feat and I'd be delighted to listen to more of his work.

If you're looking for more Edinburgh-based crime we can recommend anything by Ian Rankin, or for something a little different, try When Will There Be Good News? by Kate Atkinson.

Quintin Jardine's Bob Skinner Novels in Chronological Order

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Buy Private Investigations (Bob Skinner) by Quintin Jardine at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Private Investigations (Bob Skinner) by Quintin Jardine at Amazon currently charges £2.99 for standard delivery for orders under £20, over which delivery is free.
Buy Private Investigations (Bob Skinner) by Quintin Jardine at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Private Investigations (Bob Skinner) by Quintin Jardine at


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