Author – Quintin Jardine
Published – 1995
Genre – Crime fiction
The may be the longest I’ve taken to read a book (even longer than The Draining Lake), according to Goodreads I started this in January 2011! The delay isn’t all mine, or even the author’s but when I got halfway through I found that there was a section of pages repeated in place of the correct ones. This is number 4 of a series of (currently at 27 titles) so a replacement wasn’t easy to get hold of.
This isn’t the only reason though – I don’t understand golf, and the ’round’ in question isn’t one in a pub but one on a golf course. A body is discovered at the Witches’ Hill Golf and Country Club on the eve of a prestigious invitation golf match to mark its opening. The police investigation carries on through the duration of the match until it reaches its climax in the final round. But sadly all the references to golf and the description of the action as the different characters played a number of games were lost on me. Which contributed to the length of time it took me to read.
After the first body is discovered a letter to a local newspaper links the death to a local curse. This part of the investigation was much more interesting. A tape recording is discovered of a young girl talking about the curse to none other than Skinner’s late wife. His colleagues believe that the reference to the curse is critical to solving the case and that leads them to find out more about the origin of the curse in the 1600s.
This book very much fits in the mould that I’ve come to expect from the series with a mix of police procedural and family life. Skinner is an unusual character because although he has the dead wife common to many lead police protagonists he does have a very happy and stable family life. Writing the character to be more of a physical character would probably stretch the credibility of an East Lothian Assistant Chief Constable but he does possess a steely resolve and isn’t a man to be crossed.
I enjoyed the next instalment in the ‘Skinner’ books but sadly the golf aspect wasn’t for me.