Dective Chief Inspector Alan Banks is called out in the middle of the night to a suspicious fire. Two boats on a backwater canal have burned to the waterline, and there are fatalities, including a down-on-his-luck artist and a female heroin addict.

Banks' former lover, Detective Inspector Annie Cabbot, is also at the scene, and while both have new people in their lives, twinges of jealousy still linger. Annie's new man is the mysterious Phil Keane, an art expert who gets involved in the case because of a possible art forgery connection. Alan is sure that Phil is hiding something but acknowledges he could merely be jealous. Matters get worse when there's another fire and another death. The police are sure that the cases are linked but are having a hard time proving it.

Throughout the series Banks has grown and evolved—this is his 13th book. We have been with Banks through the failure of his marriage, the raising of his children and his adjustment to single life. But one thing never changes: Banks' determination to do his best job as a law officer. Robinson's many fans will welcome this suspense-filled offering. (Feb., 354 pp., $23.95)
Reviewed by: 
Lorraine Gelly