The Naming of the Dead – Ian Rankin

My chaotic relationship with Inspector Rebus continues. This is also the last of my October Cyprus vacation crime-reading spree. The others were: The Winner by David Baldacci, Camino Island by John Grisham, Run Away by Harlan Coben, Agent Running in the Field by John le Carré (who sadly recently passed away), The Whistler by John Grisham and In The Woods by Tana French. October and the miraculous beach holiday of 2020 feel very far away, but writing this review also give me a bit of a closure for the year.

This time we’re meeting Rebus in 2005. He’s nearing retirement, but Edinburgh is bustling with the G8 summit at Gleneagles about to take place. It is all hands on deck, or almost all, as Rebus is kept to the side, given his penchant for speaking his mind in the worst possible moment. And all would be well if not for the death of MP Ben Wester, who has fallen of the Edinburgh Castle. Apparently committing suicide, but then who would commit suicide on a gala dinner, so Rebus has his doubts.

At the same time there seems to be a serial killer roaming around murdering previous offenders and leaving their clothes in a Clootie Well. Siobhan gets to lead this investigation, as if she didn’t have enough on her mind, with her parents coming to town to participate in anti-globalization protests. Being long term activists they have hard time accepting Siobhan’s choice of the career. She on the other hand craves their approval.

Given that she’s in charge of the investigation she is becoming Rebus’ superior, but it looks like that’s in name only, as he is as much his own man as always. Focused solely on the outcomes he cuts through the red tape with gardening shears. Making a ton of new enemies in the process, but it’s never stopped him before.

This time because of the Gleneagles summit, the final outcome of the bid for 2012 Olympic games and the 7/7 bombings our usual cast of characters is set also across the broader political landscape. It’s not only about Rebus and Cafferty, or Siobhan balancing the line between doing the right thing and doing it right. The fact that so many police forces are focused on the G8 summit enabled 7/7 to happen and the feeling of being brutally tricked is palpable among the officers in Edinburgh.

It is a bit different book in the series, because of this expanded view. At the same time it is very personal and very broad, making us connect the dots, but also accepting that the world is never just about one thing. One thing that does not change is the fun I have reading about Inspector Rebus roaming Edinburgh that always seems cloudy and dark, while lying on the beach. The dissonance somehow adds to the experience.

Here you can find reviews of the other Inspector Rebus books I read:

The Hanging Garden

Set in Darkness

Resurrection Men

Dead Souls

Knots and Crosses

Photo by Violetta Kaszubowska @vkphotospace.com 

One thought on “The Naming of the Dead – Ian Rankin

  1. Pingback: Q4 2020 round-up – bookskeptic.com

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