18 November 2012

The Impossible Dead; Ian Rankin

The Impossible DeadThe Impossible Dead by Ian Rankin
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This is one of Rankin's Complaints books, not a Rebus mystery (but the next one will be both!!). Fox is very different from Rebus: teatotal, for one, and by necessity by-the-rules (after all, he is The Complaints). Can't wait to see the two interact.

Because this is The Complaints, the mystery starts as something rather boring: did three colleagues in Kirkcaldy cover up Paul Carter's misbehavior? Of course, Fox and his team are unwelcome and find it rough going. But then things start to happen that take him away from the main question... Paul's uncle Alan dies (murder? suicide?), and Alan's been investigating a decades old death of a Scottish Nationalist orator (and possible paymaster to other separatist groups). One of the victims of Paul's misbehavior tries to commit suicide. Is there a connection? Of course there is.

Fox's questioning if whether being in The Complaints is really doing police investigation seems to drive his digging into the greater mysteries; it will be interesting to see if future Complaints books show him moving more and more back into "real" policing (or if the Complaints series disappears into a Fox series). Of course, Rankin writes as much about the people and the place as much as about the mystery. Having been to Edinburgh and done some sightseeing outside, when I read his prose I'm taken back there - unlike, for example, when I read an Elizabeth George or Martha Grimes mystery, which don't give quite as good a sense of place.

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