Jardine (Skinner’s Round, 1996, etc.) obviously thinks his creation DCC Robert Skinner is the next best thing to Sir Robert Peel—or still better, since Skinner is Scottish. In fact, everyone loves Bob Skinner: his wife, his children, his boss, his men, even Louise Bankier, the beautiful movie star he dumped 25 years ago, now back in her native Scotland for a film. As it happens, however, membership in the Bob Skinner and Louise Bankier Fan Club is not universal. ACC Ted Chase has just filed a report with their mutual boss suggesting that Chase would be best qualified to undertake some of Skinner’s responsibilities in the force. And someone shoots at Louise while she’s on Skinner’s arm—a fatal error in a stalker’s murderous scheme. Skinner’s determination to protect Louise doesn’t prevent him from moving as well to protect his secretary, Ruth McConnell, from being charged with the gruesome murder of her elderly uncle, John McConnell, found dead, scalded, and drugged in his bathtub. Using a strategic mix of brute intimidation and male bonding, Skinner encourages the detective investigating McConnell’s death to look elsewhere for the mysterious dark-haired woman seen visiting the old man the day he died. Punctuating these perils is the more bucolic investigation of a trout-wrangling operation that soon begins to smell as bad as the stolen merchandise.
The highly partisan Jardine excels at coordinating the multiple crimes crucial to a police procedural and setting his coppers against the clock. As long as the increasingly avuncular Skinner is presiding, true love—and the Scot—will triumph over depravity.