Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “A Question of Blood” as Want to Read:
A Question of Blood
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

A Question of Blood

(Inspector Rebus #14)

by
4.06  ·  Rating details ·  11,383 ratings  ·  399 reviews
The fourteenth Inspector Rebus novel - and No.1 bestseller.

Two seventeen-year-olds are killed by an ex-Army loner who has gone off the rails. The mystery takes Rebus into the heart of a shattered community. Ex-Army himself, Rebus becomes fascinated by the killer, and finds he is not alone. Army investigators are on the scene, and won't be shaken off. The killer had friends
...more
Paperback, 440 pages
Published September 22nd 2005 by Orion (first published 2003)
More Details... Edit Details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about A Question of Blood, please sign up.
Popular Answered Questions
Toby Turner Great book and a brilliant author. Introduced to him about 4 months ago by a friend who's a massive fan. I've been running through the series every si…moreGreat book and a brilliant author. Introduced to him about 4 months ago by a friend who's a massive fan. I've been running through the series every since and can't get enough of Inspector Rebus. Well worth going back to the start and see the development not just of the characters but the author too. If anything convinces you to go the Edinburgh this series will!!(less)

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Average rating 4.06  · 
Rating details
 ·  11,383 ratings  ·  399 reviews


More filters
 | 
Sort order
Start your review of A Question of Blood
Ammar
Jun 30, 2017 rated it really liked it
The 14th book in the Rebus series. This novel delivers and it's packed with plots and events. When a man who was menacing DS Siobhan Clarke is found dead in a fire; all eyes and fingers are pointing to DI Rebus and his suspension is imminent. Yet at the same time, a lone gunman enters a school and shoot and kills two students and injured a third one... why would a soldier go into a school and shoot some students ...

A solid novel, Rankin doing it again and delivering a novel that's interesting bo
...more
Karl
Oct 23, 2018 marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
This Orion hardcover is signed by Ian Rankin.
Bill
It's been five years since I last visited with Edinburgh police inspector, John Rebus and his partner, Detective Sergeant Siobhan Clarke. Much too long a time. A Question of Blood by Ian Rankin is the 14th book in this excellent series and it was as engrossing and enjoyable as the other 13.

In Question, we find Rebus once again treading in thin waters (hmm, not sure but I might be mixing metaphors). DS Clarke has been harassed and stalked by a petty criminal. This man has been found burned to dea
...more
Ken Hammond
Jun 25, 2020 rated it really liked it
A Question of Blood Ian Rankin, this took awhile for me to digest, I kept thinking of that serpent that curls around on itself and eats its own tail, had to look that bs up..it's the ouroboros or uroboros let me expand that train of thought, this is a tough gut wrenching story which starts out, not a who-dunnit but a why-dunnit but as the story unfolds into the nitty gritty it slowly turns on itself and goes back to be a whodunnit. The end well it's a shocker lets just leave it at that.
Amanda Patterson
Dec 05, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Edinburgh’s infamous D.I. John Rebus must find out why an ex-army loner walks into a private school and shoots three people dead, including himself.

Scotland wants new gun control laws. The police believe the crime to be a post-traumatic, stress-related shooting. Rebus has a military past and he doesn't agree. He believes the killer was after the victims as he identifies links between them. Two military investigators in plain clothes arrive and convince Rebus he’s on the right track.

However, he i
...more
Ellen
A Question of Blood by Ian Rankin.

