Bob Skinner is the main character of a crime novel series written by Quintin Jardine, a Scottish author also known for his other series revolving around Oz Blackstone, and Primavera Blackstone.
If you are into Ian Rankin and Peter May‘s books, the stories of Deputy Chief Constable Bob Skinner are for you. He’s working at Edinburgh’s CID (at the beginning of the series). As such, he investigates–with the help of his team–crimes, mostly grizzly murders.
How to read the Bob Skinner Series in Order?
Every novel in the Bob Skinner book series works as a standalone story, but the lives of the different characters evolve from one story to the other.
- Skinner’s Rules – As head of Edinburgh’s CID, Detective Chief Superintendent Bob Skinner has seen it all… but even he is shocked by the savagely mutilated corpse discovered in a dark alleyway. The victim is identified as a successful young lawyer, and the motive for the brutal death remains a mystery. Then further seemingly random killings in the city begin to suggest a vicious serial killer is on the rampage. But when the lawyer’s fiancee is also murdered, Skinner realizes that someone is in deadly earnest…
- Skinner’s Festival – An explosion rocks Princes Street in the midst of the Edinburgh Festival. Responsibility is claimed by a group supposedly demanding political separation from Britain, but as atrocities escalate Skinner realizes this is no gang of fanatics, but a highly professional team. The Fighters for an Independent Scotland want the English out of Scotland too and they’re ready to back up their demands with bombings, murders, and blackmail threats aimed at wreaking havoc at the Edinburgh Festival of the Arts.
- Skinner’s Trail – A murder in an affluent Edinburgh suburb leaves Assistant Chief Constable Bob Skinner baffled. Then a case of property fraud takes Skinner in a new direction. Moving from Scotland to Spain to a climax in Edinburgh, this thriller follows a trail involving vice, corruption, and the merchants of death.
- Skinner’s Round – A four-day tournament involving the world’s leading golfers is being staged to mark the opening of a new country club created on the Marquis of Kinture’s East Lothian estate. But on the previous Sunday afternoon, one of Kinture’s business partners is found dead in his private jacuzzi in the clubhouse – with his throat cut. The next day an anonymous letter is received by the local newspaper, containing a fragment of a legendary witches’ curse upon anyone who desecrates their place of worship. When a second murder occurs, this time by water, ACC Bob Skinner finds himself facing the most challenging case of his career…
- Skinner’s Ordeal – A mid-air explosion; a plane plunges to disaster from the Scottish skies, the British and American Defence Secretaries among the victims. Out of the blue, Edinburgh’s Deputy Chief Constable finds himself leading the biggest investigation of his career. The means of destruction is apparent from the start, but the investigation quickly grows more puzzling – for once they have an embarrassment of suspects with motive and opportunity. Then sudden random violence wrenches Skinner himself out of the picture.
- Skinner’s Mission – When an Edinburgh car showroom is torched, leaving a charred body among the burnt-out luxury cars, Deputy Chief Constable Bob Skinner wonders if a life of crime has finally caught up with one of the city’s most elusive villains. But the corpse turns out not to be that of Jackie Charles, the owner of the showroom, but his wife Carole. Skinner now finds himself on the same side as his old enemy in the search for the killer…
- Skinner’s Ghosts – Deputy Chief Constable Bob Skinner could be forgiven for thinking not only that someone up there doesn’t like him, but that someone down here is out to get him. Suffering the strain of a marriage on the rocks, the last thing he needs is for his private life to be plastered across the front pages of a sleazy tabloid. To make matters worse, two brutal murders and new allegations about Skinner himself make simultaneous headlines.
- Murmuring the Judges – In Edinburgh’s old Parliament House, an armed robbery trial is about to take a macabre turn. While the lawyers tussle over the evidence, the judge suddenly collapses in agony – the victim of an apparent heart attack. For Deputy Chief Constable Bob Skinner, with his life finally back on track after the near-collapse of his marriage, this is the last thing he needs. But as the wave of brutal robberies continues, it emerges that Lord Archergait’s death may have been murder – and he’s not the only judge whose life is in danger.
- Gallery Whispers – One of the world’s most ruthless terrorists is on his way to Edinburgh with only one thing on his mind: the forthcoming conference of world Heads of Government. If DCC Skinner doesn’t pick up his trail fast, he could have a global disaster in his backyard. While all eyes are focused on the terrorist threat, a terminally ill woman is found dead – an apparent suicide. But the marks of an assisted death are discovered and this seemingly random death soon proves to be the beginning of an ominous pattern.
- Thursday Legends – For Deputy Chief Constable Bob Skinner, the Thursday night football game at the local gym has long been an unbroken ritual. Until the savagely mutilated body of a former player is found, and suddenly the Thursday Legends have more to worry about than aching backs and dodgy knees. Former Head of Special Branch Alec Smith made plenty of enemies during his long career – and there is no shortage of suspects.
