Kirkus Star


Email this review


Cast adrift when the CID closes their old patch, DI John Rebus and DS Siobhan Clarke try to fit in at the Gayfield Square stationhouse, on the edge of Edinburgh’s posh New Town.

In a none too subtle hint that’s it’s time to retire, Inspector Rebus isn’t even assigned a desk at his new posting. So he goes a-wandering and winds up at the fatal stabbing of a Turkish Kurd in Knoxland, a warren of council houses. Clarke, meanwhile, is viewing the dead mother and child unearthed in the cellar of Ray Mangold’s pub and trying to find Ishbel Jardine, the 18-year-old sister of a rape victim who committed suicide. Rebus and Clarke follow separate leads to the heart of sleaziest Edinburgh, an area labeled the Pubic Triangle, where porn and pimps predominate and someone is trafficking in illegals—bailing them out of Whitemire, an immigration detention center, setting them up in council flats, and using them as slave labor. While Rebus is sidetracked into assuming his case hinges on racism and perplexed by the anonymous tips phoned in to Felix Storey of Immigration, Clarke must deal with still another murder, that of Ishbel’s sister’s rapist.

Iconoclastic Rebus and tetchy Clarke (A Question of Blood, 2004, etc.) are the best thing to come out of Scotland since single-malt—especially when they’re involved in a plot so rich and complex.

Pub Date: Feb. 2nd, 2005
ISBN: 0-316-09565-6
Page count: 464pp
Publisher: Little, Brown
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15th, 2004

Kirkus Interview
Ian Rankin
August 11, 2015

Brilliant, irascible and frequently frustrating to both his friends and his long-suffering bosses, John Rebus has made the dark places of Edinburgh his home for over two decades. The Beat Goes On: The Complete Rebus Stories collects all of Ian Rankin's Rebus short stories for the first time, including two never-before published tales written specifically for this collection. From his beginnings as a young Detective Constable in “Dead and Buried,” right up to his dramatic, but not quite final, retirement in “The Very Last Drop,” Rebus shines in these stories, confirming his status as one of crime fiction's most compelling, brilliant, and unforgettable characters. “Rankin’s canny cop is as gray and dour as his Edinburgh beat, but he’s in fine form in these clever, occasionally touching, and often wryly funny vignettes,” our reviewer writes; we talk to Rankin this week on Kirkus TV. View video >


MysteryRATHER BE THE DEVIL by Ian Rankin
by Ian Rankin
MysteryEVEN DOGS IN THE WILD by Ian Rankin
by Ian Rankin
MysteryTHE BEAT GOES ON by Ian Rankin
by Ian Rankin


FictionWHERE THE BODIES ARE BURIED by Christopher Brookmyre
by Christopher Brookmyre
FictionTHE LONG DROP by Denise Mina
by Denise Mina