Inspector Rebus has been accused of possibly being involved in the murder of Martin Fairstone. Fairstone was found burned to death while tied to a chair. Rebus's hands had been severely scorched and remain bandaged leaving the detective in considerable pain. It was thought to be a revenge killing for threatening Detective Siobhan Clarke, rebus's partner.
Two boys at a private school had been shot to death and another wounded by Lee Herdman. Herdman had stormed i
...more
Joe
Sep 21, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: mystery-thriller
This is he 14th adventure of John Rebus, a police detective in Edinburgh, Scotland. Rebus is a somewhat dark, occasionally violent, always acerbic, hard working copper. He is also usually in trouble with his superiors for crossing some line or breaking some rule that he – and the reader – usually finds both aggravating and irrelevant. A bull in a china shop may be overstating his actions but Rebus is driven to stop bad guys one way or the other. That he is not a one dimensional cardboard protago ...more
James Thane
Aug 11, 2010 rated it really liked it
This is one of the better entries in Ian Rankin's Inspector Rebus series, which in turn is one of the best crime fiction series going. The always cantankerous Rebus is asked to assist in the investigation of a particularly horrible crime. An ex-serviceman has invaded a school, shot and killed two students and wounded a third before taking his own life.

The case seems open and shut, but Rebus will not let the matter rest until he knows what prompted the killer to act. As is usually the case, Rebus
...more
Jill Hutchinson
I really enjoy the John Rebus series but sad to say, this one was just not up to Rankin's standard. Way too much confusing plot which is all over the place and nothing seems to tie the story together It is also terribly far fetched in a usually straight forward detective story and good luck trying to figure exactly what is going on. This is one Rebus book I cannot recommend.
S.P. Aruna
Aug 30, 2019 rated it it was ok
What appears to be yet another tragically senseless school shooting is actually more than meets the eye.

This is number 14 in the inspector Rebus series, and perhaps this explains my less than flattering review, which I can sum up in 2 words - ho hum. It may also explain the little or no character development and the weakly contrived plots with a twist at the end that is unsatisfying and not very believable.

Even with two parallel plots, the book could not hold my interest well enough to enjoy it
...more
Larraine
Jun 06, 2018 rated it it was amazing
NOTHING is ever simple in an Ian Rankin novel, but THIS one was among the most complicated and surprising ones I've read. When a posh private school experiences a gunman who seems, at random, to have killed two students and wounded a third one before turning the gun on himself, the assumption is made that it is a cut and dried case. Rebus is on the hot seat after a frying pan fire causes the death of a thug who was harassing Siobhan, a member of his team, and a special friend. It doesn't help th ...more
Kathy
May 12, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I have not read one of the Rebus books for quite a space of time. In this case I have been staying in a very quiet lake cottage with only the lapping waves and birdsong notes to interrupt my concentration. All the better to appreciate the perfectly constructed plot and the detecting skills required by our stars. I am not permitted to type their names with the device I am using on this trip, the kindle fire. I give up. Will edit when I get home though that is questionable with airline strike time ...more
Larissa
This was my first foray into the Rebus series, one which I had been eying for a long time—not least due to its Edinburgh setting. Funny then that the one I picked to start with didn't actually take place in Edinburgh at all. No matter, though: A Question of Blood was a nice introduction to the character and his backstory, I think, even though it is a rather late entry as far as I can tell.

I finished the novel pretty snappily, without finding myself bored or distracted and wanting to jump over t
...more
Hobart
Apr 30, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2018-reads
★ ★ ★ ★ 1/2 (rounded up)
This originally appeared at The Irresponsible Reader.
---
I'm torn between quotations to open with, on the one hand, you have this one which captures the environment this novel takes place in -- it's a perfect encapsulation of the frustration of so many civilians. Particularly the ones in the town near the focal crime.
Fear: the crucial word. Most people would live their whole lives untouched by crime, yet they still feared it, and that fear was real and smothering. The pol
...more
Pam Baddeley
Jul 27, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: crime-fiction
Another complex novel in the Rebus series. In this, Rebus is co-opted onto a school shooting investigation by his friend Bobby Hogan, with colleague Siobhan Clarke along to drive and otherwise support him as Rebus has, it seems, badly scalded his hands in the bath. The problem is that a criminal who was stalking Siobhan and had just assaulted her in the street is now dead after a chip pan fire - and seems to have been tied to his chair during it - after being seen drinking in a pub with Rebus wh ...more
Nigel
Nov 12, 2018 rated it really liked it
3.5 stars, rounded up

