Sunday, May 13, 2018

Knots and Crosses by Ian Rankin

Ian Rankin is going to be the guest of honor at Poisoned Pen's September Mystery Conference. It's a two-day conference, and it's a celebration of Rankin's thirty years of publishing in the United States. Here's the link to information.

That also means it's time I picked up some of Rankin's Rebus mysteries. I'll admit, I won't get through many of them by September 2, but I'll have read a few and have the flavor of the series. Of course, I started with the first one, Knots and Crosses.

Meet John Rebus. He's forty-one, and has been a police detective in Edinburgh for fifteen years. He's divorced, and his daughter, Samantha lives with his ex-wife. He's not close to his brother, Michael, who is a hypnotist as their father was. There's not much more we know about Rebus at this point, although he enlisted when he was eighteen, and his attempt to try for the Special Air Service didn't work out.

And, Rebus is receiving odd anonymous notes with pieces of knotted string. While he, along with most of the Edinburgh force, work on the case of missing young girls who later turn up dead, these notes are just an annoyance. It's Rebus' work that produces the first clue to the killer. And, it's Rebus' past that may produce the answer.

Rankin's first Rebus mystery introduces an intriguing character who has been popular since the first book came out in 1987. I know thousands of people before me have been caught by Rebus' name,  a name for a puzzle itself. Rebus is a hard-working, hard-drinking, and hard-living police officer who yearns for love and the family he lost. And, he may not be the best police officer, but he's an intelligent one. Rebus undoubtedly became popular because of his flaws and his persistence. If he was perfect, he wouldn't be as popular with readers.

Although I've never been to Edinburgh, Rankin allows the reader to prowl the streets of the city with his police detective. The Edinburgh that lives on these pages undoubtedly grows even more familiar with future books. It's satisfying to know I have twenty-two more books, twenty-three with the October release of In a House of Lies. I'm sure I'll have time before September to get through a few more of these mysteries that combine a police investigation with a character study.

Ian Rankin's website is

Knots and Crosses by Ian Rankin. St. Martin's. 1987. ISBN 0312956738 (paperback), 228p.

FTC Full Disclosure - Library book


Jeffrey Meyerson said...

Good choice. I've been to Edinburgh many times since our first visit in 1972, and it is one of my favorite cities. (I could live there if they had better weather.) Rankin really does give you a feel for the place. I used to go to a bookstore where the guy told me that Rankin lived around the corner (at the time), and he used to drink with him in the local pub.

Of course, I am way behind on his books. Several Rebus books were done on television, with (first) John Hannah (series one, 2000-2001) and then Ken Stott (series 2-4, 2006-2007) as Rebus. KNOTS AND CROSSES was the final book filmed in series 4. I've only seen the Hannah series.

Charlotte said...

I read this book in April of 2013.
At this moment I can’t remember anything about it.
On Goodreads I don’t see I read any more of his books after that one.
I didn’t check my written list to find out if I read any other books written by him before I started keeping my reading list on Goodreads. I am thinking I might not care enough about this author to have read more of his books.

Happy Mother’s Day to all the mothers reading Lesa’s blog today. I trust you have a blessed day.

Lesa said...

Lots more of those Rankin books to read. I hope I at least get through a few more before September, Jeff.

Lesa said...

What a beautiful message, Charlotte. Happy Mother's Day to you as well. I'm sure it's a little bittersweet at times. Hugs.

Netteanne said...

I enjoy all of the Ian Rankin books - it is a series where I am current and also working from the beginning. Rebus is one of the most interesting protagonists in the genre today. And the early Rebus is totally different from the current Rebus...keep reading and you will enjoy them all.

Charlotte said...

Lesa, thank you for your kind words. This is my second Mother’s Day without my beautiful, and loving daughter.
Praise God I still have a son and three grandsons. There just isn’t anything like a daughter. She was also my best friend. She was always wonderful to me and my whole family. We all miss her. She would have been 58 last month.
My son gave me a nice Amazon gift card and said have fun buying more books. Can’t go wrong with a gift like that.
Lesa, remember he gave me Into the Water ( that I had wanted) for Mother’s Day last year. It has been a year now and I still haven’t finished it. So close to the end. Some books always pop up that I get I hooked into and there goes putting that book aside. I told you I will finish it in this life time. I will, it is a must.

Lesa said...

Oh, I'm going to continue, Netteanne. I just probably won't be very far by September, but that's okay. I'll get there.

Lesa said...

You're right, Charlotte. You can't go wrong with that gift. And, you're right. I'm so glad you have a son and grandsons to love and spoil you. Hugs, my friend.