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Playing With Fire ***SIGNED***

Peter Robinson

4,322 ratings by Goodreads
ISBN 10: 0333989325 / ISBN 13: 9780333989326
Published by Macmillan Company, London, 2004
Condition: Fine Hardcover
From William Ross, Jr. (Annapolis, MD, U.S.A.)

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About this Item

First British Edition, First Printing with full number line. Signed, without inscription, by author on the FULL title page. Unread Fine book in Fine dust jacket. NO remainder mark, NO previous owner markings or inscriptions, NOT price clipped, NOT a Book Club Edition, NOT an Ex-Lib. Dust jacket covered in Mylar wrapper. All our books are bubble wrapped and shipped in a sturdy box. Check our inventory for additional Peter Robinson signed titles. Bookseller Inventory # 002131

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Bibliographic Details

Title: Playing With Fire ***SIGNED***

Publisher: Macmillan Company, London

Publication Date: 2004

Binding: Hard Cover

Book Condition:Fine

Dust Jacket Condition: Fine

Signed: Signed by Author on Full Title Page

Edition: 1st British Edition, 1st Printing.

About this title


'At the centre of it all, by the pooling that marked the seat of the blaze, lay a blackened body ...It had been hard to spot at first among the charred furniture and fixtures, but once you managed to separate it out from its context, you couldn't miss it, and Banks knew he wouldn't forget it.' 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' powers of investigation are tested to the limit ...


One of the principle pleasures to be found in reading any of Peter Robinson's more recent British suspense novels is to see how dexterously this author uses seemingly small, confined crimes to wedge open much larger troves of hidden or historical chicanery. In Playing with Fire, the plot catalyst is a blaze that consumes two rotting barges moored in a Yorkshire canal, killing their squatter inhabitants--Tina Aspern, a pretty, teenage heroin abuser, and Thomas McMahon, a once-promising but "derivative" landscape painter who'd fallen on hard times. Accident or arson? The best suspects, in either event, may be Tina’s cheating boyfriend, Mark Siddons, and a rumored peeping tom who'd taken his time--and more--reporting the conflagration. However, as Detective Chief Inspector Alan Banks and his colleague and ex-lover, Annie Cabbot (both last seen in Close to Home), gather together the disparate threads of this case, new questions arise, suggesting that the inferno was intended to cover up still worse misdeeds. Why, for instance, had McMahon been buying old books and prints from an Eastvale antiquarian dealer? Is it true, as an angry Siddons alleges, that Tina had turned to drugs in order to blot out the pain of her stepfather's carnal advances? And what tie, if any, is there between these boat burnings and the subsequent torching of a trailer home occupied by a "quiet bloke," who perished while in possession of an unknown and potentially valuable J.M.W. Turner watercolor?

As attentive as Robinson is to plot progression, spicing up his narrative with arcane knowledge about fire accelerants and competition in the painting biz ("The art world's brutal," Banks is warned early on in this story), he doesn't forget that a substantial part of the attraction of this series derives from its two evolving main characters. The contemplative, jazz-loving Banks, worried by the superficiality of his latest relationship, with a "wounded" fellow cop, finds himself increasingly jealous here of Annie's suave new boyfriend, an art researcher whose past may be short a few brushstrokes. At the same time, Annie is drawn hesitantly closer again to Banks by tragic circumstances. Although Robinson's subplot about Tina's sexual violation concludes in a rather B-movieish way, Playing with Fire is redeemed by its scorching climax and suggestively ragged denouement. Peter Robinson, together with Ian Rankin, Reginald Hill, and others, is reinvigorating the British police procedural. --J. Kingston Pierce

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