THE FALLS by Ian Rankin
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John Rebus, the Edinburgh detective inspector who manages to antagonize someone weighty in the course of nearly every investigation (Set in Darkness, 2000, etc.), has barely finished interrogating David Costello about the disappearance of his girlfriend Philippa “Flip” Balfour and downed a few single malts at the retirement farewell for his superior, the Farmer, when he decides, without sanctions, to search Flip’s flat, where he bumps into her dad John, a partner in a private bank, who has him suspended. While DC’s Siobahn Clarke and Grant Hill, assigned the task of reading Flip’s e-mail, are becoming enmeshed in the cryptic clues left for them by someone logging on as the Quizmaster, Flip’s body is found—along with a doll in a handmade miniature coffin. Rebus’s latest romance, Museum of Scotland curator Jean Burchill, alerts him to its historical counterparts: eight other doll-filled coffins found at other young girls’ death sites. Disgraced police press liaison Ellen Wylie and retired pathologist Donald Devlin study old autopsy reports; avaricious local potter Bev Dodds unearths yet another tiny coffin; the specter of notorious grave robbers Burke and Hare looms; and Jean’s research into the career of Dr. Kenneth Lovell almost brings her to the same end as Flip before Rebus effects an 11th-hour rescue, then zeroes in on his original suspect.

Like Rebus, readers will find no city more beautiful than Edinburgh, no locale more intriguing than Arthur’s Seat—and no characters in the genre more provocative or sharply delineated than Rankin’s ongoing cast.

Pub Date: Nov. 8th, 2001
ISBN: 0-312-20610-0
Page count: 400pp
Publisher: Minotaur
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15th, 2001

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 >


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