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Playing With Fire

New or Used: 2 copies from $6.95
New or Used: 2 copies from $6.95

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About the Author

Peter Robinson grew up in Yorkshire and now lives in Canada. His Inspector Banks series has won numerous awards in Britain, Europe, the United States and Canada. There are now fifteen novels published by Pan Macmillan in the series. Aftermath, the twelfth, was a Sunday Times bestseller.


In this novel, Alan and his former lover, Annie Cabbot, solve the mystery of two suspicious fires that destroyed neighboring canal boats and killed the squatters who lived on them: Tina Aspern, a teenage drug addict, and Thomas McMahon, an unappreciated landscape painter. Mark Siddons, Tina's cheating boyfriend, who was with another woman at the time, and Dr. Patrick Aspern, Tina's pedophile stepfather, are suspects. When Roland Gardner, a college friend of Thomas's mysteriously dies in another blaze, an illusive con man becomes the prime suspect. Ron Keith uses a British accent and varied tones and inflections to enhance the story. Highly recommended for public libraries.-Ilka Gordon, Medical Lib., Fairview General Hosp., Cleveland Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.

Edgar winner Robinson's 14th police procedural to feature Yorkshire DCI Alan Banks isn't quite up to the level of last year's superlative Close to Home, but it's nonetheless an engaging pleasure. Three victims have died in two suspicious fires: Tom McMahon, an eccentric, mostly unsuccessful local artist; Tina Aspern, a young heroin addict estranged from an abusive stepfather; and Roland Gardiner, another down-and-out chap but one who just happens to have a fireproof safe containing a substantial amount of cash and what appears to be a Turner watercolor. To solve the crimes, Banks and his team-DI Annie Cabbot and the refreshingly direct DC Winsome Jackman-pursue good old-fashioned police work, interviewing witnesses, neighbors, relatives and lovers and sifting through the evidence gathered by their specialist colleagues. They also make ample use of contemporary forensic technology. In keeping with the moody and introspective Alan Banks, the narrative style is tempered and deliberate, perhaps too much so for those who prefer, say, the riveting urgency of a Michael Connelly thriller. Characterization is Robinson's real strength. Virtually every character is etched with care, precision and emotional insight. With each book, the quietly competent Alan Banks gets more and more human; like red wine, he gets better and more interesting with age. (Jan. 20) Forecast: A nine-city author tour and a rave from Stephen King, who rarely blurbs these days, can only help solidify the Toronto-based Robinson's niche in the U.S. market. Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.

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