A Song for the Dark Times by Ian Rankin
Detective Inspector John Rebus series. Orion, 2020.
(Age: Adult - Senior secondary) Highly recommended. Another top read from a wonderful author finds John Rebus moving to a new apartment because he cannot climb the stairs anymore. But that does not stop him rushing to his daughter Samantha after she rings and tells him that her partner Keith has gone missing. Rebus must face the fact that he has not been the best of fathers, not bothering to get to know Keith and always putting his job first. As he investigates Keith's disappearance, he discovers that he was obsessed with a World War 2 prison camp, which he wanted to make into a tourist attraction. Does his disappearance have anything to do with this or the elderly people who were once witnesses to a murder in the camp? What is Samantha's involvement with the alternative community that lives nearby and who rode the motorcycle late at night? In the meantime Siobhan Clarke and Malcolm Fox have joined forces to investigate the death of a rich young man, Salman bin Mahmoud, and it appears that the two cases could overlap as the man who owns the land the camp was on, was in a land deal with the murdered man.
The book is divided into seven parts, one for each day of the week, and alternates with the case that Rebus is investigating and the one that Clarke and Fox are involved in. As is the case with all of Rankin's books, there are many twists and turns, with red herrings scattered throughout to keep the reader guessing about the identity of the murderers and crime boss Cafferty's interference is an enjoyable ploy to hold the reader's interest.
Another focus in A song for the dark times is Rebus' relationship with his daughter and granddaughter. The reader will empathise with Samantha who feels that her father has always put his job before his family, while feeling sympathy for Rebus as he tries to mend his relationship with her, albeit while working intensively on Keith's case.
It is always a joy to read one of Rankin's novels. He is an author who has helped me through some hard times. His police procedurals are not too gory, and his narrative demands to be read in one or two sittings.