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Autographs in the Rain    by Quintin Jardine order for
Autographs in the Rain
by Quintin Jardine
Order:  USA  Can
Headline, 2002 (2001)
Hardcover, Paperback, Audio, CD
* * *   Reviewed by Hilary Williamson

This is the 11th in the series about Edinburgh DCC Bob Skinner. Now a senior member of the Scottish police force, he still likes to dabble in detection. He's involved in two cases in particular in this episode, which opens as a shot is fired at Skinner and a companion on a London street. Bob has just dined with old flame Louise Bankier (now a famous film star) and assumes that he was the target.

But he has to revisit that assumption after Louise is attacked on location in Scotland. Skinner assigns his assistant, widower Neil McIlhenney to be her 'minder' as the violence escalates. Skinner is also enraged when DI Bandit Mackenzie treats his secretary Ruth McConnell as a serious suspect in the murder of her old uncle. However, he recognizes some of himself in Bandit, and after cutting the younger detective down to size, begins to advise him as a mentor.

Other sub-plots include the political machinations of the ambitious new ACC Ted Chase, and the investigation into, would you believe, 'trout rustling', in which the immediate question is 'How do you nick a shoal of bloody fish?' The fish rustlers strike again and again. All three puzzles end up involving murder, and all three have unusual resolutions. On the political side, Skinner has a strong power base and he knows how to use it to foil the over-ambitious Chase.

Autographs in the Rain is a highly satisfying read - a thorough police procedural on several fronts, with enough organizational shenanigans for those who enjoy them, various developing romances, and it also fills in more of Skinner's background for fans of this long-running series - one of the best entries yet.

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