Skinner’s Rules

by Quintin Jardine

There are detectives — and there are detectives.

The classic detectives of noir novels tend to be of the grumpy, rumpled, depressive, introspective and alcoholic persuasion.

And then there are the superstar detectives who are suave, tall, handsome and fearless.

Like Detective Chief Superintendent (DCS) Bob Skinner, 43, “Britain’s toughest detective,” tough enough to fight crime full-time in Edinburgh and gentle enough to raise a daughter, single-handedly, outside the city.

This story ignites with the discovery of the decapitated head of a rising young advocate, Michael Mortimer. Skinner arrives on scene wearing “a long leather coat, black and Satanic, over a grey suit.”

Mortimer’s body is soon joined in the morgue by others who appear to have been killed by the same person: three seemingly random victims and Mortimer’s fiancé, Rachel Jameson, also an advocate. She had just won a case and was either pushed or threw herself in front of a train supposedly out of grief for Mortimer. Skinner’s money is on murder rather than suicide.

Skinner’s investigation takes one twisted turn after another. But every time the clue leads him to the perfect suspect, his policeman’s instinct tells him the real killer is still in the wind. The cases quickly escalate from a serial killer to an increasingly complicated case involving international politics.

Set in 1993, this is the first book in the Bob Skinner series. While it’s hard to imagine how author Quintin Jardin could top saving the world from World War III as suggested in Skinner’s Rules, he has added 30 novels to this series as of 2019.

If your tastes run to thrillers and a race to save the world from imminent destruction, you’ll like Skinner’s Rules.  It’s entertaining and suspenseful and manages to hold on to credibility as the story gets bigger and wilder with every chapter.

You won’t find any introspection on Skinner’s part, nor any meditations on the human condition or social policy. But sometimes escapist entertainment is all that’s required.

About the Author: Quintin Jardine (1945 – )

Quintin Jardine has written three crime novel series featuring Bob Skinner, private detective Oz Blackstone and his wife Primavera Blackstone.

He began writing after his late wife challenged him, according to a 2002 interview in The Scotsman. They were vacationing in Spain when he finished the book he’d been reading, tossed it across the terrace and proclaimed he could write a better one himself. His wife replied, “It’s about time you did.”
He promptly bought some pens and pads of paper and began. The result was Skinner’s Rules, which took about two months to produce and three years to get published.
Although he studied law, he never practiced. Instead he worked as a journalist, government information officer and media relations consultant. He served as a Conservative Party media officer from 1980 to 1985.
He now divides his time between Scotland and Spain.


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