Ian Rankin

Doors Open

"The Scottish crime master is at work and I was hooked from page one."


Doors Open is all about doors: the Open Doors day when usually closed public buildings open to the public; doors of opportunity to change the direction and emphasis of life; doors to safety and doors leading to disaster...

Art lover Mike Mackenzie has made lots of money in the IT industry and now has sold out. He is a self made man who doesn't share the privileged youth of his friends, and has a background that has encouraged him to take risks. He shares a love of art with a Professor Robert Gissing of the College of Art and Allan Cruikshank of First Caledonian Bank. All three men are at a critical point in their lives. Gissing is on the point of retirement, Cruickshank is “expensively divorced” and resentful of those clients who own beautiful works of art to which he cannot aspire whilst Mackenzie is bored and missing the excitement of the business world he has left.

Together with Chib Calloway, a very shady and violent individual from Mackenzie's schooldays and “Westie”, an impecunious student with a talent for copying pictures, they conspire to remove several valuable pictures from the National Gallery of Scotland's store in a warehouse at Grantown. Apparently carefully planned, the crime is committed without major hitch-and then, everything slowly begins to unravel...

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So Rankin's first foray into post-Rebus territory is an expanded version of a previously published short story... so what? The Scottish crime master is at work and I was hooked from page one. Set in the Edinburgh that Rankin clearly loves, the rugged character and nature of the city continues to play an important role in the story. Where people live - and their attitudes to their homes - reinforces the characters being described. Although Inspector Ransome of the Edinburgh and Borders police plays a significant role in the action, the main characters are those who perpetrate the crime. The structure and geography of the police stations are familiar to Rebus aficionados, but I only spotted one reference to ”you-know-who”. Rightly so, as this book is about the psychology of how and why some people become criminals. It is told from a reverse perspective and looks at the motives and pressures that lead an apparently ordinary man to become involved in crime. Appreciating this is a skill that any good detective should possess in solving a crime. Like many fans I approached this book with slight apprehension that maybe Rankin without Rebus would not be as good. I need not have worried. This book contains many of the aspects of Rankins work that I enjoy: an intimate and affectionate knowledge of Edinburgh and detailed observation of characters - not all bad or all good. It has, however, a fresh and exciting approach and is destined to be an absolute winner.

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