Another enjoyable outing with Rebus and Siobhan, this time centred around the shooting at a private school in Edinburgh. Rebus also in hot water (literally) regarding the suspicious death of a criminal who had been harassing Siobhan. Lots of twists and turns in this book, as Rebus pursues leads in both cases. Rebus and Siobhan spend lots of time together in this book, with their relationship continuing to develop as Siobhan questions whether being associated with him is good
...more
Moira Russell
Just got a pile of these on sale, in what will doubtlessly be a futile quest to scratch the Cornwell/Kellerman/James itch (P.D. James wrote BAD JANE AUSTEN FANFIC. Not getting over that, never ever) or at least serve as methadone til the next French/Cain books. I'll have to read more books in this series to be sure, but sadly, am not too impressed so far. Rebus, with his drinking problem, disrespect for authority, and wisecracking, is clearly Marlowe in Black Watch, although he's modernized to t ...more
Daniel Sevitt
God I hate Rebus. Fifteen years ago my friend finagled his way into being a character in one of Rankin's novels. I had to start at the beginning of the series and read them all, roughly one a year, until I found my friend. I'm delighted to say he finally showed up on page 78, half way through shul on shabbat, and reappeared periodically throughout the book as a bit of a thug. Makes it all worth while really. I have the next in the series already in my TBR pile. I guess I'll get to it some time i ...more
Laura
Feb 13, 2016 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Carey
Recommended to Laura by: Bettie
From BBC radio 4 - Drama:
Thriller by Ian Rankin. Dramatised in two parts by Chris Dolan.

1/2: When a known criminal dies in a house fire the forensic evidence suggests he was murdered before the fire started. Rebus - the last person to see the victim alive - becomes the main suspect.

Meanwhile, a fatal shooting at a private school near Edinburgh unexpectedly leads Rebus to an army helicopter crash on Jura in a case involving diamonds and drug smuggling.

2/2: Three pupils are gunned down by an ex-SA
...more
Luffy
Mar 30, 2014 rated it really liked it
I found out the correct way, if that exists, of reading this series. These books are all about dialogue. Conviviality between two kindred souls is what drives this series. The plot is relegated to the background. The murder of this very book is solved, not through skill, but through procedure of the most routine kind. All the trials of the detective, Rebus, all the angst and discomfiture is made gone away through simple police work, not intuition. I was amazed that I didn't mind that. The way t ...more
Rasmus
Mar 12, 2008 rated it it was ok
Recommends it for: Rebus fans
I did not find this book as good as some of the previous ones in the DI Rebus series. The plot, I felt, was too much like a Hollywood thriller and there was something distictly un-Rebus about the whole thing. It seemed almost as if the plot was trying to be complex for complexitys own sake, ending up being too scattered and not as polished as others before it. Finally, the ending left me a little disappointed. Might just be too many things getting wrapped up (more or less) too fast.

I did enjoy t
...more
Eddie Owens
Nov 27, 2019 rated it it was ok
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Hannah Polley
Apr 04, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, crime, ian-rankin
I never thought for a second that Rebus had killed Siobhan's stalker while reading this book. I always thought he just got drunk and scalded his hands somehow. I know Rebus too well!

In this book, Rebus is helping to solve a double murder plus suicide and once again manages to crack the case.

The little kiss Rebus and Siobhan have at the end was very nice and I have high hopes!