- Autographs in the Rain – As Bob Skinner takes an evening stroll with a gorgeous filmstar on his arm, surely the worst of his worries is that back at headquarters, an ambitious new colleague is scheming to enlarge his territory at Skinner’s expense. But when a frightening shot-gun attack sends Skinner and his old flame Louise Bankier diving for cover, it seems danger has zeroed in on him once again.
- Head Shot – Deputy Chief Constable Bob Skinner has witnessed the aftermath of murder countless times. Yet nothing could have prepared him for identifying the strangled bodies of his wife’s beloved parents, killed at their lakeside cabin in New York State. Driven by cold rage, Skinner quickly muscles in on the investigation and soon finds links with three other cases, where the killing is too professional to be the result of a burglary gone wrong…
- Fallen Gods – When a body is found after a flood, the secrets of a tempestuous life surface with it. Deputy Chief Constable Bob Skinner has kept the existence of his hated brother Michael hidden for years. As he relives their past conflict, other demons threaten his future. For not only are his professional enemies circling, but Sarah, his wife, seems set on a course for calamity. Meanwhile, in an Edinburgh art gallery, his team confronts a shocking and very public case of arson.
- Stay of Execution – Some people are looking for a big-time hit. The body of a respectable businessman is found hanging from a tree; a veteran from a Belgian marching band is killed in a hit-and-run incident and another dies of an apparent heart attack. Excitement on the streets of Edinburgh is feverish as the city prepares for a huge rally to celebrate the return of Pope John the 25th to his hometown. The security has to be bulletproof. But there is a chink in the armor. Does Deputy Chief Constable Bob Skinner have the inner strength to find the answer to the biggest question of all?
- Lethal Intent – Gangsters have infiltrated Edinburgh. MI5 are on their case and, unknown to Deputy Chief Constable Bob Skinner, have set up a drug-dealing sting to flush them out. The resulting mayhem throws everyone into confusion until they realize the gangsters are preparing a hit on one of the Royal family.
- Dead and Buried – Deputy Chief Constable Bob Skinner has a failed marriage on his hands and a death on his conscience. He faces the biggest challenge of his career within the secret corridors of Westminster, where dark power is wielded. Meanwhile, back in Edinburgh, Skinner’s daughter is being harassed by a stalker. Can he protect her?
- Death’s Door – When two young female artists are murdered in what looks like ritualistic killings, the pressure is on to find a highly professional murderer. What is the link with the art world? Is the killer a disgruntled art critic? A twice-jilted lover? The arrival of the father of one of the victims, millionaire businessman Davor Boras, brings in the big guns of the Home Office, MI5 and the CIA. It’s not long before Deputy Chief Constable Bob Skinner gets called back to the frontline.
- Aftershock – Still reeling from the tragic death of a much-loved colleague, Detective Chief Constable Bob Skinner and his men soon discover that a disturbed serial killer is still at large and very close to home. The body of a young woman has been found on a golf course. It has been there for 10 days, and it is the middle of a steamy summer holiday; she’s not a pretty sight. But the way she has been laid out is uncannily familiar.
- Fatal Last Words – August in Edinburgh: as Skinner stands on the edge of a career-defining moment and his fiancée-Scotland’s First Minister Aileen de Marco-faces a political crisis, one of Scotland’s most successful crime writers is found dead at the Edinburgh International Book Festival. As the mystery deepens, Skinner finds himself crossing swords with an old enemy from the past, while his investigating detectives are faced with the unwelcome complication of a duke’s junkie daughter.
- A Rush of Blood – The horrific suicide of a successful Lithuanian entrepreneur rouses suspicion amongst the newly appointed Chief Constable Bob Skinner and his colleagues. They’ve crossed swords with the businessman before; why would a man with everything to live for taking his own life? As inquiries begin, a mystery girl, drugged and incoherent, is dumped in a health center by a mysterious Galahad, who promptly disappears.
- Grievous Angel – Skinner revisits his nightmares: old but not forgotten. Fifteen years in the past, newly promoted Detective Superintendent Bob Skinner is called to investigate a most brutal death. A man lies at the deep end of an empty swimming pool, his neck broken and almost every other bone in his body shattered. Soon, an organized crime connection looms, and bloody retribution spreads to a second city.
- Funeral Note – After a tip-off, a man’s body is exhumed from a shallow grave in Edinburgh. Murder surely, yet he died from natural causes, so, case closed? Indeed was there ever a case? But Chief Constable Skinner and his people keep on digging. Who was the man, why was he buried so reverentially, and by whom? Meanwhile, corruption is discovered within the force, and an investigation is launched.
- Pray for the Dying – The killing was an expert hit. Three shots through the head, as the lights dimmed at a celebrity concert in Glasgow. A most public crime, and Edinburgh Chief Constable Bob Skinner is right in the center of the storm. The shooters were killed at the scene, but who sent them? The crisis finds Skinner taking a step that he had sworn he never would.
- Hour of Darkness – The body of a murdered woman is found washed up on Cramond Island near the mouth of the River Forth. Days later detectives are called to a flat in Edinburgh; the kitchen is covered in blood, and the occupier is missing. When the name of the woman from Cramond Island is revealed, it stirs unwelcome memories for those who knew her, Chief Constable Bob Skinner most of all.
