Sunday, May 13, 2018
Knots and Crosses by Ian Rankin
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 www.ianrankin.net
Knots and Crosses by Ian Rankin. St. Martin's. 1987. ISBN 0312956738 (paperback), 228p.
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