Skinner's Mission by Quintin Jardine

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Skinner's Mission by Quintin Jardine

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Category: Crime
Rating: 3.5/5
Reviewer: Sue Magee
Reviewed by Sue Magee
Summary: The sixth book in the series is a reasonably good read. This time Skinner's personal life intrudes rather more than usual ( and a little too much) but if you're happy with that it's good stuff.
Buy? Yes Borrow? Yes
Pages: 416/11h50m Date: May 1997
Publisher: Headline
External links: Author's website
ISBN: 978-0755357758

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Deputy Chief Constable Bob Skinner wondered if a life of crime had finally caught up with someone he'd been after for as long as he could remember. A showroom of expensive cars was torched one night, but it turned into a murder scene when a body was found. It was so badly burned that it was impossible to determine before the post mortem whether it was male or female. It turned out not to be the man Skinner had been after, but his wife, and for once the CID team were in sympathy with Jackie Charles. It felt odd to Skinner to be on the same side as his old enemy in the search for the killer of Carole Charles.

Skinner's private life has taken a nose dive too. His obsession with Myra Skinner, his first wife who had died eighteen years before, had finally driven his marriage onto the rocks and his wife, Dr Sarah Grace and their baby son Jazz, moved into their Edinburgh home whilst Skinner stayed at Gullane. Recent problems had left Skinner lonely and vulnerable - and it was easy for the caring and understanding Pamela Masters, his PA, to touch his heart - and made easier as they were working together unravelling the intricacies of the Jackie Charles empire. It's a good story and well written.

I was less impressed by the continuing story of Skinner's personal life. I've never been impressed by the sex in the Skinner novels - it's clichéd and rather boring - but here it sinks to new depths as we dive into Myra's fantasies and infidelities. I could happily have skipped much of this and made do with the main story. Most of the Skinner books can happily be read as stand alones but they are better if read in order - some throwaway comments will make more sense - although the books are mercifully free of spoilers.

Because of a vision problem I've been restricting the amount of reading that I do and I've listened 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 giving them all individual voices - and that is no mean feat. As soon as I finish one, I buy the next download!

If this series appeals then you'll almost certainly also enjoy Ian Rankin's Inspector John Rebus novels, which are also set in Edinburgh.

Quintin Jardine's Bob Skinner Novels in Chronological Order

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