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Playing with Fire (The Inspector Banks series) Paperback – 5 Nov 2004

4.6 out of 5 stars 199 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 464 pages
  • Publisher: Pan; New Ed edition (5 Nov. 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 033049161X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0330491617
  • Product Dimensions: 11.1 x 3.1 x 17.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (199 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 303,990 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Amazon Review

Playing with Fire is a typical Peter Robinson book. And if that sounds like damning with faint praise, it's anything but. Since Gallows View in 1987, Robinson has been turning out one of the most assured and entertaining series of crime novels in the genre, with his doughty Inspector Alan Banks one of the most solidly drawn of protagonists.

But perhaps the real reason behind the considerable success of the books is that unerring combination of brilliantly turned plots and wonderfully evoked locales: the Yorkshire Dales have proved a very fertile stamping ground for Robinson's irresistible brand of restrained mayhem.

Banks is handed his most piquant problem in Playing with Fire, and the rural backdrop is once again a key player in the action. On a chill winter's morning, a fire is found to have consumed two narrow boats on the Eastvale canal. Banks and his associate DI Annie Cabbot find themselves examining some grisly remnants: charred bodies found on the remains of the two boats. But who are the victims of what appears to be a calculated act of murder? An enigmatic artist with few friends? A young couple who spent most of their time stoned on illegal substances? Banks and Cabbot quickly find themselves with a host of possible perpetrators on their hands, from the father of the young girl who died in the attack to a duplicitous art dealer. But the heat is turned on for Banks--literally--when the murderous arsonist gets to work again.

As in the seminal In a Dry Season, Robinson doesn't shirk from tackling some pretty convoluted plotting, but any confusion the reader is plunged into is very satisfyingly resolved, and Robinson's already strong reputation will grow with this book. --Barry Forshaw --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Review

"Kept us up past our bedtime." -- Boston Globe

"Smooth as single malt." -- Washington Post

"Robinson is on a winning streak." -- Tampa Tribune

"A taut pleasure." -- Daily News

"Crime fiction at its best." -- Fort Lauderdale Sun-Sentinel

"An engaging pleasure.like red wine, [Banks] gets better and more interesting with age." -- Publishers Weekly

"A skillful writer." -- Houston Chronicle

"A happy discovery." -- Lady Antonia Fraser in the London Sunday Times

"Complex and intelligent." -- London Sunday Times

"Exquisitely complex and atmospheric." -- Los Angeles Times Book Review

"Taut, carefully thought out.with plots that are refreshingly clich-free." -- Time Out London

Peter Robinson is:"A gifted creator of fully fleshed and vividly present characters." -- Boston Globe

"Splendid." -- San Diego Union-Tribune

"Cunning.authentic and atmospheric." -- The Independent (London)

"Absorbing.Robinson continues to stretch the boundaries of the standard procedural." -- Orlando Sentinel

"Different and intriguing." -- Sunday Telegraph

"Complex and intelligent."--London Sunday Times

"Robinson actually seems to grow in front of our eyes, delivering books of greater complexity each time."--Otto Penzler

"Taut, carefully thought out...with plots that are refreshingly clich?-free."--Time Out London

"Different and intriguing."--Sunday Telegraph

"Absorbing...Robinson continues to stretch the boundaries of the standard procedural."--Orlando Sentinel

Peter Robinson is: "A gifted creator of fully fleshed and vividly present characters."--Boston Globe

"Exquisitely complex and atmospheric."--Los Angeles Times Book Review

"Cunning...authentic and atmospheric."--The Independent (London)

"[PLAYING WITH FIRE] has a loud ring of truth and a good deal of suspense."--Chicago Tribune

"Crime fiction at its best."--Fort Lauderdale Sun-Sentinel

"Smooth as single malt."--Washington Post

"Robinson has won just about every mystery award there is....His latest shows why."--Booklist (starred review)

"A taut pleasure."--Daily News

"Robinson is on a winning streak."--Tampa Tribune

"So vivid that even those who aren't usually fans of procedural thrillers will fill their fingers burning."--People (Critic's Choice)

"An engaging pleasure...like red wine, [Banks] gets better and more interesting with age."--Publishers Weekly

The novels of Peter Robinson are: "Deeply nuanced works of art."--Dennis Lehane

"A skillful writer..."--Houston Chronicle

"A happy discovery."--Lady Antonia Fraser in the London Sunday Times

"A tale that's both satisfyingly traditional in one regard, and thoroughly up-to-date in its setting and psychological insight."--Orlando Sentinel

"Stunningly complex and intricately plotted....Peter Robinson fools and entertains me with every twist."--Nevada Barr

"[Robinson's] talents...account for both the quickness of mind that makes Banks such a keen protagonist."--New York Times Book Review

"Splendid."--San Diego Union-Tribune

"The equal of legends in the genre such as P.D. James and Ruth Rendell."--St. Louis Post-Dispatch

"Kept us up past our bedtime."--Boston Globe

"Robinson is not just a master storyteller, he's a literary magician."--Montreal Gazette

"The Alan Banks mystery-suspense novels are, simply put, the best series now on the market."--Stephen King

So vivid that even those who aren t usually fans of procedural thrillers will fill their fingers burning. --People (Critic's Choice)"

[Robinson s] talents...account for both the quickness of mind that makes Banks such a keen protagonist. --New York Times Book Review"

Kept us up past our bedtime. --Boston Globe"

Robinson is not just a master storyteller, he s a literary magician. --Montreal Gazette"

Crime fiction at its best. --Fort Lauderdale Sun-Sentinel"

Smooth as single malt. --Washington Post"

A taut pleasure. --Daily News"

A tale that s both satisfyingly traditional in one regard, and thoroughly up-to-date in its setting and psychological insight. --Orlando Sentinel"

