Ian Rankin

Rather Be The Devil

""(Rebus) is... the same dogged and determined cop with a wealth of experience and scant regard for the politically correct.""


Rebus has retired. Honestly. But he can't resist dabbling, and an evening at the Caledonian Hotel brings back memories of a murder there long ago that was never solved. A beautiful young woman, wife to a banker, was staying at 'the Caley' at the same time as a famous rock star and his entourage. Various people were in the frame for the murder, including more than one of her lovers.

Detective Inspector Siobhan Clark has kept in touch and contacts Rebus when his old sparring partner, Big Ger Cafferty is implicated in an assault on the new pretender to the post of Mr Big in the Edinburgh crime scene, Darryl Christie.

Detective Inspector Malcolm Fox has been transferred to the major Crimes Division of Police Scotland at Gartcosh, much to the chagrin of Siobhan, who would have liked the chance to move to a more influential role. When Fox is assigned to work with Edinburgh on Christie's case, the tension between Clark and Fox comes to the surface.

So three old colleagues are working together again, each with a different agenda: with Rebus working very much outside the loop. Darryl Christie's money laundering schemes are under observation, Big Ger is always a force to be reckoned with and all along Rebus is beavering away trying to solve the old murder.

Rebus is also struggling to adopt a healthier lifestyle, supported by his girlfriend, who also happens to be the forensic pathologist. He is succeeding, up to a point, but has been scared by some worrying symptoms and is waiting for the results of tests.

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Rankin has solved the problem of how to continue with Rebus once he had reached compulsory retirement age. Siobhan has taken over but Rebus is his usual unconventional self and manages to inveigle himself into current operations. He is getting older and his behaviour has been modified accordingly. We are not used to a Rebus who drinks moderately, takes exercise with his dog and has more or less stopped smoking. He is, however the same dogged and determined cop with a wealth of experience and scant regard for the politically correct. I love the way that Rankin has taken everything in real time. It gives him the chance to explore how real life is modified by age and circumstances. The relationship between the new divisions of Police Scotland, between Glasgow and Edinburgh, are also explored. Rankin is, as always, bang up to date. Looking back over the career of Rebus will give you an overview of life in Edinburgh across the years. I am encouraged to start again from the beginning in order to do just that. If you are new to Rebus, this book will stand on its own, and if there is anyone out there who does not know him, this book will encourage you to investigate this great storyteller's back catalogue

Reviewed By:

Chris Simmons