Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Playing With Fire (Inspector Banks, #14)” as Want to Read:
Playing With Fire (Inspector Banks, #14)
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Playing With Fire (Inspector Banks #14)

3.95 of 5 stars 3.95  ·  rating details  ·  2,470 ratings  ·  128 reviews

Fire—It consumes futures and pasts in aterrified heartbeat, devouring damning secrets while leaving even greater mysteries in the ashes.

The night sky is ablaze as flames engulf two barges moored side by side on an otherwise empty canal. On board are the blackened remains of two human beings. To the seasoned eye, this horror was no accident, the method so cruel and calculat

Kindle Edition, 436 pages
Published (first published December 1st 2003)
more details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Playing With Fire, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Playing With Fire

This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Add this book to your favorite list »

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  rating details
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
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
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
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
Shirley Schwartz
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
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
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
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
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
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.
Paula Dembeck
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.
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
Playing With Fire starts out with a barge fire that kills two people, one of them was collateral damage. The other was the intended victim. Inspector Banks has come to grips with the loss of his marriage. His wife has moved on and had another child by another man. This is shocking to Inspector Banks, who doesn't quite know how to handle this. He does have a love interest but he also still has feelings for his DS Annie. She is seeing an art dealer. The investigation brings to light several crimes ...more
Peter Robinson continues to be one of my favorite mystery writers.
not overall a bad book...this is my first inspector banks book ive ever read. the plot was good...the artist and Mark's woman were burned in a fire and i believe Mkark Siddon's beau was doing drugs by the time it happened Mark blamed her father (you learn at first that he is her "stepfather" but later on in the story you find out the he's her real father: sorry if ive ruined for you) due to the gruesome and disturbing past they had with each other. overall the characters seemed realistic. Banks ...more
Another good story by Robinson starring DCI Banks. This involves arson, the first incidence on 2 decrepit canal barges anchored near each other on a dead-end section of canal in the Midlands. Banks is a good detective - always thinking and considering possibilities and his 2 main assistants this time, DS Annie Cabot and DC Winsome Jackman (love the name), are strong female characters. The investigation obviously concerns who is responsible for this arson (and others) and why but the investigatio ...more
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
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
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
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
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
First Inspector Banks book I have read and overall it is well done. Two cases of deadly arson bring Banks and partner Annie Cabbot into the investigation. Meanwhile the distraught boyfriend of one of the victims seeks revenge for what happened to his girlfriend via her stepfather.

Plenty of twists and turns here, with red herrings aplenty and a well crafted ending.

Robinson does grate a bit in some respects. His character Banks passes judgement on a loner who keeps his records and CD's in alphab
Two narrow boats aka houseboats are set on fire killing two unconnected people. The search into the lives of the two people; the mystery person that changes his identity and never seems to get caught; another murder of a man whose caravan was set on fire; the weaving of the story as to how all these people are connected is quite good; the twists and turns of the story keep you guessing right to the last page!
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Ian Mapp
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Superior crime novel. Arson attacks involving a failed artist and a drop-out young couple. The characters are complex, and Banks is aware of his own weaknesses which makes him a far more fascinating character than the perfect, discreet detectives of the P.D. James' era. Good depiction of his awkward relationship with his sidekick Annie Cabbot.
Rog Harrison
This is the second time I have read this. By this time in the series Banks and some of his colleagues are well developed believable characters. This story concerns a couple of cases of arson with dead bodies in the wreckage. Banks tries to see if the cases are related and there are a couple of interesting sub-plots as well. This is a fine book by an author at the top of his game.
Chris Longmuir
Arson, accidental death, murder, and the lengths a man will go to when a fortune from famous paintings is at stake. DCI Banks is determined to find the killer of an artist and a junkie when they are the victims caught in a fire. After many twists and turns and a threat to his own life the culprit is eventually brought to book. This was quite a good read and had all the elements a reader would expect from a crime novel, however, I did find the explanation of the forensic process a bit tiring when ...more
I poured myself a wee dram of Laphroaig on a rainy weekend, and settled in with another in the series of Inspector Alan Banks police procedurals. Well, I didn't really drink the Laphroaig, but it sounded like just the thing to set the mood for an excellent entry into this fine detective saga set in Northern England. This time, our Chief Inspector and his 2IC Detective Annie Cabbott are on the heels of an arsonist who has killed 3 people, and shows no signs of stopping. This mystery hits particul ...more
Debbie Maskus
This is another of the Alan Banks series set in England. In this story, an arsonist is setting fires and killing people, and the police cannot find a connection. The first fire consumes two old river barges that contain squatters. The second fire engulfs a caravan and the man living in the caravan. Is the arsonist destroying old eyesores or is there another reason? Annie Cabot dates the man responsible and unknowingly lets him know about the investigation. And in the final chapters, Phil Keane, ...more
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 99 100 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • Blood on the Tongue (Ben Cooper & Diane Fry, #3)
  • Good Morning, Midnight (Dalziel & Pascoe, #21)
  • The Hanging Garden (Inspector Rebus, #9)
  • Water Like a Stone (Duncan Kincaid & Gemma James, #11)
  • Still Waters (Charles Resnick, #9)
  • A Killing Frost (Inspector Frost, #6)
  • Lifeless (Tom Thorne, #5)
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
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)
In A Dry Season (Inspector Banks, #10) Gallows View (Inspector Banks, #1) Friend Of The Devil (Inspector Banks, #17) Before The Poison Aftermath (Inspector Banks, #12)

Share This Book