Matthew Quintin Jardine was born in Motherwell on 29 June 1945, the son of two teachers. He was educated at Knowetop Primary School, Motherwell, and at the High School of Glasgow. He went on to study law at the University of Glasgow, briefly and without enthusiasm, before stepping cautiously in 1964 into a career which began in journalism, as a trainee on his local newspaper The Motherwell Times. He moved from Lanarkshire to East Lothian in 1971, and worked in Edinburgh as a government information officer, a political spin doctor and finally an independent media relations consultant. As a member of the Conservative Party's professional staff he was involved during the 1980s in several key by-election campaigns, including Hillhead, 1982, Darlington, 1983 and West Derbyshire, 1986. As a consultant, his clients included the Faculty of Advocates, the Scottish Salmon Growers' Association, Cumbernauld Development Corporation, Dundas & Wilson CS, and Heart of Midlothian Football Club.
Gradually he evolved into a full-time writer. His first novel, Skinner's Rules, was published in 1993, and nominated for the John Creasey award of the UK Crime Writers' Association. He has appeared at Writers' Festivals and other events around the world, in cities including Edinburgh, Glasgow, London, Vancouver, Toronto, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Minneapolis, Perth, Melbourne, Sydney, Auckland, Christchurch and Wellington.
In 1966 he married Irene King, of Baillieston, Lanarkshire, and together they had a son and daughter. She died in 1997 after a short illness. In 2002 he was married for a second time, to Eileen Mansfield Abernethy, of South Shields. Today they live, alternately, in Gullane, East Lothian, (Scotland) and in L'Escala, on the Spanish Costa Brava.
His hobbies include football, (the Skinner novel 'Thursday Legends' is based loosely upon a five-a-side football club of which he has been a member for over thirty years), golf, music and movies.
Quintin Jardine has written eighteen novels featuring senior Edinburgh policeman Bob Skinner - "Britain's toughest cop" according the novels' publisher. Like his creator Skinner lives in Gullane, East Lothian and has a second home L'Escala, Catalunya in Spain.
At the beginning of Jardine's first novel, Skinner is a Detective Chief Superintendent; he rises through the ranks as the series progresses. He supports Motherwell Football Club and plays golf.
As the series stands today Skinner has been married twice, to Myra (deceased), by whom he has one daughter, Alexis, currently an associate in an Edinburgh law firm, and to an American pathologist, Dr Sarah Grace, by whom he has two children, James Andrew (aka Jazz) and Seonaid, and with whom he adopted the orphaned Mark McGrath. That marriage ended in divorce, with custody of the children being shared. His current partner is Aileen de Marco, a politician and Member of the Scottish Parliament, who is Scotland's First Minister.
Because Skinner stands where he does in his fictional police force, the series has a wider supporting cast than is usual in the mystery genre. Other characters include Andy Martin, currently deputy chief of the Tayside force, Skinner's closest friend, and former fiance of Alexis, Chief Superintendents Margaret Rose and Mario McGuire, and Detective Superintendent Neil McIlhenney.
Novels featuring Bob Skinner:
Skinner's Rules (1993)
Skinner's Festival (1994)
Skinner's Trail (1994)
Skinner's Round (1995)
Skinner's Ordeal (1996)
Skinner's Mission (1997)
Skinner's Ghosts (1998)
Murmuring the Judges (1998)
Gallery Whispers (1999)
Thursday Legends (2000)
Autographs in the Rain (2001)
Head Shot (2002)
Fallen Gods (2003)
Stay of Execution (2004)
Lethal Intent (2005)
Dead and Buried (2006)
Death's Door (2007)
Fatal Last Words (2009)
A Rush of Blood (2010)
Bob Skinner audio books have been recorded by James Bryce and Robbie McNab.
Oz Blackstone is the hero of Jardine's second series of books, the first of which appeared in hardback under the pseudonym Matthew Reid, although the mass-market edition also bears his real name.  A private detective turned Hollywood actor, Blackstone, like Skinner, is Scottish and enjoys golf. He has featured in nine novels since 1996.
One of Blackstone's occasional acting roles is in fictional adaptations of Jardine's Bob Skinner series. To confuse matters, the Blackstone novels also exist in the universe of the Bob Skinner books. The author has said that this is a deliberate contrivance to ensure that Skinner and Blackstone can never meet on the page.
When Inhuman Remains was published in January 2009, it was revealed that Oz Blackstone had died, off-stage from an inherited heart condition. In the tenth Blackstone novel Oz's sometime business partner,and former wife, Primavera, became the main protagonist in what is effectively a new series. She and Tom, the son she had with Oz, have settled in the village of St. Marti d' Empuries, in Catalunya, Spain.
Novels featuring Primavera Blackstone:
Inhuman Remains (2009)
Blood Red (2010)
Audio adaptations of most of these titles have been read by Joe Dunlop.