cover image Stay of Execution

Stay of Execution

Quintin Jardine. Headline (IPG, dist.), $12.95 ISBN 978-0-7553-5871-7

First published in the U.K. in 2004, Jardine’s 14th Bob Skinner mystery (after 2003’s Fallen Gods) offers a sprawling cast of characters, some of whom have died in the seven subsequent installments. Readers who think this follows 2011’s Grievous Angel may be confused. In any event, keeping track of who’s hooking up with whom among Skinner’s police colleagues detracts from the central plot, the triumphant return home of Edinburgh’s most famous native son, Gilbert White, who recently was elected pope. White’s visit is a security nightmare, and Skinner must anticipate not only how and when terrorists might strike but how to keep the different government entities involved in planning the papal trip on the same page. Meanwhile, the deputy chief constable’s marriage to a pathologist hasn’t recovered from mutual infidelity, leaving him open to new romantic possibilities. Those who can tolerate larger-than-life heroes whose minor failings only accentuate their positives will be most rewarded. (May)