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Playing With Fire (Inspector Banks #14)

3.98  ·  Rating Details ·  3,223 Ratings  ·  160 Reviews
Chief Inspector Alan Banks finds himself up against a diabolical arsonist in this electrifying novel of suspense from New York Times bestselling author Peter Robinson.

In the early hours of the morning, a man reports a fire on two old canal boats. One of the firefighters notices the use of accelerant at the scene and calls the police, but by the time Inspector Banks arrives
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ebook, 368 pages
Published March 17th 2009 by William Morrow (first published December 1st 2003)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
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John
Apr 15, 2009 John rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
What more can you say about a Peter Robinson novel than that the maestro is at the top of his game yet again? He and Ian Rankin have a very similar ability to immerse the reader entirely in the lives of their protagonists to the extent that it can be a struggle for readers to pull themselves back into the real world. Yes, these are crime novels, and, yes, there's a strong element of mystery too, but to say only that would really be to mislead.

This latest installment of the Yorkshire DCI Alan Ban
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Monica
Jan 10, 2012 Monica rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Some books are like coming home...almost like a "comfort" read. This book is one of those...another great Alan Banks book by Peter Robinson. Robinson is able to weave a plot around murders and crime that keep me completely entertained. The recurring characters in each of the books in the series grows more complex and real to me with each book in the series that I read. This is one of the series that I'm reading slowly so that I don't run out!

Jacket notes: "When the bodies of two squatters are fo
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Ruby Barnes
Banks takes the biscuit and is reminded of his youthful dunking...

I'm not sure if I've read Peter Robinson before. Probably I have, he's prolific and my wife likes Inspector Banks. I bought Playing with Fire together with Strange Affair and Not Safe After Dark from the Book People for 5 the lot. That should have been warning enough, that they were unsold clearout stock.
Inspector Banks is unable to cross the room without receiving a character building flashback from every biscuit crumb, cup of t
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Damaskcat
Dec 28, 2014 Damaskcat rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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 ...more
Thomas Strömquist
A good part into this book, I was convinced that my review would start with something like: "This was one of the lesser Banks". This is not the case. After an unusually uncaptivating and slow first half, "Dirty" Dick Burgess pops up and, even if he's brief and peripheral in this story, he's never dull. The second half is also a pickup of pace. One thing that bothered me is that, by reading the series out of sequence, I had a better than reasonable idea about what the climax would be and I though ...more
Larraine
Dec 02, 2016 Larraine rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book got really dark and really really good very fast. One of the reasons why I particularly like Robinson as a writer is because he doesn't waste words. Every word counts in the books. His character, Inspector Alan Banks, is one of my favorites. This is one of the earlier ones I had missed. Banks is divorced although it's only been about a year. However, his ex has not only remarried but has had a baby in her mid forties. He's living in a cottage that he has made all his with his music and ...more
Shirley Schwartz
Mar 18, 2015 Shirley Schwartz rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is top drawer crime fiction, written by a master. I absolutely love the Inspector Banks series, and have been reading my way through the series. This book was good with the characters fully fleshed out and enough suspense to keep me turning pages, but it didn't have the "slam in the gut" plot twists that I've come to expect from Peter Robinson. I had figured out who the perpetrator was about halfway through, and that never usually happens with an Inspector Banks book. That is why I gave the ...more
Lorraine
Alan Banks and Annie Cabbot investigate a fire which burns two canal boats on the outskirts of Eastvale, killing two people, one a teenage girl and one a 40ish artist. Investigators learn that the fire was set with the artist's turpentine, but the girl's boyfriend suspects that her stepfather had something to do with it, as he had sexually abused her before she ran away from home. The next day, another fire is started just north of town, in a caravan in a field where an unemployed man lived. Ala ...more
Melaszka
May 22, 2013 Melaszka rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Several people have recommended this series to me lately. I tried the first book in the series a week or two back and found it very underwhelming. Guessing, however, that Robinson has probably improved hugely as a writer over the 30 years since that was written, I decided to try a later book in the series and I'm glad I did, as this was a pretty high quality example of the genre. Tautly plotted, very compelling (although the suspense is less in whodunnit, which becomes obvious fairly early on, b ...more
Barbara
Sep 11, 2012 Barbara rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I really enjoyed this book. Finished it yesterday. I'm normally not a huge of longer mysteries but Peter Robinson seems to be the exception for me. have enjoyed several of his other books.His style is almost literary mystery-his characters are that well developed. Banks is again fantastic in this book. From the beginning it grabs you with the fires- who set them and why. There are so many angles and twistst and turns in this book that I can't mention them all.Mark, Gardiner, Aspern and Tina etc. ...more
Michael
Feb 29, 2016 Michael rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is the third in the the DCI Banks series I've read, and it didn't disappoint. A fire on a narrow boat on a cold winters night sets the opening scene, and Peter Robinson had certainly done his homework SOC investigations and what to expect. "Playing with Fire" skillfully creates a complex puzzle which takes the reader in several directions, but it all becomes clear in the end.
Martyn Pass
First time reading this author. Didn't do it for me because I grew up on American detectives and I find most English ones try too hard to imitate them. Still, had all the right elements for a gritty drama so not too bad.
E
Feb 11, 2015 E rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Robinson rarely disappoints me, and his books seem to be getting darker, which I like. Unlike many detective fiction writers, Robinson deftly balances character development and tensions with twisty plots that keep one guessing.
Nonnie Augustine
I always enjoy Peter Robinson's mysteries, and this was no exception.
Elisa
Oct 11, 2011 Elisa rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Peter Robinson continues to be one of my favorite mystery writers.
Jud Hanson
One dark night in Yorkshire, DCI Banks and DI Cabot are called to the scene of a fire. Two derelict boats have been set on fire and there are two victims: the daughter of a local doctor and a marginally successful artist. Much is revealed as Banks and Cabot investigate, including the possible existence of an art forgery ring involving Leslie Whitaker, a local book seller and Cabot’s newest love interest, Phil Keane and that the artist’s death might be the result of a blackmail attempt. This coul ...more
Mook
Oct 28, 2016 Mook rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2016, crime-mystery
Inspector Alan Banks is a British detective who is called in when an act of arson leaves two people dead. Soon the number of fires start to grow, and so do the bodies. Only Banks is sure it's not a pyromaniac - this is someone intelligent, and ruthless, with a secret to hide.

