Playing With Fire by Peter Robinson

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Playing With Fire by Peter Robinson

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Category: Crime
Rating: 4/5
Reviewer: Sue Magee
Reviewed by Sue Magee
Summary: The fourteenth book in the Inspector Banks series is still fresh nd a good read. You'll know a lot more about fire when you've read it! Recommended.
Buy? Yes Borrow? Yes
Pages: 464 Date: November 2004
Publisher: Pan
ISBN: 978-0330491617

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There's a dead-end stretch on the Eastvale canal and in the early hours of the morning two narrow boats caught fire. There were squatters living on both boats and when signs of an accelerant were found it was obvious that the fire had been started deliberately. In one boat an artist was found dead and on the other a teenage girl who was a heroin addict. Who was the intended victim and why? As Chief Inspector Banks begins his enquiries quite a few people act suspiciously and it gets very messy when the arsonist strikes again.

When an author gets to the fourteenth book in a series it's quite a tribute when you say that the series still feels fresh and that you're still enjoying reading them. Banks is becoming a darker character and certainly not someone you'd want to be on the wrong side of. He's coming closer to his old adversary from the Met – Dirty Dick Burgess – and is less prone to rising to Burgess's taunts. The men are better characters than the females – but in the context of a good story that's a minor nit to pick.

What is impressive is Robinson's knowledge about fire and how it's woven into the story. There's all the technical detail that you could want, but never too much. I know a great deal more about how fire can spread – and I'm even more terrified of it than I used to be. Fire is a recurring theme throughout the book and it's cleverly handled. I really didn't see the ending coming until it has just about been spelled out to us and it was very well done. There was also a particularly satisfying comeuppance for someone else!

So far I've always found that the Inspector Banks books all read well as stand -alone novels and it doesn't matter too much if you read them out of order, but do make certain that you read this book before the next in the series as you'll find a plot spoiler in there, which would take away quite a bit of the pleasure of this book.

If this book appeals then you might also enjoy The Lizard's Bite by David Hewson.

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Buy Playing With Fire by Peter Robinson at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Playing With Fire by Peter Robinson at

Peter Robinson's Chief Inspector Alan Banks Novels in Chronological Order


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