- Last Resort – A trip to Catalunya to contemplate his future soon takes on a different flavor when Skinner is asked by a friend, Xavier Aislado, to track down one of his business’s brightest talents, who vanished without a trace. But it soon becomes clear that another manhunt is in progress, and that Skinner himself is the target. While his daughter Alex fights that battle at home, Skinner’s own search takes one sinister turn after another, until he is faced with the toughest question of all: Is natural justice sometimes the only answer?
- Private Investigations – Former Chief Constable Bob Skinner has uncovered his fair share of shocking crime scenes over his thirty-year career. But none could prepare him for the sight he finds stowed in the back of a stolen car that collides with his on the outskirts of Edinburgh. As his former colleagues investigate, Skinner takes on an unusual commission of his own.
- Game Over – When supermodel Annette Bordeaux is found battered and strangled in her Edinburgh flat, former Chief Constable Bob Skinner’s old team instantly has a global case on their hands. The victim’s husband, world-renowned footballer and recent Merrytown FC signing, is quickly discounted as a suspect. But there are others in the club with less watertight alibis…
- State Secrets – Former Chief Constable Bob Skinner is long out of the police force but trouble has a habit of following him around. So it is that he finds himself in the Palace of Westminster as a shocking act befalls the nation. Hours before the Prime Minister is due to make a controversial statement, she is discovered in her office with a letter opener driven through her skull. Is the act political? Personal? Or even one of terror?
- A Brush With Death – When millionaire Leo Speight is found poisoned at his Ayrshire mansion, Police Scotland has a tough case on its hands. Speight was a champion boxer with national hero status, and a long list of lovers and friends stand to benefit from his estate. Did one of them decide to speed things up? Or was jealousy or rivalry the motive?
- Cold Case – When a murder investigation that’s been closed for thirty years is suddenly re-opened, former Chief Constable Bob Skinner is quickly drawn into the action. The story of the Body in the Quarry was well-known around Edinburgh all those years ago: a popular priest found dead in a frozen quarry; a suspect with a clear motive charged; a guilty verdict. But with a journalist uncovering new evidence, the cold case has come back to haunt Skinner’s old mentor Jimmy Proud – and only one man can help him.
- The Bad Fire – Nine years ago, divorcee Marcia Brown took her own life. A pillar of the community, she had been accused of theft, and it’s assumed that she was unable to live with the shame. Now her former husband wants the case reopened. Marcia was framed, he says, to prevent her from exposing a scandal. He wants justice for Marcia. And Alex Skinner, Solicitor Advocate, and daughter of retired Chief Constable Sir Robert Skinner, has taken on the brief, aided by her investigator Carrie McDaniels. When tragedy strikes and his daughter comes under threat, Skinner steps in.
- The Roots of Evil – New Year’s Day and Edinburgh lie sleeping. But two men will never wake again… When struggling ex-copper Terry Coats was discovered in bed with an air hostess, his excuse that he was ‘going undercover’ cut no ice with the force – or his wife. But now he’s been brutally killed on Hogmanay night, it seems there may have been more to his plea. Dragged from the New Year celebrations, Special Constable Sir Bob Skinner is shocked to find Coats’ body alongside that of Griff Montell: his erstwhile protégé and former lover of Skinner’s own daughter, Alex.
- Deadlock – Sir Robert Skinner’s stock is rising – after retiring from the police service he’s been promoted to head an international media organization. Yet a series of unexplained deaths on his home turf in Scotland threatens to bring him crashing back down to earth. As Skinner helps the elderly in his local community, several residents seem to die of natural causes. But when a gruesome discovery is made in a Glasgow flat and one of Skinner’s long-time friends – an aspiring politician – emerges as the prime suspect, things become very murky indeed.
- Open Season – Amidst a family celebration, a cataclysmic storm uncovers long-buried horrors – and a team of detectives struggles to solve a thirty-year-old double murder. The police are also searching two countries for traces of a mysterious crime novelist who appears to have vanished. Has the faking of his own death been his masterpiece? Alongside each inquiry, as it evolves is former Chief Constable Sir Robert Skinner, relishing his new role as a media magnate, but drawn into reluctant action and towards a chilling discovery of his own.
- The Cage – On a sunny seaside August morning, a woman on maternity leave spots a body wedged in rocks on a Scottish beach. Gavin Ayre’s riding gear sparks the assumption that he had been thrown by a panicked horse . . . until an autopsy reveals this was no accident. Soon it becomes clear that Ayre’s life was as big a mystery as his death. Detective Superintendent Harold ‘Sauce’ Haddock heads an investigation that is running into the sand, until a link is revealed between the victim and another man in Spain, with a surprisingly similar name. Faced with the twin puzzle Sauce turns to his mentor, Bob Skinner, moved on from the police service to head an international media group. Soon the two friends are at the heart of a multi-layered conspiracy, as they search for the answer to the prime question . . . who killed Gavin Ayre?
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