As seems to be the trend this book is somewhere in the middle of an ongoing series and it's the first I've read. While it was alright, it wasn't my favouite. I really liked the mystery at the beginning but I feel like they
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Maggie Holmes
I've read other Peter Robinson books, but I had forgotten how much I liked them. The audio took some getting used to, but by the end I was comfortable with the voices the reader used. I think this might be because I am also watching DCI Banks on television. One of my favorite characters in this book was Mark Siddons. I wonder what happens to him and if we ever find out.
The mystery was pretty predictable -- hence the 3 stars -- but it was interesting. I'm going to start back at the beginning of t
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Becky
Feb 08, 2017 Becky rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Great read. The 14th in a series about a detective named Banks. It is my first read in this series and I plan on reading more. Good characters, good plot. I quickly knew who the murderer was, but enjoyed the journey to finding out who the perp was by the detectives. Enjoyed the setting, the character development. It read well. Particularly enjoyed the connection with art fraud. I recommend it. It might be a good idea to begin earlier in the series, but this novel stood by itself rather well.
Rose Griffith
Jan 10, 2017 Rose Griffith rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shamefully, I admit that I continue to read the Inspector Banks’ novels out of order, as they come across my path.

And yet, there’s something intriguing about weaving the pieces and parts of Alan Banks’ and Annie Cabbot’s lives together in my head that keeps me going about this disorganized path of reading.

