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Book Review

‘Standing in Another Man’s Grave’


BookCourtesy of Beaverdale Books

Review by Harriet Leitch

Reagan Arthur Books

Jan. 15, 2013


388 pp.

Retired detective John Rebus, star of 2008’s “Exit Music” by Ian Rankin, returns as a civilian working in a cold case unit in Edinburgh, Scotland. Rebus meets with Nina Hazlitt whose daughter disappeared in 1999. She tells him of several young women who have disappeared along the same stretch of Highway A9, up in the Highlands, where her daughter disappeared on New Year’s Eve long ago. Rebus decides to follow up on this information, and this leads him to an extensive investigation involving his prior protégé, Siobhan Clark, her boss and police units outside of Edinburgh. Rebus’ style of investigation harkens back to an old-school style where interviews and personal connections form the basis for discoveries.

The setting is well described by Rankin, defining stretches of lonely highway through a rough terrain, and the cold, rainy season sets the tone for the various tragedies. Throughout the story, Rebus is followed by an internal affairs (the Complaints unit) officer, Malcolm Fox. Rebus’ relationships and visits with unsavory characters come under surveillance, although the impending dissolution of the cold case unit will soon make Fox’s inquiry meaningless. That is, unless Rebus follows through and applies again to become a detective inspector.

This was my first reading of Rankin’s work. He has received a variety of awards (Edgar Award nominee and the recipient of the Gold Dagger Award for Fiction and the Chandler-Fulbright Award) for his prior work, including the “Detective Inspector Rebus” and “Inspector Fox” series. The story is well written with enough twists and turns to keep interest high. It was an easy read. CV

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