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 calculated that only the worst sort of fiend could have committed it. There are shocking secrets to be uncovered in the charred wreckage, grim evidence of lethal greed and twisted hunger, and of nightmare occurrences within the private confines of family. A terrible feeling is driving police inspector Alan Banks in his desperate hunt for answers-an unshakable fear that this killer's work will not be done until Banks's own world is burned to the ground.
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August 31, 2006
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Excerpt from Playing with Fire by Peter Robinson
The barge she sat in, like a burnish'd throne, burn'd on the water," Banks whispered. As he spoke, his breath formed plumes of mist in the chill January air.
Detective Inspector Annie Cabbot, standing beside him, must have heard, because she said, "You what? Come again."
"A quotation," said Banks. "From Anthony and Cleopatra."
"You don't usually go around quoting Shakespeare like a copper in a book," Annie commented.
"Just something I remember from school. It seemed appropriate."
They were standing on a canal bank close to dawn watching two barges smolder. Not usually the sort of job for a detective chief inspector like Banks, especially so early on a Friday morning, but as soon as it had been safe enough for the firefighters to board the barges, they had done so and found one body on each. One of the firefighters had recently completed a course on fire investigation, and he had noticed possible evidence of accelerant use when he boarded the barge. He had called the local constable, who in turn had called Western Area Police Headquarters, Major Crimes, so here was Banks, quoting Shakespeare and waiting for the fire investigation officer to arrive.
"Were you in it, then?" Annie asked.
"Anthony and Cleopatra."
"Good Lord, no. Third spear-carrier in Julius Caesar was the triumph of my school acting career. We did it for O-Level English, and I had to memorize the speech."
Banks held the lapels of his overcoat over his throat. Even with the Leeds United scarf his son Brian had bought him for his birthday, he still felt the chill. Annie sneezed, and Banks felt guilty for dragging her out in the early hours. The poor lass had been battling with a cold for the last few days. But his sergeant, Jim Hatchley, was even worse; he had been off sick with flu most of the week.