Playing With Fire answers a number of questions about their history and how certain events in subsequent novels unfold. It’s a serious, twisted story about deceit, art, murder, and complex re
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Deborah Wall
Nov 02, 2016 Deborah Wall rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Murder in the art world

Inspector Banks is dealing as much with his personal life as his work in this one - his ex wife, his ex-girlfriend, and his current one, while dealing with some arson related deaths among srtists and collectors.
L.A. Kent
Jan 04, 2017 L.A. Kent rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I enjoyed this. The Banks series has progressed nicely over time and it has been very interesting to see the characters developing over time.
Monica
Feb 22, 2013 Monica rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Arson destroys two narrow boats in a canal near Eastvale, and two bodies are found in the wreckage. Both squatters - a young woman heroin addict and a down at heels artist, no connection between them but proximity. A couple of days later, another arson, another fatality, this time in a caravan in the country, an ex-accountant who has a record of fraud. Investigators find hidden away a stash of cash and something that looks very much like a Turner watercolor.

Finding a connection between the victi
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Jina Howell-Forbes
This book is a continuation of a long series of books about Inspector Alan Banks, a 40 something English homicide detective. I enjoyed this book well enough, but it did not live up to the high expectations I have for this series. I understand that everyone must have some tragedy and unfortunate events occur in their lives. Indeed, stories that have no angst in the characters personal or professional life can be rather boring. But lately it just seems that poor Alan Banks can't catch break the ma ...more
Quinn
May 13, 2013 Quinn rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Not the most recent Alan Banks mystery, but the last one available in my library. I'll have to go to other libraries to look for these. Banks is an interesting guy, moody but dependable. I've come to know the village, the pubs he hangs out in, and the way he handles villains. They are evil, but you are never sure exactly which one of them is guilty. And they can be smart, charming and sly as well.

Robinson is good at holding your attention and making you feel you are part of the book. Some chapt
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Damaskcat
Dec 30, 2014 Damaskcat rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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 ...more
Mary
Jul 10, 2010 Mary rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I picked this one up while waiting for another Martha Grimes audio book. Having read Peter Robinson before, I was sure this would be a good story. It was good, although I think the Grimes books work better in audio; I didn't really care that much for the reader of this one.
The story was good-lots of interesting info on fires, good interaction between the main characters. I think I may have quit reading this series when the main character's marriage broke up, and in this episode Banks' ex thinks
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Paula Dembeck
May 14, 2015 Paula Dembeck rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is the fourteenth book in the Inspector Banks series.
Two abandoned barges docked in an isolated Yorkshire canal are engulfed in flames during a cold winter night. When the fire settles two bodies are found. Is this an accident or arson created to cover up a crime, destroy evidence or hide the identity of a victim? From this single event, Robinson skillfully creates a complex puzzle with tentacles that reach out to a tangled muddle of sexual abuse, mistaken identities and addiction.
Meanwhil
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Spuddie
Nov 06, 2010 Spuddie rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This review refers to the audio version.

#14 Chief Inspector Alan Banks series set in Yorkshire. Two derelict boats on the canal burn, with two dead--one body on each boat. It's determined that accelerant was used and thus it becomes a murder AND arson investigation. Both boats were occupied by essentially squatters--one, a down-on-his-luck artist and the other a young drug user and her boyfriend, who was away from the boat that evening.

Suspects are many in the early days as Banks and his team, i
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Librarian Note: There is more than one author in the GoodReads database with this name. See this thread for more information.

Peter Robinson was born in Yorkshire. After getting his BA Honours Degree in English Literature at the University of Leeds, he came to Canada and took his MA in English and Creative Writing at the University of Windsor, with Joyce Carol Oates as his tutor, then a PhD in En
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More about Peter Robinson...

Other Books in the Series

Inspector Banks (1 - 10 of 24 books)
  • Gallows View (Inspector Banks, #1)
  • A Dedicated Man  (Inspector Banks, #2)
  • A Necessary End (Inspector Banks, #3)
  • The Hanging Valley (Inspector Banks, #4)
  • Past Reason Hated (Inspector Banks, #5)
  • Wednesday's Child (Inspector Banks, #6)
  • Dry Bones that Dream (Inspector Banks, #7)
  • Innocent Graves (Inspector Banks, #8)
  • Blood at the Root (Inspector Banks, #9)
  • In a Dry Season (Inspector Banks, #10)

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