Playing With Fire by Peter Robinson

I wrote about the opening of Playing With Fire in my Tuesday post.  I’ve watched the TV version of DCI Banks, (although I don’t remember this seeing this particular one) but there are changes in the televised versions and to my mind the books are better – but then I always think that.

Synopsis (from the back cover)

In the early hours of a cold January morning, two narrow boats catch fire on the dead-end stretch of the Eastvale canal. When signs of accelerant are found at the scene, DCI Banks and DI Annie Cabbot are summoned. But by the time they arrive, only the smouldering wreckage is left, and human remains have been found on both boats.

The evidence points towards a deliberate attack. But who was the intended victim? Was it Tina, the sixteen-year-old who had been living a drug-fuelled existence with her boyfriend? Or was it Tom, the mysterious, lonely artist?

As Banks makes his enquiries, it appears that a number of people are acting suspiciously: the interfering ‘lock-keeper’, Tina’s cold-hearted step-father, the wily local art dealer, even Tina’s boyfriend . . . Then the arsonist strikes again, and Banks’s powers of investigation are tested to the limit . .

My thoughts

I’ve been reading Peter Robinson’s DCI Banks books totally out of order and as I began this one I thought that I’d read the next book in the series a few years ago. One of the benefits of writing a book blog is that I can look back and see what I thought about a book just after I’d read it, instead of having to rack my brain trying to remember. On checking back (nearly five years ago!) I found that I had indeed read the next book – Strange Affair and had thoroughly enjoyed it.

I liked Playing With Fire too, although maybe not quite as much as Strange Affair. It’s a complicated plot and at times I had to remind myself who the various characters were. I did get a bit fed up with reading about what music Banks is playing but I liked the way his relationship with Annie Cabbot is portrayed and the insights into how his mind works.

I thought I’d spotted who the killer was quite early on and was pleased to see at the end that I was right, although I thought Banks should also have spotted it earlier!