THE BLACK BOOK by Ian Rankin


Email this review


Edinburgh Inspector John Rebus's bad week--his lover throws him out; his ex-dealing, ex-con brother, Mickey, turns up on his doorstep--shows every promise of getting worse. His bosses are determined to pull off a dubious sting against moneylender Morris Gerald Cafferty ("Big Ger"); Rory Kintoul, the stabbing victim who dragged himself down a busy street to collapse in his cousin's butcher shop, won't say a word about who stuck him; word is that child-molester Andrew McPhail, deported from Canada, is back in town and at daggers' points with the stepfather of his alleged victim; and Rebus's mate Brian Holmes's reinvestigation of the five-year-old arson-murder at the Central Hotel gets derailed when he's brained and sent into a coma. (He'll be followed shortly by Mickey, kidnapped and left hanging by his feet from the Forth Rail Bridge.) The cryptic entries in Holmes's little black book-- "Central fire. El was there! Poker game on 1st floor. R. Brothers involved (so maybe Mork too??). Try finding"--are a bonanza, showing how the Central fire is at the dark heart of all the other cases. But Rebus will have a tough time running down the links when he's got troubles of his own: The gun he surreptitiously bought from an unsavory old acquaintance turns out to be the murder weapon in the Central shooting. Thick and zesty as a bottomless bowl of Scotch broth. Unspectacular Rebus (Strip Jack, p. 22, etc.) shines right down to the nasty surprise on the last page.
Pub Date: Oct. 1st, 1994
ISBN: 1-883402-77-8
Page count: 224pp
Publisher: Palgrave Macmillan
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1st, 1994

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


by Joe Carr