Ian Rankin

The Naming of the Dead

"Rankin and Rebus go together like a gloved hand."


Rebus is approaching retirement and finds himself being sidelined. Detective Sergeant Siobhan Clarke is put in charge of the investigation when clothing from an unsolved murder turns up at “The Clootie Well” where superstition means that items of clothing are left to propitiate the sprites that live there. This well is uncomfortably close to the scene of the G8 meeting in Gleneagles - and there is an inevitable clash with the security services.

An up and coming, well respected Scottish MP dies in mysterious circumstances when he falls from the battlements of Edinburgh Castle. Did he fall, was he pushed or did he decide to end his own life? Rebus tries to find out - although both he and Siobhan have been suspended from duty.

Alongside these investigations run the events of that historic week in Edinburgh when thousands invaded the city to support the “Make Poverty History” march - as well as a significant number intent on protesting against globalisation and those simply intent on causing chaos.

Many people are looking to Siobhan as a possible replacement for Rebus when he goes - the establishment, Cafferty (the local Mr Big) and even Rebus himself. But Siobhan is her own woman and, after being tempted by the attraction of power and influence, comes out the other end as a stronger person.

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Rankin and Rebus go together like a gloved hand. This is another gripping story set in an Edinburgh engulfed in world politics as the G8 summit takes place nearby. Rebus continues to upset the establishment and appears to care less and less as his retirement date comes near. As always the city of Edinburgh plays an important part in the story and the juxtaposition of the ceremonial and historical Edinburgh with the seamy and workaday city enhances the plot. I enjoy the descriptions of Rebus as a cynical but still caring man who has committed his life to the solving of crime and, sadly, can hardly contemplate a life without the need to meet the next challenge. Rankin's characters develop from book to book and Siobhan in particular is making a welcome niche for herself. I wait with interest to see what will happen when Rebus finally retires!

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