Morrow, Feb 2004, 23.95, 384 pp.
Near the village Molesby, a firefighter noticed that an accelerant may have caused the inferno that destroyed two barges and killed two people in the dead end canal. The Western Area Police Headquarters Major Crimes took over the investigation into what caused the deaths of the two charred corpses that if not for the firefighter's recent class and observation would have been written off as accidental deaths of apparent squatters. Inspector Alan Banks and Detective Inspector Anne Cabbot lead the inquiries. Before they leave the scene the police catch a young man Mark who says he lived on one of the burned out barge and asks if Tina escaped. He mentions a Tom lived on the other barge.
Banks and Detective Inspector Anne Cabbot follow up on Mark's alibi and soon make other inquiries trying to determine if an accident, arson, or a deliberate murder cover-up occurred. Surprisingly the investigation turns into a complex inferno as several individuals have motives and opportunities to kill either of the deceased.
The latest Banks investigation is an exciting tale that hooks the audience from the moment the hero quotes Shakespeare's Anthony and Cleopatra. The story line never slows down even when it shines on the personal lives of the lead duo as the inspectors dig deep seeking motive and opportunity on what turns out to be several prime suspects. When it comes to British police procedurals, fans know that they can always bank on Peter Robinson to provide the best.
This report prepared by Harriet Klausner