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It's August in Edinburgh, and one of the Author's has been found dead at the pre-launch night to the Edinburgh Book festival in Randall Mosley's first year as Organiser. Could things go any more wrong? Yes, because the seemingly accidental death of a middle aged diabetic man who had been drinking and not controlled his insulin is then found to have been murdered.
Ainsley Glover is one of Edinburgh's triumverate of crime writers, and the plot thickens when another of the triumverate also is murdered in Sydney, and both methods are lifted from their own novels. The killer could be anyone who had read one of their bestsellers.
Bob Skinner returns in this 19th novel in the crime series by Quintin Jardine. The Detective Chief Constable is about to be made Chief Constable or big boss, but he has this high profile crime to solve.
To complicate matters, a Traveller's group arrive and park up virtually in front of his house, so he is getting it in the neck at home too to sort things out. Before he can do much, one of the men are murdered and he was one of the last people to see him alive.
Somehow from this, we get links to Eastern Europe and terrorism, which to me as the reader was exciting and modern, which for a 19th novel could have been a bit stale and writing to a pre-determined success formula, but this felt as good to me as any other crime novel I have read. I just couldn't stop till I had read another chapter, and would find myself reading it till the early hours, only stopping as my eyes were sore and watery and I couldn't keep going.
I read this book straight after book 11 in the series, and felt that the author had some continuity issues. As I noticed in Book 11, Jardine does not seem to spend much time describing people and events in previous books, so when the first thing you find is not what you expect, it does make it hard at times to follow until you get engrossed in the new plot. Again, new characters that are being introduced do get the full treatment.
The biggest thing for me is that in Book 11, Skinner is a devoted husband and father, who would not do anything to upset that, so when we are introduced to him in a new relationship here with the 1st Minister of Scotland, Aileen de Marco, I felt strangely let down and like I hadn't really known the character well when I read book 11. As the plot went on, I felt less bothered by this, and it is obviously something I need to address by filling in the gaps.
It's funny that with some Authors my biggest annoyance is they write a series and then spend too long going over old plots and redescribing the characters, and it is only when you read a series out of synch like this that you realise that some recap is important otherwise it leads to confusion.
I enjoyed the 2 novels I read by Jardine so much that I went and got another 3 books from earlier in the series, so I would highly recommend them if you like crime novels. Each one has been so different and not formulaic that
this author has really grabbed my attention.
He also seems to have noticed he is being compared to other Scottish authors, so I had a little chuckle to myself at the police officers who were named after some of Scotlands finest crime authors.