Jardine, Quintin 1946–
Jardine, Quintin 1946–
PERSONAL: Born 1946, in Lanarkshire, Scotland; married; wife's name Kate (died, 1997); married; second wife's name, Eileen; children: (first marriage) two; two stepchildren.
ADDRESSES: Home—Gullane, Scotland; Catalonia, Spain. Agent—Bell Lomax Agency, James House, 1 Babmaes St., London SW1Y 6HF, England.
CAREER: Novelist. Formerly worked as a journalist, media and public relations consultant, and government information officer.
"ROBERT SKINNER" NOVEL SERIES
Skinner's Trail, Headline (London, England), 1993, St. Martin's Press (New York, NY), 1996.
Skinner's Rules, Headline (London, England), 1993, St. Martin's Press (New York, NY), 1994.
Skinner's Festival, Headline (London, England), 1994, St. Martin's Press (New York, NY), 1995.
Skinner's Round, St. Martin's Press (New York, NY), 1995.
Skinner's Ordeal, Headline (London, England), 1996.
Skinner's Mission, Headline (London, England), 1997.
Skinner's Ghost, Headline (London, England), 1998.
Murmuring the Judges, Headline (London, England), 1999.
Gallery Whispers, Headline (London, England), 1999.
Thursday Legends, Headline (London, England), 2000.
Autographs in the Rain, Headline (London, England), 2001.
Head Shot, Headline (London, England), 2002.
Fallen Gods, Headline (London, England), 2003.
Stay of Execution, Headline (London, England), 2004.
Lethal Intent, Headline (London, England), 2005.
"OZ BLACKSTONE" NOVEL SERIES
Blackstone's Pursuits, Headline (London, England), 1996.
A Coffin for Two, Headline (London, England), 1997.
Wearing Purple, Headline (London, England), 1998.
Screen Savers, Headline (London, England), 2000.
On Honeymoon with Death, Headline (London, England), 2001.
Poisoned Cherries, Headline (London, England), 2002.
Unnatural Justice, Headline (London, England), 2003.
Alarm Call, Headline (London, England), 2004.
ADAPTATIONS: Author's books have been adapted as audiobooks.
WORK IN PROGRESS: More books in the "Oz Blackstone" and "Robert Skinner" series and a humorous novel.
SIDELIGHTS: Quintin Jardine is a successful crime novelist who turns out approximately two novels a year per his publishing contract. He did not begin writing novels until he was in his mid-forties on a dare from his wife when he boasted that he could write a better story after reading a novelization of a British Broadcasting Company (BBC) television mystery series. Jardine proved he is more than capable. He has become a best-selling author in Scotland and is gaining popularity elsewhere with his two series of detective novels, which focus on two distinct and disparate characters.
In his series of novels featuring Bob Skinner, deputy chief constable of Edinburgh, Scotland, Jardine has created a character billed as the "toughest cop" in Great Britain. In Skinner's Rules, the constable is on the trail of a killer and soon finds that what he initially thinks is a straight-forward murder case turns out to be a complicated series of murders involving a disparate group of people, from an advocate lawyer to a cleaning lady to a homeless drunk. Skinner eventually discovers that the murders may involve a conspiracy with wide-ranging political consequences. Writing in Booklist, Emily Melton called the book "a rollercoaster ride of a story that's gripping from beginning to end." A Publishers Weekly contributor wrote that "solid plotting (including surprises) and short, snappy chapters that tell the story through action and dialogue."
Skinner's Festival finds the Scottish cop tracking down a militant group whose bombing of the Edinburgh Arts Festival is part of a political agenda fostered by an international group of terrorists. As Skinner investigates the case, the bombings continue. Skinner's daughter also falls for a mysterious man and is eventually kidnapped, along with Skinner's wife, by the terrorists. A Publishers Weekly contributor noted that "Jardine offers spectacularly effective action scenes, and Skinner, while sometimes too hard-boiled to swallow, is an admirable hero." In her review in Booklist, Melton wrote that Jardine "writes a nearly flawless police procedural … but his real forte is the way he gets into the minds and hearts of his characters."
Skinner is celebrating the birth of his son in Skinner's Trail when a local Laundromat tycoon is murdered. Skinner soon learns that the businessman had many shady dealings, and the list of suspects mounts. Booklist contributor Melton called the book "another winner from this very talented writer" and also noted that the book is "chock-full of high-octane action." Skinner's Trail features the case of a millionaire found dead in his golf club's Jacuzzi with a slit throat. The plot involves golf, witches, and moguls in what Melton called "another winning entry in an outstanding police procedural series."
Thursday Legends takes it title from a weekly football game Skinner plays with some of his other over-the-hill athlete friends. When the naked and mutilated body of a fellow detective and football player is found, the murder turns out only to be the first that will involve the group of players. With the help of detective Andy Martin, Skinner sets out to solve the case. A Publishers Weekly contributor commented that "this gritty, fast-paced mystery will pin even the most squeamish readers to the page."
Autographs in the Rain finds Skinner's wide authority within the police department being questioned. Further complicating Skinner's life is the fact that a famous local movie star who once was Skinner's lover has returned to town only to be shot at. Furthermore, Skinner's secretary is the primary suspect in the murder of her uncle, and another case involves a local trout business. A Kirkus Reviews contributor noted that the author "excels at coordinating the multiple crimes crucial to a police procedural and setting his coppers against the clock."
