cover image Rather Be the Devil

Rather Be the Devil

Ian Rankin. Little, Brown, $25 (400p) ISBN 978-0-316-34257-5

A 1978 cold case brings John Rebus out of semiretirement in Edgar-finalist Rankin’s complex 23rd novel featuring the Edinburgh copper (after 2015’s Even Dogs in the Wild). Crabby from giving up cigarettes and more afraid than he would like to admit about impending medical results, Rebus reexamines the unsolved murder of Maria Turquand, the wife of a wealthy banker with a penchant for sleeping around, at Edinburgh’s classy Caledonian hotel. Meanwhile, Det. Insp. Siobahn Clarke has her hands full with the beating of gangster Darryl Christie, who swears his injuries came at the behest of one of the city’s biggest crime bosses, Big Ger Cafferty, who just happens to be Rebus’s nemesis cum confidante. Det. Insp. Malcolm Fox, on loan from Police Scotland, looks into possible money laundering schemes involving not only Christie but also the heir to the banking fortune that made the Turquands millionaires back in the ’70s. With its trademark blend of sharp wit and even sharper police work, this entry is yet another example of why Rankin remains in the top echelon of Scottish crime writers. (Jan.)