With the end of the series now in sight I really hope that Rebus can sort himself out and get the happy ending that he des
...more
Graham Cochrane
Feb 01, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Rebus appears to be in deep trouble from the start. Shiv has real concerns. Or does she? He's under investigation (again) and fully active on a new, dramatic case with army and terrorist implications. He retains full access to police resources and walks the usual fine line between morbid depression, disaster and unmitigated success. The personal aspects to this book and comprehensive plot with a nice twist to finish are a treat. It's worth noting that the tv episode is briefer with substantial d ...more
Eadie
Apr 15, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-2018, audio-2018
I can't seem to get enough of Rankin and Rebus! This is the 14th installment. Series should be read in order. Three plots in this one but the main plot is a school shooting. Lots of dry wit and humor. Characters are well-drawn and fascinating. Lots of twists and red herrings with a surprise ending. One of his better books. I recommend this series to those who like their mystery/thrillers dark and gritty.
Karen
Feb 18, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Rankin's usual excellent, complicated story with lots of character development
Marie (UK)
another superb read from Ian Rankin. Twists and turns and Rebus getting himself into trouble to boot.
Renee
Oct 30, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was my first time reading Ian Rankin and I thoroughly enjoyed this light, crime read. I will certainly be reading more of his books.
Ishita
Oct 26, 2014 rated it really liked it
Okay so this was my first book from the series and I have to say- I'd kill to have a bad-ass attitude like Rebus and then kill another to have the confidence of Shiobhan.

The book starts with DI Rebus lying in the hospital with two scalded hands while advising on a case while on suspension following a murder investigation being held against him for a man who was burned in his apartment. But of course, DI Rebus pleads not guilty. But.. Is he really? Well, that's the question you'd have to find
...more
Steve
Aug 14, 2011 rated it really liked it
Detective Inspector John Rebus straddles the line of nice guy doing the borderline naughty things we fantasize about doing, and manages to keep himself out of serious trouble, although he does pay the price in small doses of hangovers or raised eyebrows from his superior officers or invective or physical incursion from those he treats uh, discourteously. He doesn’t suffer fools gladly, and only rarely bites his tongue to keep them at bay. Rebus and Siobhan Clarke, Scottish police officers take o ...more
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »

Readers also enjoyed

  • Blood Hunt
  • Witch Hunt
  • Bleeding Hearts
  • Stolen Children (DCI Matilda Darke Thriller, Book 6)
  • Toe to Toe
  • Ian Rankin's 'Black and Blue'
  • Nightingale House
  • Free to Trade
  • In Our Bones
  • Pilgrim Soul (Douglas Brodie, #3; Danny McRae, #3)
  • Many Rivers to Cross (Inspector Banks, #26)
  • The Age of Witches
  • Why Weren't We Told?
  • She Weeps Each Time You're Born
  • Gallowglass (Douglas Brodie, #4)
  • The Dark Heart of Italy
  • Shelf Respect
  • One Hundred Days: The Memoirs of the Falklands Battle Group Commander
See similar books…
4,473 followers
AKA Jack Harvey.

Born in the Kingdom of Fife in 1960, Ian Rankin graduated from the University of Edinburgh in 1982 and then spent three years writing novels when he was supposed to be working towards a PhD in Scottish Literature. His first Rebus novel was published in 1987; the Rebus books are now translated into 22 languages and are bestsellers on several continents.

Ian Rankin has been elected a
...more

Other books in the series

Inspector Rebus (1 - 10 of 23 books)
  • Knots and Crosses (Inspector Rebus, #1)
  • Hide and Seek (Inspector Rebus, #2)
  • Tooth and Nail (Inspector Rebus, #3)
  • Strip Jack (Inspector Rebus, #4)
  • The Black Book (Inspector Rebus, #5)
  • Mortal Causes (Inspector Rebus, #6)
  • Let It Bleed (Inspector Rebus, #7)
  • Black and Blue (Inspector Rebus, #8)
  • The Hanging Garden (Inspector Rebus, #9)
  • Dead Souls (Inspector Rebus, #10)

Related Articles

The prolific and beloved author John Grisham, known for his courtroom thrillers, is back this month with a new pageturner, A Time for Mercy,...
37 likes · 7 comments
“Infra-red connection,’ he explained. ‘Gets us on-line in a hurry.” 0 likes
“Bad Men Do What Good Men” 0 likes
More quotes…