Headline, 2001 (2000)
Reviewed by G. Hall
his is the tenth mystery / thriller centered on Edinburgh Deputy Chief Constable Bob Skinner and his detective force. One very nice feature of these books is their focus on both the professional and personal lives of Skinner and his extended police family. Over the series the lives, and especially the personal relationships, of these people have evolved in very interesting and often dramatic ways. A key role is played by Skinner's American wife Sarah who is a forensic pathologist and often gets involved in his cases.
hose who know Ian Rankin's
novels will find the
books serious and sometimes graphic, but not as dark as Rankin's. They are always enjoyable since the detectives typically face one or more unusual homicides often involving prominent people. For North American readers, the Edinburgh setting provides an added bonus. These novels are definitely written from a male perspective, especially with respect to relationships between men and women, but this is not annoying since it fits with their context.
presents two particularly gruesome murders, one involving a retired Special Branch detective named Alec Smith. The other murder victim, the Diddler, is a member of the
. This is a group of men, including Skinner, who play football every Thursday evening and then adjourn to the pub to socialize. Skinner's subordinate, CID chief Andy Martin, is the prime crime-solver in this book which also focuses on his varied romantic attachments.
he Skinner stories are always well-plotted and this one is no exception. The reader will be pleased with the detective work and satisfied with the solution. Although this entry can be enjoyed by someone who has not read the previous volumes, it's worth starting from the beginning to observe how the lives of the characters develop through the series.
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