Planes in Spain give the Primavera series a vital lift, writes Douglas Osler
Deadly Business by Quintin Jardine
THE fourth in Quintin Jardine’s Primavera Blackstone series retains its Spanish setting and its slightly improbable heroine, divorced from the late Oz Blackstone, who had his own Jardine series, but living close enough to his children within easy reach of Barcelona airport.
Primavera has had a varied life which includes a spell in prison for fraud. She is a vulnerable woman with a dysfunctional group of friends but also some influential contacts who have the advantage of owning private planes when she needs urgent support.
The rest of the time she relies heavily on her 12-year-old son Tom (her only child with Oz) whose unlikely maturity would make him a teacher’s nightmare.
Tom has a very handy Wing Chun black belt which discourages unwelcome advances. He also quotes The Lady Of Shallot to his mother when a new suitor arrives in her life.
Her attempts to nurture Tom do not prevent her sending this child to the bar in Barcelona airport to buy her “white wine; biggest glass they’ve got”.
The story – which involves Primavera trying to rescue a family business from unwholesome predators – is set partly in Spain (where Jardine lives for part of the year) and partly in Glasgow, which is close to his home town of Motherwell, from which he says he “escaped”.
The bad character this time is already known to Primavera. He turns up in her life when “the only thing I wanted to hear of him was his eulogy”. Faced with blackmail and the loss of her child’s inheritance, she lets the linguine boil over and burns the sauce. We all react differently to disaster.
It is easy to see why Jardine’s publishers describe him as Scotland’s most prolific popular crime writer. The story moves along at a pace fast enough to hold the reader’s interest and by the end all the baddies are pretty much sorted. «