Robinson is on a winning streak. --Tampa Tribune"

[PLAYING WITH FIRE] has a loud ring of truth and a good deal of suspense. --Chicago Tribune"

Robinson has won just about every mystery award there is .His latest shows why. --Booklist (starred review)"

An engaging pleasure like red wine, [Banks] gets better and more interesting with age. --Publishers Weekly"

The novels of Peter Robinson are: Deeply nuanced works of art. --Dennis Lehane"

The Alan Banks mystery-suspense novels are, simply put, the best series now on the market. --Stephen King"

Stunningly complex and intricately plotted....Peter Robinson fools and entertains me with every twist. --Nevada Barr"

Complex and intelligent. --London Sunday Times"

Exquisitely complex and atmospheric. --Los Angeles Times Book Review"

Taut, carefully thought out with plots that are refreshingly clich?-free. --Time Out London"

Cunning authentic and atmospheric. --The Independent (London)"

Different and intriguing. --Sunday Telegraph"

Peter Robinson is: A gifted creator of fully fleshed and vividly present characters. --Boston Globe"

A happy discovery. --Lady Antonia Fraser in the London Sunday Times"

A skillful writer --Houston Chronicle"

Absorbing Robinson continues to stretch the boundaries of the standard procedural. --Orlando Sentinel"

Robinson actually seems to grow in front of our eyes, delivering books of greater complexity each time. --Otto Penzler"

Splendid. --San Diego Union-Tribune"

The equal of legends in the genre such as P.D. James and Ruth Rendell. --St. Louis Post-Dispatch" --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

See all Product Description

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
Playing with Fire is that rare beast; a Peter Robinson novel that hasn't had its titled bashed about for North American markets, which is rather refreshing. And, of course, considering that title, it is full of fire, destruction, conflagration (physical and emotional) as well a new burning power in the writing itself too, which makes the book possibly Robinson's strongest, most cunning plotted mystery yet, if perhaps not the most "meaningful" or innovative.
It begins, of course, with flame. In the wee hours of a cold January morning (the chill of the climate and atmosphere is a brilliantly effective contrast to the searing fires of the plot) two narrow-boats are found burning on a lonely stretch of a Yorkshire canal. When the fire-fighters have done their work, the investigators move in, and two dead bodies are found in the remains, blackened and burnt. And, of course, in the best traditions of the murder-mystery, traces of accelerant are found.
However, which was the intended victim? Tina, the drugged out young girl living with her boyfriend on one boat, or Tom, the lonely, seemingly reclusive artist who lived on the other? As Robinson's well-seasoned protagonist Chief Inspector Banks sets the investigations in motion, the threads tangle and the case proves to be every bit as complex as it promised at the start. And this particular twisted firestarter is not done yet...
Peter Robinson is remarkable; with every single book for about 6 years, he has been continuing to expand his series, smashing down boundaries, reaching new heights with every single book.
Read more ›
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Format: Hardcover
In this 14th book of the consistently high quality Inspector Banks series, a case of arson drags Banks and his team out in the middle of the night. It’s soon apparent that among the burning wreckage lie two bodies, so they launch their inquiry as a possible double murder. Then, the pace accelerates when a second arson attack takes place less than 10 miles from the first.
Once again, the very engaging Banks is backed up by his second in command D.I. Annie Cabbot creating a delightful partnership. The characters keep growing and getting more interesting, giving an extra dimension to each successive book. As far as police procedurals go this was another strong addition to an already excellent series. I’ve found reading the Inspector Banks series always captivating and this one was no less so. I found myself sitting up far into the night to finish it.
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Format: Hardcover
This, the 14th novel in Robinson's Inspector Banks series, is a super read. The prose is typically well constructed and flows easily, with clear, evocative descriptions of people and places. The story is set, as usual, near Eastvale in Yorkshire, with DCI Banks, DI Cabbott and team investigating a series of arson attacks. We learn lots about the different characters and suspects - variously feeling sorry for, irritated by and concerned about them. Issues of family relationships, drug abuse, social class and deceit are all explored. As ever, the reader feels closely connected to Banks - though his personal life is rather more thoughtful than active here - perhaps a sign of him getting older and reflecting more on what's happened throughout the years.
A great read and a typical Peter Robinson page-turner.
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Format: Paperback
Peter Robinson keeps getting better. This book, the latest in the perennial Inspector Banks series, is certainly one of the best. Combined with the usual police procedural are Banks' problems and tribulations, making him one of the most human mystery characters around.
The story itself is about fire (hence the title), and Robinson keeps you guessing throughout the book. The denouement is not without shock and a life-changing event for Banks, and it makes you look forward to the next installment with great expectation.
If you haven't read any Inspector Banks novels, this could be a good place to start, but you'll probably want to begin at the beginning - this is one series that will quickly get you hooked.
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By Damaskcat HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 1 Jan. 2015
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
A fire starts late at night on two almost derelict narrow boats on a short stretch of canal which leads nowhere. A body is found on each boat. DCI Alan Banks and DI Annie Cabbot have to find out whether this is murder or an accident and it soon becomes clear that it is murder. There are several suspects but none with a clear forensic connection to the fire. Gradually it becomes clear that there are a web of connections which may or may not lead to the truth. More lives will be lost and even more put in danger before the cases are solved.

I found this gripping reading and it is definitely amongst the best books in this excellent series. The book is well written and well plotted and the relationships and motivations are very well done. I like the way Alan and Annie are adjusting to not being in a relationship and are trying to keep their professional relationship going without letting the personal intrude.

If you like police procedurals with interesting characters and an atmospheric background - the Yorkshire Dales - then give this one a try. The series can be read in any order as all the books can stand alone but it is interesting to see the series characters develop if you read them in the order in which they were published.
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