Review Blog

Nov 21 2016

Rather be the Devil by Ian Rankin

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John Rebus series. Orion Books, 2016. ISBN 9781409159414
(Age: Senior secondary to adult) Highly recommended. Cold case. Crime. Edinburgh. John Rebus though retired, hasn't put away his interest in crime or the criminals in Edinburgh. A cold case stimulates his interest; the death of wealthy, promiscuous Maria Turquand in a room at the Caledonian Hotel was never solved. Her murderer was never found despite there being a notorious rock band and all of its hangers on staying at the same hotel that night. Away from the old 'Cal', Edinburgh's criminal underworld has seemingly flexed its muscles when crime boss Darryl Christie is assaulted and Big Ger Cafferty is the prime suspect.
Siobhan Clarke and Malcolm Fox have to put aside their differences and work together with Rebus, not always a welcome partner in their investigations. Christie's criminal dealings are of interest to revenue and customs, particularly possible money laundering through his betting shops. The fact that he's been assaulted could mean he owes money, or there may be a takeover bid for his Edinburgh businesses.
Rebus has a history with Cafferty so is a useful go-between for Fox and Clarke, but is regarded with distrust by the hierarchy in the force. He can be a loose cannon which is of course, part of his charm.
Links between the cold case, old money and a struggle for supremacy in the Edinburgh underworld lead the investigation in circuitous routes, but who is pulling the strings? Is Cafferty a spent force? Is Rebus' health a problem?
Rankin gives us the old Rebus forging ahead breaking rules, putting himself in danger in pursuit of the perpetrators of crime, and of course Clarke and now Fox are teamed with Rebus to make a familiar and satisfying triumvirate. And for those who love the haunts of Edinburgh, there are descriptions of both the known and unknown of this city, so beloved by Rebus and his creator, Rankin.
Mark Knight

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