In Fallen Gods Skinner once again must deal with multiple problems, which include an arson case at the Royal Scottish Academy, the discovery of his brother's body many years after the man went missing, and the murder charge his wife faces in America. "Luckily, there's nothing Skinner … can't sort out, including adultery, dysfunctional family histories, corrupt politicians, and digital photography," wrote a Kirkus Reviews contributor.
Pope John XXV's visit to Edinburgh is the driving plot device in Stay of Execution. This time Skinner must deal with a group of terrorists intent on assassinating the visiting dignitary. Although Skinner knows there is a plot against the pontiff, he must race against the clock to uncover the details of the plan in order to save the pope. Once again, Jardine includes several subplots involving seemingly unrelated murders and the possibility that Skinner's wife may leave him. A Kirkus Reviews contributor called the novel "a deft, entertaining police procedural in the patented Jardine manner, with a full complement of sexy, savvy, busy cops."
Jardine's "Oz Blackstone" crime series focuses on a character much different from Skinner. Oz is a hapless private detective living in London whose good looks and charm lead him to Hollywood stardom. In On Honeymoon with Death Oz has married Primavera "Prim" Phillips after the death of his first wife. His movie career and a lottery win allow him to move to a villa in Spain, where Oz discovers a body at the bottom of his swimming pool. Oz finds that he is once again drawn into detective work and a case involving white slave trafficking and more murders. A Publishers Weekly contributor noted that the author "offers plenty of foul language, treachery and carnal intrigue" in this offering.
Poisoned Cherries finds Oz haunting Detective Skinner's home turf of Edinburgh, where a movie is being filmed. Dealing with the fact that his wife has left him and his girlfriend is pregnant, Oz nevertheless becomes involved in the investigation of another former girlfriend's lover when the girlfriend, Suzie, becomes the prime suspect in the case, which soon involves other murders. Rex Klett, writing in the Library Journal, noted that Jardine does a good job of combining the plot's "procedural and intrigue" components.
Oz is finally monogamous and married to Suzie in Unnatural Justice. The plot revolves around a hostile takeover of Suzie's company that becomes dangerously personal when a bomb is sent to the company offices. As a Kirkus Reviews contributor noted, "the pace is brisk, sure enough, but Oz's enthusiastic vigilantism will be offensive to some." Alarm Call finds Oz still devoted to Suzie but willing to help ex-wife Prim, who is battling for money as well as for custody of her child from her con-artist husband, Paul. While Oz and Prim track Paul to the United States, Oz must deal with his wife Suzie's suspicions that Oz is cheating on her. "Blackstone shows new depth this time, using brains rather than brawn to solve the puzzle in this altogether more nuanced thriller," noted a reviewer writing in Kirkus Reviews.
Jardine told CA: "A long time ago, my father planted the idea in my mind that I could be a writer. It's one of my great regrets that he didn't live to see it happen.
"Nothing and nobody influences my work. My writing process: no synopsis; I switch on and let it all escape from my head. My most surprising discovery: how perceptive my readers are, and also how friendly, in the United States as well as the United Kingdom and Canada. And I don't have a favourite book. Would you rank your children from one to twenty-four?"
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Booklist, May 15, 1994, Emily Melton, review of Skinner's Rules, p. 1667; April 1, 1995, Emily Melton, review of Skinner's Festival, p. 1380; April 29, 1996, Emily Melton, review of Skinner's Trail, p. 1424; December 1, 1996, Emily Melton, review of Skinner's Round, p. 642.
Bookseller, May 16, 2003, Benedicte Page, "Big Bob Heads South: Quintin Jardine Is Poised to Be the Next Big Export in Scottish Crime," p. 27.
Edinburgh Evening News, July 8, 2004, "Prolific Writer Who Proves That Crime Does Pay."
Kirkus Reviews, September 1, 2001, review of Autographs in the Rain, p. 1249; July 15, 2003, review of Poisoned Cherries, p. 939; September 1, 2003, review of Fallen Gods, p. 1103; February 1, 2004, review of Unnatural Justice, p. 111; October 1, 2004, review of Stay of Execution, p. 941; February 15, 2005, review of Alarm Call, p. 201.
Library Journal, September 1, 2003, Rex Klett, review of Poisoned Cherries, p. 214; March 1, 2005, Rex Klett, review of Alarm Call, p. 71.
Publishers Weekly, May 9, 1994, review of Skinner's Rules, p. 65; March 13, 1995, review of Skinner's Festival, p. 63; April 15, 1996, review of Skinner's Trail, p. 55; August 6, 2001, review of Thursday Legends, p. 67; November 12, 2001, review of Murmuring the Judges, p. 40; April 15, 2002, review of On Honeymoon with Death, p. 45; March 15, 2004, review of Unnatural Justice, p. 59.
Quintin Jardine Home Page, http://www.quintinjardine.com (July 1, 2005).
Scotland on Sunday, http://scotlandonsunday.scotsman.com/ (February 29, 2004), Aidan Smith, "Murder He Wrote for a Capital Cop," profile of author.
Scotsman Online, http://news.scotsman.com/ (February 26, 2004), Struan Mackenzie, "Top Crime Author Is Write On."