Sunday, April 08, 2007

THE NAMING OF THE DEAD by Ian Rankin (2006)

Taking place in the days surrounding the G8 summit at Gleneagles, Scotland in July 2005, the latest Rankin novel immediately had my attention because I had been in Edinburgh at the end of June that same year and witnessed the barricades being set up near Holyrood House and talked with shopkeepers who were considering boarding up windows along Princes Street.

Although the big show would be to protect the diplomats arriving for the official confab about making poverty history, with the focus on increasing aid to sub-Saharan Africa, the real show for Inspector John Rebus and his colleague Siobhan Clarke is a series of murders with clues left at the nearby Clootie well in Auchterarder. And, when an UK civil servant seems to leap to his death from the rampart at Edinburgh castle, the stakes increase. And, that's not all. Rebus's nemesis, the intimidating Ger Cafferty, seems to be implicated in back room dealings as well as paying off dirty cops.

Add Rebus's own personal loss of his only brother, Michael, at the beginning of the book, and you have a sophisticated mulit-layered tale of which Rankin is the master weaver. THE NAMING OF THE DEAD is not to be missed.

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