Christine's Reviews > The Complete Short Stories

The Complete Short Stories by Ian Rankin
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's review
Jul 27, 2008

liked it
bookshelves: read-fiction
Recommended for: Crime fiction fans, short story fans, Edinburgh fans, Rebus fans
Read in December, 2008 , read count: 1

This collected shorts of Ian Rankin I had come across in some remainders shelves at a Barnes & Noble.

"A Good Hanging" & "Atonement"
I had only ever seen the Inspector Rebus series on the BBC occasionally. For police procedurals everyone in the UK seems to be a drunk or drug addict with special powers of observation & deduction (see: Jane Tennison, Sherlock Holmes, etc.). These were the Rebus short stories collected so I came out of the experience with little more feel for the character than I went in with. However, the Edinburgh (and surrounding) settings were pretty vividly portrayed and some of the crimes or solutions were clever but not overly memorable.

"Beggar's Banquet"
In this section of the collection, I figured out what Rankin was so beloved for. Although there were small smatterings of Rebus shorts in here, it was broader, gorier, twistier and altogether more creative with different narrators, points of view, and story formats. "Somebody Got to Eddie" had a viewpoint and twist that made the earlier Rebus stories seem like old episodes of Dragnet. "Glimmer" was a throwback story to the stones era that seemed out of place in the collection but got a slide for being attention-grabbing. "Natural Selection" was probably about 90% dialogue but still kept the story going as tightly as a short play.

If you can get the book for as inexpensively as I could and like crime stories, Inspector Rebus, Edinburgh or lack an attention span, pick it up. It's definitely worth a look, although the superior Beggar's Banquet section raises the bar but unfortunately dulls the surrounding short stories.

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