Strip Jack: An Inspector Rebus Novel

Ian Rankin, Author
Ian Rankin, Author St. Martin's Press $20.95 (269p) ISBN 978-0-312-10553-2
Reviewed on: 01/03/1994
Release date: 01/01/1994
For all the right reasons, Edinburgh Detective Inspector John Rebus calls for comparison with Colin Dexter's Oxford copper Inspector Morse. Both spend a lot of time in pubs and bemoan the onset of middle age; each is a shrewd detective with a literary bent who operates in an academic town where clashes of culture beget victims. When much-loved politician Gregor Jack is discovered in a midnight raid on a discreet brothel, a surprising number of journalists are on hand--a situation that endangers Jack's political future. Jack's wealthy wife Elizabeth, a noted partygoer whose friends are equally well-heeled and hedonistic, can't be found. Her body is soon pulled from a nearby river, a fatality mirroring the recent murder of another, unidentified, woman. A drunk who brags of the first killing gives a false address and vanishes north of the city. Meanwhile Rebus, trying to trace a cache of valuable stolen books, finds himself talking again to the late Elizabeth's coterie of party friends. Rankin creates a living, breathing world in which his weary protagonist tackles his cases while involved in the intricacies of the day-to-day: pints and hangovers, stumbling romance, wet weather, damp clothes, tricky superiors and wide-eyed subordinates. All are brought to bear, yet all are ultimately jettisoned as Rebus closes in on the satisfying solution. (Mar.)
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