It’s the season for catarrh! Children are back at school and the supermarkets are selling lots of boxes of cheap tissues and of course, anti-nit shampoo. Today I am feeling rather depleted by a runny nose and cotton wool head. All set off nicely by the dalek voice!
What better comfort then than a hot water bottle and a book that takes you into the alleyways of Edinburgh on the look out for the killer of a Russian Emigre Poet? This story has extra chutzpah too as this is Rebus’s last case and like Holmes before him with his nemesis Moriarty, we are not sure if arch enemy ‘Big Ger Cafferty’ will ‘retire’ Inspector Rebus indefinitely!
I have always enjoyed the seamless sequencing of Rankin’s narratives. I remember reading my first Rebus on a balcony in the Costa del Sol! I had run out of books to read and found Rebus on a rack in a Spanish supermarket close to the infamous Marbella high way littered with hapless road-kill. The relief of having a book to read that was not only in English but was also THRILLING has remained!
For Rankin’s Rebus novels move inevitably and without the ‘clunky’ interventions of many thriller writers. And his ability to create dialogue that is both witty and human is impressive. I know that Rankin loved Stevenson and it is hard not to sense Dickens’s influence too with Rankin’s involving, nitty gritty interest in the particulars of a city’s underbelly.
‘Rebus’ himself compels as he is characterised through a contradictory collection of ‘archaic’ cultural references and incisive intelligence that is intuitive and even anarchic. We want him to win, to beat authority and for all his ‘awkward’ persona, we know he is the best , most tenacious detective since Columbo!
Another chapter beckons! There are advantages to a bad cold!
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